Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Even a Stopped Clock

This is going to be an action-packed week for me. Tomorrow night brings M.I.A.'s free concert at Brooklyn Bowl (yes, a bowling alley, but the coolest bowling alley *ever*) that's intended to make up for the Hard NYC debacle this summer. Thursday is the official start of the NHL season, including the Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers game. Oh, and yesterday, I got a flu shot.

Sounds earth-shaking and momentous, right? I was scared. For me, it had real significance. The last time I did this was 7 years ago, in Orlando. I was 29. I'd never gotten a flu shot before that one, but I'd been pressured into it by my mom, my boss, and my friends. Aaaannnnd it didn't work out.

I got it at a clinic on a Saturday, on the way to do other errands. I got tired "for some stupid reason," finished my errands quicker than I'd planned, and went home. Soon after, my arm swelled up and got hot and red--I imagined a hot dog felt like that in the microwave. I then started breaking out in hives. I started running a fever. I felt nauseous as hell. I called 911, my best friend, my mom, and my brother, in that order. Then I did throw up.

Later I learned that I was allergic to chicken and eggs. I'd never liked chicken, eggs or most things with eggs in them (although I could occasionally make an exception for Kentucky Fried Chicken and pecan or Key lime pies, and brushed off any waves of nausea afterwards as a sign of overindulgence). The doctor told me I'd been lucky and probably always had a mild allergy that got more severe as I grew older. I was told to never get flu shots again, though I'd figured that one out all by myself.

Sunday morning, my mom called me. She began the conversation badly: "Look, I know how you feel about Fox News, but you really need to listen to this."
"Um, do *what*?" I steeled myself.
Mom told me that a Dr. Rosenfeld was on their Sunday morning show to answer viewer questions. One question to Dr. Rosenfeld was about flu shots for people with egg allergies. He said that there were new formulas that are safer for people who are allergic to eggs. He also said that a doctor could give an allergic patient 10 percent of the dosage, wait 30 minutes, and if there were no adverse reactions, give the patient the other 90 percent.

I hated to admit it, but this did sound interesting to me. My wife had already gotten her flu shot. My boss said she wished I could get one, because I usually have to take a couple sick days every winter and I don't have any to spare right now. So I looked it up online before the race, and it turned out that my mother and the Fox News doctor were right. Something accurate said on Fox News, huh! I joked to L'Ailee that I hoped poor Dr. Rosenfeld wouldn't get fired or worse for that.

Monday morning, I told my boss about it. She told me I should give my doctor a call. (I really can't spare another sick day right now.) My doctor agreed with Dr. Rosenfeld and the three websites I consulted, and told me I could come in at lunch. Then I started shaking a little. I called L'Ailee, who asked if she needed to be there just in case. Seemed a little dramatic for a flu shot, I thought, but I appreciated the gesture. I had, after all, called her just in case I ended up in the ER again. I felt like I was on my way to get a lethal injection rather than a flu shot as I walked into the waiting room.

I flicked through magazines. I played on Twitter. The half hour ran out, and I could barely see the needle spot on my arm. There were no symptoms. I got the rest of the shot. Then I walked out, got coffee mixed with hot chocolate, ate a Kashi bar as I walked, and just barely entered the office on time. I had a little bump on my arm, like a mosquito bite. That's it! Everyone's really pleased with me for getting it done.

One of my favorite expressions is, "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day." Most of the time, I believe in finding wisdom wherever it's at, without writing off the source. I was ready to write off Fox News and, while I'm being honest, my mother who's always watching and quoting that station. I'm really grateful that I didn't. Not that I'm going to start watching Fox News again; I've passed by a TV that plays it in the hall at my office and gotten thoroughly angry more than once, and I've "just given it a chance" for my mother. But apparently at least one person is allowed to tell the truth on Fox News. Huh! I still chuckle a little bit to think that it actually benefited my queer, Pagan, social-libertarian life.

Something I say more often than "Even a stopped clock..." is "Why can't we just do this one simple thing?" Why can't we get some pizzas ordered for the company or organize a game of street hockey or go to a concert without any drama, damn it? I get impatient. Yesterday at my office, a couple of co-workers thought I was being a baby about the flu shot. To them, it was a simple thing. They didn't even have to make doctors' appointments--they just went to CVS. Though I can now get a flu shot, there will never be any "just" about it for me. It's not "simple." It has to be adapted to work around a condition that I have, and my first attempt almost killed me. Perhaps the "simple things" that I sometimes seethe about require adaptation and complication for other people. Nothing is ever simple for everyone. I want to remember that.

So, I became immune to the flu and a little bit smarter and nicer yesterday, plus I got an extra half hour for lunch. Not bad, really!

Links, links:

From the ACLU: When Being Poor Is a Crime. Absolutely appalling--the return of debtor's prisons. It's not exactly financially sound, either.

The attorney general of Virginia is trying to intimidate and threaten scientists who don't come to conclusions about climate change that he likes.

Dan Savage, a gay sex columnist who I generally dislike because he's biphobic, did a great thing for LGBT youth with his "It Gets Better" video project. The Make It Better Project compliments that. Our kids deserve a full toolbox.

That Pew religion survey, the one that yielded the "startling" conclusion that atheists and agnostics are more religiously literate than anyone else, didn't talk about Pagans except in the past tense. This interesting article finally accounts for us.

L'Ailee and I *love* mushrooms! So this article about their history and the toxicity of some varieties interested me. This line is damn near poetic: "Sprouting as they do from rot and waste, the sightless, silent things seem to spin life from death itself." I like to make food with mushrooms for Samhain (even if it's only pizza) for that reason.

I love pandas because they enjoy things so thoroughly, especially their food. Zoos and habitats all over the world give pandas treats, including special "cakes" for their birthdays, and I suspect it's just because they react adorably, with bright eyes and happy smiles and eager paws. There is now a whole Tumblr devoted to pandas enjoying cakes and other parts of celebrations called Panda Loves to Party. It's a quick cute fix.

Actually, I love all black and white animals. The National Zoo is known for its precious pandas, but check out these beautiful zebras, too!

1 comment:

Raven said...

I'm glad your flu shot went ok. I would have been scared too, if I were you. Having an allergy like that needs to be taken seriously.

Have a great week!