Sunday, 15 November 2009

No flu for me!


I had my seasonal flu jab yesterday. The surgery had the task of injecting everyone off to a fine art. When I entered, there was a queue of about five or six people, but by the time the receptionist had checked my name on her list, it was my turn to go in! About fifteen seconds later, it was all done! I remember reading somewhere that GPs get a payment for each patient they inject, something like five or six pounds. Given that the whole procedure took about thirty seconds per person, that’s somewhere in the region of £600 an hour – not a bad rate of pay!

I felt absolutely nothing when injected, although my arm is aching slightly now. I’d much rather have the injection than the real thing. Being diabetic means that my blood sugar control would go haywire if I caught flu, with a quite serious risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Since that was what landed me up in hospital at diagnosis, I know exactly what it’s like, and NEVER want to suffer that again!

So, I’ll be off again in a couple of weeks or so for the swine flu jab. Some scaremongering stories have been doing the rounds, but from the more respected sources I have read, the dangers are minimal, and not to be compared with the problems they encountered in the mid-1970s when some Americans died from sde effects from the vaccine being used at the time. There are risks with all sorts of things, and you just have to weigh up the evidence and make an informed decision. After a year of living with diabetes, I no longer take the word of medical staff as sacrosanct – they often can’t agree with each other so you quickly come to realise that you need to be pro-active with your health choices. This is why I stopped taking statins, although the jury is still out on whether I need to keep taking a daily aspirin. Nine drugs down, two to go!

Just roll up your sleeve now,
You won’t feel a thing,
That’s not totally truthful,
Sometimes it can sting!
But having this jab
Will be better for you
Than a serious dose
Of the seasonal flu!
So don’t be a baby,
Just give me your arm,
I’ll inject this dead virus
To keep you from harm…
In a couple of weeks time
We’ll see you again
For your swine flu vaccine -
We don’t know quite when –
Then that’s it for the winter,
We’ll see you next year,
That’s two bad diseases
You no longer need fear!

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