I was going to get a flu shot. Really. At the one-day “flu shot clinic” advertised last fall at the drug store. When they were offered at the health fair. Or maybe even at my doctor’s office. I was going to. I just never quite got around to it.
Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here in my recliner, tucked in under a soft, cozy throw, with my forehead feeling hot and my hands feeling cold and an ache across my lower back that even Ibuprofen won’t get rid of.
What hurts the most is knowing that at this very moment I could be relaxing on a massage table under Nikki’s skilled, soothing hands. It was no doubt considerate of me to cancel my appointment rather than to risk spreading the flu, if indeed I have the flu. She appreciated it. I didn’t. I’d rather be getting a massage than sitting here aching and whining—to myself, yet, which is no fun. What’s the point of whining, after all, if there’s no one to listen to you?
Since whining isn’t doing any good, I might as well acknowledge that my failure to get a flu shot was more than just not getting around to it. I never really intended to get one at all. It’s not that I’m afraid of shots. It’s not that I don’t believe in them—though I do have some doubts about the efficacy of one shot against a multitude of ever-evolving strains of flu.
No, I simply am not ready to admit that I belong to a category of people advised to get flu shots. People who are considered to be at higher risk. Not because of chronic illnesses, or because they work in hospitals or nursing homes or day care centers. People who are considered at risk because of the dreaded A-word. Age. People who are eligible for AARP membership and “keenager” checking accounts at the credit union and even senior citizen discounts in some restaurants. “Older people.” People over 50.
I am not an “older person.” Never mind the grown kids and the four grandkids. Never mind the hair color; it’s still all mine. (You buy it, it’s yours, right?) I can still run up the hill to the mailbox on a chilly morning. I can still hike all day or dance all night—just not on the same day. I can still touch my toes without bending my knees. On second thought, never mind the toe-touching—my grandmother could do that when she was 80.
Still, anyone who is as active, healthy, and energetic as I am—at least after my third cup of tea in the morning—certainly should not be classified as “high-risk” when it comes to the flu. I shouldn’t need a flu shot. I didn’t get a flu shot. Nyah, nyah, nyah. So there.
After you’re done saying, “I told you so,” could you please hand me some more Ibuprofen?