I have never gotten a flu shot before. At least, I have never actively sought out a flu shot when left to my own devices. I’m sure my mother tricked me into getting flu shots when I was a child, but ever since I moved out and was able to choose whether to be or not to be stuck with needles, I chose the latter. In college, I simply never got sick. I used to brag that I had never been to the school health center before. There was obviously no need for a flu shot when I possessed a superior immune system. After graduation, I moved to New York City and my superior immune system was put to the test.
“Sounds like you have a bacterial infection,” says the first doctor I have seen in years. He tells me he’s going to put me on antibiotics and I should be all better in seven days. He was wrong. “Sounds like you have something viral,” the same doctor tells me the next week, “take some cough suppressants and you should be good as new in a week.” One week later. “It sounds like you have a bacterial infection not a viral one. Let’s put you on some antibiotics,” the doctor says assuring me that this time I will be cured. The germs won this time. I don’t know if it was the antibiotics, cough suppressants, or herbal remedies but finally after weeks of being ill I recovered. For the first time in my life, I was forced to admit that I do not have a superior immune system. I got sick, but this year will be different. I was determined to take every disease prevention precaution possible.
After weeks of taking the train to work without touching any surfaces, I was thrilled to find out that my company, Next Jump, decided to provide all of its employees free flu shots. They explained that this season there is an aggressive and widespread strain of the flu that is one of the worst outbreaks in a decade. They didn’t need to convince me, I was already sold. Even better, Next Jump is giving all employees’ family, friends, and roommates access to the flu shot as well. With my roommates vaccinated, our apartment would have the best defense against the influenza.
When the day arrived, I eagerly got in line, excited to get it over with as quick and painlessly as possible. “It really hurts,” a coworker announced. “No really, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to move my arm again,” the coworker continued. I started to get nervous. “I heard someone became paralyzed after getting a flu shot,” another coworker warned. I started to think maybe I didn’t really need a flu shot. Maybe I would just get the flu and deal with it. “Next,” the nurse calls. I sit down and wait for the excruciating pain to follow. I continue to wait. “You can go now,” the nurse says, “You’re done.” “Oh. Really?” I reply.
This flu shot means I can sleep soundly. New York City is still dirty but it’s nice knowing that my co workers and I have a defense against its micro biotic intruders. It’s comforting working for a company that cares about our health and will continue to support us in the ongoing battle with disease. The most exciting thing about the flu shot, though, was the peace it would finally bring my mother.