So yesterday, I had an appointment to get my meningitis shot for college. I was okay with doing one shot, even though I am so scared of needles. Seriously just thinking about needles makes my stomach quiver with fear, as does the rest of my body. I walked into the office out of the pouring rain, and sat down, waiting for the nurses at the counter to be free. Finally, they say my name, and I stand up and walk over to the counter. I give them my insurance card, and the nurse looks at me and says, “You’re due for about 4 shots today.”
I wanted to run away.
I cleared my throat, and tried to smile as I asked what shots I needed.
“Well, you need Tetanus, because your last one was 6 years ago. You should get Hepatitis A, I recommend HPV, and also, your meningitis. Come into the back, and we’ll talk.”
I nodded, and followed her dumbly, like a sheep being led to slaughter. I was calming myself down in my head, making my feet go forward, and not back.
We get to the room, and I sit down on the table, covered with white paper with little blue flowers. It crinkles when I sit. I watch her open the fridge where the medication is, and then she opens a drawer. Filled with syringes. My stomach revolts, and my legs automatically stand up. I make myself sit back down. The conversation in my head goes something like this, “You’re 18 years old. You can get shots. Look how tiny the needles are. NEEDLES?!” Then I shut myself up.
The nurse asks me if I want to do Hepatitis A. I ask her about it. She tells me that it’s needed to travel, and she recommends getting it before I leave the state. It’s a series of shots; one today, the second in 6 months.
“I’m going to be moving to college in a few months, so I don’t think I want that one today.” She nods, and then starts to talk about HPV. I told her that I decided a few years ago that I didn’t want it, and she launches into my sexual history. I decide (again) that I don’t want the shot. Come on, you have to have three of them within a year, and I’d heard horror stories about how much they hurt.
“Tetanus in the right arm, meningitis in the left, okay?” I nod.
Then she lifts up the tiny glass bottles that hold the medicine for the shots I’m going to get. Its barely half an inch of liquid in the syringe. My vision goes blurry when she turns around with a syringe in her hand. “Make your arm floppy, like a noodle. Pretend it doesn’t belong to you.” She tells me. But I’m thinking, “Crap! It DOES belong to me! It’s my arm! Please don’t hurt me!” I squeeze my eyes closed, I feel the needle break the skin, the click of the syringe and then seconds later, the burn of the medicine.
“I barely felt that.” I say in disbelief.
“You rarely feel the first. But you’ll feel the second.”
Come on, lady! Don’t tell me that! I’m thinking about bolting to the door.
She gets the other syringe, and tells me to make my arm floppy and breathe. I breathe dramatically. When the needle breaks the skin, my eyes get wet, and I flinch. “Ow!” I say, and look down; and she’s mopping up the blood. “Do you get woozy when you see blood?” She asks. “Not mine.” I say in a half whisper. “Use your arms a lot, and if you want, take Tylenol for the pain. Oh, and if you get a fever or swelling, go to the E.R.” Gulp.
I’m done. With the needles, but not the pain.
I head home, driving through the rain, and when I get there, I fall down onto the couch, hold my arms, and whimper. I feel my head every few seconds, waiting for the fever. My body is freezing, and I wrap myself into a blanket. I don’t get warm. Later, my dad gets home from work, and we make pizzas. I eat quite a bit.
At 8, Kyle calls.
At 9, I go to bed.
At 4, I wake up and throw up so hard it hurts. I rush to the bathroom in time to throw up into the toilet; dry vomit that hurts to cough up. I almost choke. I wish for someone to hold my hair back. I go back to bed, after drinking a little water and getting a mint. Peppermint helps with upset stomach, right?
At 5.27, I’m up again. The mint isn’t dissolved, and I reach into my mouth to grab it, gagging in the process. I don’t even have time to roll out of bed before I’m throwing up. Huge, loud heaves that make me gasp for breath in between. At least this time I had more liquid to throw up. Good thing the trash can was beside my bed. Bad thing some graduation presents were beside it. Good thing I have aim, because they didn’t get wet.
I try to go back to sleep, but the smell of vomit (pizza, yum) makes me throw up again. I empty the trash, turn on my scentsy, put a drop of “Purification” in the trash on second thought and crawl back into bed. I can’t go back to sleep even with the cleaner smelling room, because I can’t fall asleep on my back or belly, and my arms hurt too much to lay on them. I do it anyways, and cry out everytime I shift my weight. I fall back asleep. I dream the world is ending.
My stomach is still weak now, and I’m drinking 7-up to try and calm it down. On the way home from dropping Pat off at work, I almost had to pull over because I got so nauseous.
I hate shots.