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A Shot in the Arm
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It has been said that going back to school keeps one young, but I had no idea.  Really.  I had no clue that at the advanced age of fifty, I'd be forced to get a mumps shot.  Oh, and chicken pox (shingles).  I had a blood test that proved I was immune to measles and rubella, so there's that.  But I need the vaccination for meningococcal, a dread and horrible affliction often effecting those living in dorms, which I will be doing in August for ten days.

Forget about the controversy over immunizations, though that is a difficult task.  I remember weeping when the first nurse stuck the first needle in my first son's fat, perfect, and plump thigh.  I wept as only a mother can, one giving over her child to pain. Then came the fevers and the hard injection site and sometimes the rash.  With my first son, I waited for the death, the instant change in personality, the troubles that protesters assured me would come. Both of us were sobbing.

But during and after each immunization, I'd recall the novel "Mrs. Mike," wherein all the main characters' children died of diphtheria.  Okay, I thought, a shot isn't such a bad thing. And whatever ills my children suffered because of shots passed.  Later, my younger son's world traveling gave him a chance for shots and treatments I'll probably never have (what were those malaria pills?). Later, my sons and I all went through the hepatitis shots--A and B--together.  We can now eat out any dumpster we please.

But I'm not looking forward to my mumps shot.  I'll admit it.  I'm a wuss.  When I have to have a tetanus shot, they have to break it into halves because the injection site swells to dinner plate size and I get an achy, awful fever for three days.  A half dose at a time, not so bad.  All of this is a clue to me that if I were to get tetanus for real, I'd be lockjawed and dead before you could say rusty nail.

I'm glad I'm not Mrs. Mike, losing her children all in one terrible fell swoop. I'm lucky I have insurance, a health plan, a doctor who sends the requests to the lab and injection clinic.  But I wasn't expecting this ancient fear to re-emerge, this rite of passage for students now mine at this late stage in the game. But then I googled mumps, and, frankly, I'll take the shot and shut up.



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Jessica, Wow! I never thought


Wow! I never thought I would have to renew shots someday! I had mumps, and yeah, they are no fun. I have to admit that as I hit 50 I am getting more worried about shingles. I have heard the horror stories about how it's more painful than chicken pox. 

It's all worth it in order to go hang out on a college campus though!


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Immunizations and a sincere thank you

Annette--and Jessica.

My mom got shingles at age 78. This is inflammation of nerve endings! She said it was the worst pain she had felt in all her life. And she had experienced pain of many kinds.

And thinking back to the days of polio epidemics, what a tremendous blessing that a vaccine was found. I have vivid memories of schools closing, children not aloud in theatres or swimming pools. Then, it was early 1955 when the vaccine became available. I know for sure because I carried my youngest daughter as a toddler to get the vaccine. My children--4 of them--would not live with the threat of paralysis or death. Praise God for the researchers that found the preventative.

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I had no idea my mumps

I had no idea my mumps vaccine had worn off.  In fact, I think mostly about the flu and the flu vaccination, what with teaching at a college and so many sniffly folks running around. That's a shot I get every year out of self preservation.

Here's to safe shots and fewer illnesses!