To jab or not to jab … that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The sniffs and snuffles of outrageous man-flu,
Or to take arms against a sea of viruses.
Today I joined the early morning throng at my doctor’s surgery where they were clearly having a party: a flu jab jamboree, in fact. I rocked up and straight away proceeded to dance with an elderly Hindu man at the entrance as he insisted on me going before him. I hesitated because his wife was some five feet behind him and my natural instinct was to let her through first …
There we were, arms outstretched, smiles beginning to wane on our previously-fixed faces .. after a good ten seconds of “No, no … after you!” I took the bull by the horns and the door by the handle and ushered his wife through. I don’t think he was best pleased, but I got a kick out of it and she grinned at me as she walked in.
Once inside, we found a group of doddery pensioners milling about and once again I felt good, only this time it was simply because I was seemingly the only person in the building under fifty years of age. After a short wait, a bustling, bubbly nurse appeared, nylon rubbing on crimplene, asking us to make our way down the hallway where we’d be ushered into the pens for our jabs. Well, I say pens … I mean doctor’s offices, of course.
She barked at us that before we were allowed anywhere the needles, we had to be ready for action. This meant we had to have the receiving arm exposed, ready for the cocktail of drugs and virus that goes to make up the flu jab of today. For me, I just unzipped my hoodie and rolled my t-shirt sleeve up. For the rest of the room, this simple request required coordinating the copious amounts of clothing they’d put on this morning in order to leave the house. It was quite a sight, watching husbands and wives of several decades’ service helping each other undress in public and I was starting to wonder if I’d come for a flu jab at all or if this was in fact some new swinging pensioners club that I’d stumbled into … but before I could work that one out, I was physically pushed down the hall by nursey and dragged into an office by one of her colleagues further inside the building. With a jolly smile, my upper arm was squeezed with the force a discerning shopper might use when hunting for the right vegetable, and before I could say “Ow ! That actually hurt !” I was out the door, blinking in the sunlight, wondering what had just happened.
At this point, I actually felt at home among the bewildered elderly mob that were still outside trying to put their clothes back on following an earlier intake of victims – or should I say patients ?
I do love getting the jab, though.
Not the physical pain of the needle.
Not the general feeling of lethargy I typically suffer for the next 24 hours.
Not the confusing hubbub of the surgery trying to run a military operation on the day.
No … I love the protection it brings.
I love that it actually works.
I love the fact I’ve had nary a sniffle for the last three years.
I love that it’s free on the NHS for the elderly and people with certain conditions.
I love that it only costs a tenner if you don’t fall into any of those categories.
Given a packet of “flu remedy” medication costs about a fiver, I don’t know why more people don’t bite the bullet and get it done every year ?
GPs recommend plenty of fluids, rest and normal pain-killers for the flu should you happen to succumb, so most of the miracle cures are a crock anyway, at best a placebo to make you feel better.
I know it’s not fun to receive any kind of injection, but ten seconds of pain and a day of taking it easy has got to be worth a year without the flu … hasn’t it ?