Posts Tagged 'Sick'

Tetanus and Whooping Cough

I saw my doctor for a physical last week. I was trying to take advantage of my insurance benefits while I still had them, not because I was ill. The nurse asked me when the last time I had a tetanus shot was, as they are supposed to be readministered every ten years. I couldn’t remember, so she looked it up. The last tetanus shot I had was in 1997, so I told her to go ahead and do it.

When she returned with the needle, she told me there was a second vaccine in the syringe. Pertussus (Whooping Cough) is apparently becoming a local issue. Adults don’t realize the vaccine wears off (like tetanus), then contract it and pass it on to children. Many children are never vaccinated against whooping cough, beacuse the parents choose not to. Children are more vulnerable and more likely to die from this infection than adults, and it is one of the most common vaccine-preventable causes of death in the world.

I said ok.

The nurse told me about the side effects: soreness, redness at the site of injection, may last a couple days. No big deal.

I said ok.

She gave me the shot.

The following day my arm hurt so bad. My entire upper arm was throbbing and shooting needles of pain down to my fingers. I could barely lift my arm. I could not lie on that side of my body (putting pressure on my upper arm). The discomfort was much worse than had been implied.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention how strongly I react to chemicals in my body. The bottle of Advil says take two; I take one. Three glasses of wine, and I’m definitely not driving anywhere. A small palmfull of chocolate covered coffee beans gives me heart palpitations. I’m sure that I am smaller (probably by 50+ pounds) than the “average” test subject for the FDA.

On Saturday, boyfriend and I went to the high school regional basketball finals. The town he lives in, and the one that I grew up with a connection to, has been undefeated so far this season, usually by a margin of 20 or more points. The town they played in the finals are their number one rivals, the town I currently reside in, and the the only team to ever lose by less than ten points. It promised to be an exciting game.

Boyfriend was sitting to my left, and he kept nudging my left shoulder. It hurt every single time. At halftime I made him switch seats with me, telling him to feel free to bruise up the right arm and make them even.

Sunday, I woke up with a runny nose. Today, I woke up with a runny nose and a cough. Perhaps I contracted a cold/flu in that crowded gym on Saturday. But what if I didn’t?

What if I now have the early symptoms of whooping cough?

Boyfriend’s children are among those never vaccinated. My insurance benefits run out this week. This could be bad. Very bad.

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Just Hang On

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you’ll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something’s coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you”

~Pink Martini (Hang on Little Tomato)

What a way to start the new year.

First of all, I’m sick. Boyfriend had a nasty cold/flu thing just before Christmas, which got him out of having to meet my family. I wished really really hard that I would get it too, and miss the whole holiday crap myself, but it came too late.  Ugh. And I’m supposed to work tomorrow, to do some really nasty work that nobody else wants to be around during the normal workday.

Second, the heat and hot water are out in my apartment. Again. What terrible timing! I’m always the one who ends up calling the landlord when somethings wrong with the building, so I always feel like a whiny brat. There are at least six other tenants, and the guy who runs a business on the street level. Why can’ t one of them call for once? But I’m the sicky one, so I’m sure it will be me again. What can I say? My tolerance level for this crap happens to be kinda low at the moment.

Third, Did I mention I have to work tomorrow? With dangerous chemicals. They’re so bad, in fact, that I’ll be earning my hazard pay, which is part of the reason I agreed to do this in the first place. I’ll be wearing a respirator, and I’ll be sure to change the chemical cartridges a couple times during the day, but it is really really hard to blow your nose with a respirator on. I’ll have to go outside every ten minutes! Boyfriend, and perhaps you all agree with him, thinks I’m nuts, but there is a reason behind this. By working Sunday, when nothing is open anyway, I can take a weekday off and get things done.

Fourth, my to-do list is a mile long. And being sick has slowed my productivity rate significantly. There are things I want to do. Please note, these are not New Year’s Resolutions. I firmly believe that if we want to make changes in our lives, the best time to start is immediately, not at some fixed, yet mostly meaningless point in time. There are time sensitive items on this list, so I guess they are the priority. No, blogging is not one of them. Yes, I am wasting precious time and energy.

Fifth, one of the items on my to-do list. My license expires in May. Not my car drivers license, that other drivers license. I’ve been real reluctant to do anything about it. There are a number of steps, some of which cost money, others that just cause hassles, and some that cause both. I haven’t been through this process before, so I don’t really know what to expect. Most of my friends can’t help, because they got theirs after me. My former employers have been through it several times each, but getting advice from them is like pulling teeth. I feel all alone in this. And I’m not entirely committed to renewing; I’m not sure there is a point. I’ve never really used the darn thing, and I hope my life path leads me farther away from ever needing it. But the economy is crap, so who knows where I’ll be next month or next year?

Sixth, and I like to think of this last one as the bright spot right now, I am revamping my job search efforts. No, I have not been laid off, but I can’t handle the stress of constantly believing that any week could be my last. Despite assurances from the company that I have nothing to worry about, I can’t help freaking out. I cannot live like this. So I’m actively looking for a Plan B, which depending on what I find, could potentially become Plan A. I’m back to using USAJOBS, a site that has caused me much difficulties and no luck in the past, but I’m looking at a different department. I’m currently looking for a job in a national park, preferably one in the Rockies, the West, or Alaska. Many of these job opportunities are temporary appointments, which would give me the chance to get out of here for a while and see something new. What happens after the temporary time is up (probably September)? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps current job will still exist, particularly if people do get laid off for the summer and we have some work again next winter. Perhaps the current state government hiring freeze will no longer be in effect, and I could use my experience in a national park as a bridge to say, the Department of Conservation. Perhaps I don’t return here.

I do have other bright spots in my life. My new yoga class starts on Monday, and after the holiday break, I feel like I sure do need it! My saxophone is currently in the repair shop, but I will have it back this week, and the repair guy is going to help me find a new mouthpiece, which will hopefully help to correct some of my tone issues. And then the first rehearsal for my new band is next weekend! I’m also thinking of doing some volunteering at the local hospital. In high school, I was a volunteer in the O.R., and I think it is a great way to branch out of my little rut, meet new people, and gain new experiences.

A Public Health Warning

*Cough, cough, cough*

I didn’t go to work today (see the time stamp…it’s the middle of the day!). I’m sick. So very very very sick. I have a completely debilitating case of need-a-day-off-itis. So, look out world; I suspect it is highly contagious.

So shit happened at work last week: A wonderful invitation to do something out of the norm, but which I am absolutely qualified for; followed by a broken promise, which was a very personal slap in the face. I was singled out, and everyone (except the manager responsible) agrees it was wrong and unfair. I was hurt by it, and it was all I could do to hold myself together long enough to get through the day. I cried and cried and cried when I got home. But I’ll survive, and I’m viewing this incident as a reminder that I’m not supposed to work there forever and using it as the kick in the pants to go do something.

So, I’m spending the day sitting on my couch, looking up job openings, and writing cover letters. Wish me luck!