The first time the flu interrupted my life was in sixth grade. Thousands of eleven and twelve-year-old children were headed to the mountains for a week of Sixth Grade Camp. What an experience to arrive in the pleasant fall setting of the Cuyamaca Mountains outside of Julian, in San Diego County. Day One was hardly over when some of my fellow classmates got sick big-time. Faces were flushed, joints were in pain, and stomachs were refusing any and all food and liquids. By midnight, many of the kids were sick. The infirmary was not large enough to handle an epidemic, and figuring we were all exposed, campers stayed on their bunk with an adult checking as often as possible, to be sure they were doing as well as could be expected.
Hurried phone calls made to all parents that students would be returning to their respective schools the next day and needed picked up due to the serious flu epidemic among the campers, overshadowed the concern for the flu spreading to even more students. It was a grand affair to arrange to have the same buses that were not scheduled to pick us up for another 4 days, turn around and head back up to retrieve a bunch of ailing children. I am so glad I had brothers and sisters, because I was used to tending the upset tummies and holding a cool, damp rag on hot, dry foreheads. Others may have participated in sympathy heaves, but I was lucky to not be affected that way.
I think more parents were present at the schoolyard to pick up their child then attended the PTA meetings, which were very well-represented at that time. Because of the exposure, anyone who had been present at camp was sent home, to prevent further spreading of the Asian Flu through the school.
When flu shots were created, I avoided them. I will stand in the face of danger and dare it to defeat me. However, I will look at a scrawny little needle and whine (I’m Army, I’m tough, I whine on the inside where no one can see). I do not like shots. Three years ago, I got a letter from our medical provider urging me to get a flu shot, so I did not bring home a strain of flu that might affect my husband. Strenuous illnesses like flu are very tough on diabetics. The letter basically said to take it out of love for him.
He and I talked about the importance of me having the flu shot (he gets his every year). When we wrote down the different places we go, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and even the doctor’s office and pharmacy, I decided I might unintentionally carry a nasty little flu bug home with me and give it to him. Together, we developed a special routine for the Annual Flu Shot Routine.
The day starts by enjoying breakfast out. We chat about things in the news, or what is happening with friends, or even the things we’d seen on the drive over. Next, we head off to the lines of people waiting for the flu shot. This is really fun; it reminds us both of those military days, with the tables set up and lots of people waiting with a needle in their hand for the next victim, er, person. A quick swipe of alcohol, slide of the needle, and dotty band aid, and it’s over. I always take a sticker, too. Who says I can’t be a kid?
Next, we either catch a movie or go shopping. In my household, shopping is a manly event. My hubby loves to shop. He doesn’t even have to buy anything. He was Magna cum Laud in window shopping with no purchase. We celebrate later with a late lunch or early dinner, after taking the scenic route home. Trees are glorious in their fall beauty, and late flowers are blooming, sending their colors and warmth straight into the soul.
This year, celebrate the flu shot, and make it a special memory in your life, so that you can remember how much fun your day was when you participated in Annual Flu Shot Routine.
This article is the work of the author, based on personal experience.