As a diabetic, I fall into the extra risk category should I contract flu. The extra stresses placed on the body’s systems trying to fight off the virus can result in climbing blood sugars which, if not properly controlled, can result in high levels of ketones with the potential for developing DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) – a life-threatening condition. For this reason, I am advised to have a vaccination against the most common strains in the autumn of each year to provide extra protection. For me, under the NHS, the vaccination is provided free of charge. However, my doctor receives a payment from the NHS for every patient he treats, and since the process only takes a few seconds this can be a very lucrative venture.
In order to maximise this earning potential, the surgery tries to encourage as many people as it can to take up the offer. When I was dropping off a prescription yesterday I was quite astounded at all the brightly coloured bunting and flashy posters decorating the whole place, as though there was some huge, historic celebration planned! And so I imagined, what might the doctor’s letter be like inviting me to this extravaganza…?
The postman came, is it for me? My goodness, what is this?
A letter from my doctor, oh no! Something must be amiss!
Dare I open it, and see what fate is in store for me?
Or should I leave it sealed and stay in ignorance, fear free?
The envelope is staring up, I can’t escape its gaze!
Oh, how I wish I’d given up my wild, unhealthy ways!
My doctor never writes to me, just when the news is bad,
But no – I’ll have to open it, or it will drive me mad!
What’s this? A card all glittery? Whatever could it be?
A party invitation? And please ‘RSVP’?
What joyous grand occasion are the celebrations for?
I read on in bewilderment, in order to learn more…
‘We’re happy to inform you, after months of preparation,
The time’s arrived for you to have your new flu vaccination!
There’ll be some cakes and sandwiches, and of course a bar,
But if you intend drinking, please leave behind your car.’
I couldn’t wait! The day arrived, I walked into the room,
The disco lights were flashing, I could hear the music boom!
And party poppers threw their coloured streamers in the air,
And conga-dancing patients laughed and weaved between the chairs!
A pretty nurse came up to me and whispered in my ear.
‘Would you like to join me in my office over here?
I’ve got something to give you – I promise it won’t hurt!
And it will make it easier if you first remove your shirt!’
So willingly I followed her, my shirt fell to the floor,
I gazed at her expectantly as she swiftly closed the door.
‘Now close your eyes for my surprise, I’m sure you’ll find it fun!’
She stuck a needle in my arm, announcing ‘There! All done!’