Monday, September 29, 2008

Typhoid and Polio and Flu, Oh My!

Last week I went to get vaccinated against all the terrible 3rd world illness that abound overseas. Who knew that people still get polio?? I was also due to update my DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis) which, I recalled from that large series of shots required for college admission, is about as much fun as slamming your fingers in the car door. My misguided notion was that I'd walk out with only my tetanus booster and some strong warnings about other things I should be doing to guard my health. I walked out with three large shots in my arms, a flu-mist up my nose and a pack of pills that required refrigeration (to protect the live bacteria--ew!!) to start my typhoid vaccination.

I'm pretty particular about what I put into my body so the idea of inoculations is never a happy subject for me. I hate to introduce something into my system that has no business being there in the first place. I eat healthily (most of the time), don't drink much alcohol (the occasional beer here and there), don't smoke or do drugs and would rather suffer than take medicine. That includes over-the-counter medication as well. Introducing foreign agents into my body seems to just be asking for trouble. I'm not a big breakfast eater most days and didn't realize what a detriment that would be post-injection. But about five minutes after my shots I started feeling really dizzy and light-headed. Then I started having slight pains in odd places like my jaw, the top of my left hand or in my right ankle. David was with me and I told him all this when the nurse stepped out of the room to retrieve our typhoid pills and upon her return he made my symptoms known. The nurse acted quickly and started scouring the office for something to jack up my blood sugar level. She came back with a Hi-C juice box, which helped a little but I continued to feel lousy until eating some lunch about half an hour later.

Ultimately the round of vaccinations left me feeling really weak and ill for several days. I never remember feeling that way in high school when I had been given similar shots, but maybe its because I'm much more aware of my body as I get older. I wanted to wait until I started feeling more normal before I commented on the whole process, hoping that time would give me insight. I held off on taking the typhoid pills, as I needed to let my body recover, and will start those tomorrow morning. I'm maybe slightly less a fan of vaccinations than previously, but not enough to risk getting violently ill and letting it wreck part of my vacation. For now, I'd rather pay a small price at home instead of gambling with my health abroad and risking getting sick in a place where medical facilities could be questionable.

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