10 June 2008

Vaccination Vacation

I have much to say about our weekend trip to Charlottesville for Mike's reunion. Unfortunately I can't use my arms very successfully right now. I got my first round of vaccinations yesterday!

My doctor's letter arrived in the mail over the weekend and I called the clinic as soon as they opened yesterday morning. They said I could come at 3:00 and I could not be late. I arrived nice and early at 2:45 and sat in the waiting room until 3:45. Usual doctor's office stuff, and I was replaying the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in my head where Larry is racing a girl down the hall to the dentist's office because it doesn't matter if you have an appointment, what matters is who signs in first.

Finally the same nurse I saw last time called me in. She glanced at my letter for a second, made a little mark on her chart, and put it aside. That's it. No discussion about it, nothing. I'm not sure she even read it, she looked at it for such a short amount of time. Argh. Then she starts going over the list of shots I need. She doesn't like to do more than four or five in one visit and I need at least 8. Some of them are done in three stages. And yellow fever is only given once a week at a specific day and time (and not the day and time I was there). So it was like doing a puzzle, trying to figure out my shot schedule for the next month. Yesterday I got tetanus, typhoid, and the first doses of hep A and hep B -- two shots in each arm. In two weeks I get yellow fever and I think polio. Two weeks after that I go back for second doses of the heps and I pick up my malaria pills. And then, get this, the rest of my shots I get in Burundi! Assuming they are available there!

My arms are aching. Using them a "normal amount" is supposed to relieve the pain, but I feel like I can barely move them. Now that I'm awake I'm trying to lift them over my head every few minutes. (Obviously I couldn't move them in my sleep; in fact, I slept on my sides, probably making them even more achy.) It feels like I did 100 pushups last night.


Cara Lopez Lee said...

I felt your frustration, and sore arms, while reading about your vaccination struggle. I remember how amazed I was that two months was not enough time to get fully immunized. If I recall correctly, when I went on my 8-month world trek, I only completed the first 2 vaccinations in the Hepatitis B series, and wasn't able to get the 3rd until I returned. But the Doc told me the first 2 would provide reasonable protection. I also needed a series of 3 Japanese encephalitis shots, for my trip to China. After a few weeks of all this, I was a bruised pincushion. So, did you go with Larium as your antimalarial, and if so, how were the dreams?

Stephanie said...

Hi Cara,

Yup, I'm on the mefloquine. I actually never had the dreams, but my husband did the first couple times he took it. I had anxiety and insomnia but it's hard to say if it was from the mef or just the stress and excitement of moving. For both of us the side effects only lasted for the first couple of weeks.


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