Mar 4, 2013

Let's Just Call Me 'Sensitive'

3/04/2013 — cori
Since I'm traveling to Haiti in just under 3 months, that means I need to get some travel shots.  You know, so I don't end up passing out or getting deathly sick while there.  But guess what?  I can do that just as good here too come to find out.  Here's the story:

I drive myself to the Doctor's office to get my vaccinations.  First mistake.  This is me we're talking about.  Something is bound to go wrong, awry or get deleted.  It starts off great.  My name is actually on the list.  So I take a seat in the waiting room and decide to practice my social skills.  Since I'm going on a trip by my self, it would be good to practice talking to strangers, striking up a conversation, honing up on my non-existent small talk skills.  If I can't talk to a captive audience while in this waiting room, then I have deeper problems than first suspected.

Surprisingly, I strike up a conversation with a kind man.  Granted, he didn't hear me the first time I tried to get his attention.  But on the second go around, he knew that the noise I call 'talking' was emanating from my direction and I was the only one sitting there.  So he appeased me by looking my way.   I cleared my throat and repeated my sentence yet again.  Imagine my social skills like a stick-shift car.  The first time you switch gears the car jerks and shakes alot and sometimes even stalls out and you need to restart again.  That's kind of like me.  But once you get the hang of shifting gears, watch out, you can't stop me.

We were so deep in conversation the guy didn't even hear the nurse call his name.  Our great time came to an abrupt stop too soon.  Thankfully, that empty space was soon filled with the nurse calling out my name next.  Time for shots.

This appointment started out lovely.  She didn't even weigh me!  I was thrilled.  I tried to wear the lightest weight clothes possible yet still enough to keep me warm on a 20 degree day.  Shorts, flip-flops (that I can easily step out of before getting on the scale) and a tank top were out of the question.  She started asking the usual questions and then gave me a 'consultation' (a.k.a "warning") about all the hazards of where I was going, what I could die from, and all the terrible things that could happen to me.

After feeling encouraged about my future travel plans, she has me hop up on the little table in the room and asks me which arm I want my shots in.  How should I know?  I expertly decide on two (which two I have no clue) on my left arm and one on my right.  She confirms my smart choice with an affirming smile.  She then tried making small talk with me.  We all know how I excel in that area.  All I have on my mind is trying to avoid the big needle full of a virus I don't ever want to have but am currently getting injected with.

The first two shots go off without a hitch.  Then comes the last one on my right arm.  As soon as the needle enters, my arm instantly goes numb and I feel a freezing liquid running through my veins.  I inform the nurse in a rather slow voice, " arm...just went numb.....".  And that was it.

I passed out cold.

When I came to I was lying on my back looking at the ceiling with this strange lady looking at me.  I had NO CLUE where I was.  I actually thought I was at home and was dreaming and wasn't sure if I should talk to the lady there because I wasn't sure if she was real or not.  But then my ceiling at home did not look like this.  Then I heard such loud noises in my ears I couldn't imagine where I was or what was going on.  And then, here's the clincher, I noticed my feet were on the table and my knees were bent.  That was the sign that I knew I was laying down and not sitting up.  So I decided to trust this stranger in my 'dreams' and tried out my voice, "Um...I'm laying down."

"Yeah.  Apparently you passed out."

"Um...where am I?"

"You're getting your shots at the Dr.'s office."

"Um...why am I sweating?  Oh no....I'm going to throw up!"

At which point she hands me the plastic c-shaped bowl that no human can possibly throw up into.  I cannot aim that well.  It is so small and narrow and c-shaped and pink.  I decide to hold it in. I'm good at living in a nauseous state anyways.  I proceed with my former line of questioning, " my arm supposed to be cold and numb?"

"Next time you get your booster shot in one month remind us to give you your shots while you're lying down.  Apparently you're extra sensitive."  Tell me something I don't know.  She then decides that a small can of fake orange juice will make me feel all better.  She asks me if it's common for me to pass out.  I think she was just trying to make sure I was cognizant and didn't loose too many brain cells.  So I tell her the story of the time I walked into a door frame while holding a book and passed out and then the other time when my migraine was so bad that as I was throwing up, I passed out (thankfully, Chuck caught me before I fell into the bathtub backwards).

She walks me out to the waiting room and tells me to stay there for the next 20 minutes.  Personally, I feel like I should stay for the next two hours.  My hands won't stop shaking, I'm extremely light-headed and rather dizzy at this point.  The next logical course of action would be to call Chuck.  I get on the phone and say, "Hi Babe. I passed out, but I'm okay now.  I might be here a while cuz I don't think I can drive for a very long time."  He asked something about coming to get me in a very calm voice but I told him no.  Seriously, that would mean leaving one car here and that would NOT be efficient.  I'm anything if not efficient.  He said that didn't really matter at this point, we could come back and get it but he would feel more comfortable driving me instead of following me as I drove my car into a pole and he was helpless to stop me from behind.  I'm so glad he did.  It's like he rescued me from falling into the bathtub all over again.  My hero.

It was decided by the nursing staff that they accidentally hit a nerve when injecting me with that treacherous third shot.  Thus the tingling sensation in my hand and numbness of my arm.  Nothing a good nap won't cure.  However, upon waking from my nap, I realize my arms are now full of lead.  I cannot push myself up into a sitting position.  I vaguely recall the nurse also saying something about possibly having sore arms.  That was an understatement!  How about possibly having non-functioning arms.  I was a sight to behold for a few days.

I can only imagine it gets better from here....the whole trip to Haiti thing, I mean.  I've gotten the passing out out of the way.  I'm sure I'll get violently ill once I start one of the preventative meds for malaria that I need to take before I leave (since I'm so sensitive and all).  So I'm thinking that while I'm there, all I'll suffer from is starvation, dehydration and exhaustion since I can't see myself eating any of the canned food I'm supposed to bring or remembering to brush my teeth with only filtered water or put in my water purification tablets.  And let's not even talk about the hee-bee-jee-bees I get when I go to a hotel.  I can't sleep very well on a bed that hundreds have slept on before me.  Plus, there's the whole can of lysol I prefer to spray over every suface in a hotel.  That might look a little weird to the Mission staff if I start spraying down all the bunks upon my immediate arrival.  But don't worry, I'll have my malaria pills and sleeping net, so I'll be good to go.  And then I have the back up insurance policy of my brother telling me that if anything goes wrong on my trip he'll swoop in and rescue me military style.

We can all rest easy now.  I'm just 'sensitive' -  that's all.

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