The other week I paid a delightful visit to the travel doctor for some all-important immunisations. I’m usually not too fazed by overseas travel and injections and the like – I’ve never really bothered with it before – but because we’re headed to the Amazon (or The Amazin’, as I like to call it) my mind has started going bananas with thoughts of:
- getting bitten by a monster mosquito and getting malaria
- getting bitten by an evil sloth* and getting rabies
- a piranha leaping into our boat and splashing dirty river water into my mouth and getting Hepatitis and/or Typhoid
The likelihood of any of this happening is slim to none, but the more I think about it, the more I think “ESSENTIAL”. How terrible would it be to sustain a life-threatening illness at the hands – nay, TEETH – of a rabid dolphin??? Dreadful.
So off I went. I told the doctor:
“Just give me the essentials, and don’t try to scare me into thinking I need EVERYTHING”.
“Well, you HAVE to get Yellow Fever. And you should also definitely get Typhoid. YOU CAN DIE. AND WHAT ABOUT HEPATITIS A AND B??? AND A FLU SHOT?? AND RABIES????? And did you know there is a currently a MEASLES EPIDEMIC IN PARIS??????”
She was doing a great job of quelling the ol’ nerves. Doctors are really very excellent at spying vulnerability and injecting them with not one, but 4 needles full of revoltingness. Well – I had 2 that day, and go back for the 2 “big ones” next week (LIVE ANTIBODIES!!!!! Party on!!!!!).
While at the travel doctor, I also had to have a blood test to see if I was still immune to rubella, measles and mumps. Everytime I think of someone with the mumps, I think that they look like that guy with the salami stuck on his head from that movie Hellboy, but I’m pretty sure I’m just getting mumps confused with ‘meatface’.
Anyhoo, I’m usually quite fine with blood tests. Needles don’t really bother me, unless I’m looking at it, which I DON’T DO. The nurse looked at my inner-arms, found them both to be suitably test-worthy, and jabbed a big long needle into my right inner-elbow. It felt OK, and then – POW – it didn’t feel ok. In fact, it FLIPPING HURT!!!
The nurse said:
“Oh… Sorry…. That’s going to leave a bruise”.
I thought “Bruise? Pft. Big deal.”
He pressed a cotton wool ball on my arm, tutted a bit at himself, looked at the tube of blood extracted from my vein, shook it around, tutted a bit more, then said:
“I don’t think we got enough blood out of that arm. I’m going to have to do it again.”
Fortunately, my left elbow vein was more forthcoming and the blood tube filled up quickly and, thankfully, painlessly.
I went on my semi-merry way, with a sore tetanus-arm and a relatively sore blood test arm. I took myself straight to the Gasometer and had a cider and a huge plate of fried chicken, followed by the most enormous slice of carrot cake I have EVER SEEN and felt much better. Until later, when I got quite a bad tummy-ache. But it was worth it.
The apology for the blood test was not heartfelt enough. Nearly two weeks later, and the avocado shaped and hued bruise has only just faded. I’m so glad the weather has been so bloody cold lately, lest the world be confronted by my hideous junkie arm. Bleck!
* I’m pretty sure ‘evil sloth’ is an oxymoron. Need proof?