Flu Shot: Who Depends on You?

There’s been a lot of talk about the Flu shot lately, mostly because the nasal mist isn’t available this year so everyone needs to get a shot.

Lots of people don’t like shots.

We often make our kids do it, we even hold them still or hold them down so it will happen. This is especially true when our kids are medically fragile. Getting a flu shot is sort of a no brainer, it’s  an easy thing to do to protect our kids against something that could be life threatening.  I know with my daughter Wendy we’re always right near the front of the line to get the shot.

But when it comes to the conscious decision whether or not to get your own flu shot, a lot of us find a whole bunch of excuses.  It’s not convenient.  It’s a hassle.  I don’t like shots.  I get the flu from the flu shot.  I have heard them all.

I have had the flu exactly one time in my life.  When I got the flu in late April of the year 2000, I honestly thought I was dying.  Sweating through my sheets, unable to eat, feeling like a truck ran over me.  I was quite literally a hot mess.  There’s a old wives’ tale that says that a first year teacher will get every illness her students get, and that will build your immune system. At least in my case, that was the truth.

I have gotten a flu shot every year since.

However, Michael has missed his flu shot the last couple of years, for all of the reasons mentioned above.  It just got away from him.  These things happen.

Then he got the flu.  At the worst possible time.

If you’ve read my blog, you know that once a year I’ve taken a group of students to Eastern Europe to study the Holocaust.  I’ve blogged about my stress level in preparation for it in the post Confessions of the Alpha Parent.  It’s not that Michael can’t take care of the kids, he’s a wonderful capable parent who loves his daughters and is a responsible individual.

But then he got the flu, and his wife was 4,000 miles away.

He was  not the only one.  Penny got the flu too.  Only she had the flu shot, so her flu lasted about 24 hours.  Michael was knocked horizontal for about a week.  But he was very conscientious: he called the nephrologist, told her the story, who consulted with the Infectious Disease doctor and they put Wendy on prophylactic Tamiflu.    Because the fact is that if Wendy got the flu, it would likely earn her 72 hours in the hospital for monitoring.  We would like to avoid that if we could.

He also farmed Wendy out to friends.  She was gone for most of the day, every day, between school and after school activities.  She also stayed at friends’ homes and had dinner there, really only coming home to sleep.  Others called Michael daily to make sure he had the basics in the house:  milk for cereal, dinner for the kids, etc.   Thank God for a good community.

I had made a whole bunch of soups as part of my preparation to go to Europe, so the family could just heat them up and eat at the end of the day.  So, luckily, Michael and Penny had lots of Chicken Noodle Soup to eat!  And they both made sure they were hydrated.

Nonetheless, I felt terribly guilty about being so far away. I would call Michael over facetime and he would be in bed, looking terribly sick, trying to put a good face on because he didn’t want me to have to come home early, but clearly struggling.  His illness made him barely able to keep it together, but he did, with the help of our neighbors and friends.

I probably don’t have to tell you that he was the first one to get his flu shot this year.

Let me ask you this:  Who depends on you to be healthy and take care of them?  What would happen if you couldn’t do it, for maybe a week?  Isn’t it worth a short shot, a quick trip to the doctor or pharmacy, so that you don’t have to worry about it, or worry about spreading it to your child?

The answer should be obvious.


2 thoughts on “Flu Shot: Who Depends on You?

  1. Hi Darcy, my name is Dan Heath. I’m the co-author of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive. I came across a story you told on your blog and I’d love to ask you a few questions about it. My email address is my first name @heathbrothers.com. Thanks!


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