Check all the boxes that apply
October 17, 2013 2 Comments
Partner and I got our flu shots very early this season. We’re both older, and I’d just been diagnosed with cancer, so we agreed that it was probably a good idea for the two of us not to get the flu this autumn/winter.
CVS (and many other pharmacies) offer flu shots for free (for those of us lucky enough to have health insurance). They have a cute little kids’-tea-party table and chairs set up behind a screen in the back of the store; you fill out a form, check a few boxes, and then the pharmacist gives you a little tiny jab. (Usually it’s administered by Alexander, the handsome Russian pharmacist. We were disappointed this year because he wasn’t available, but the on-duty person was a lovely funny person, and she was almost as good as Alexander.)
The form was routine:
ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO LATEX? (No.)
ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO EGGS? (No.)
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
- HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? (Yes, a little.)
- HIGH CHOLESTEROL? (Certainement pas.)
- DIABETES? (No.)
- KIDNEY DISEASE? (Are kidney stones the same thing? Maybe a little. Okay, then I’ll say ‘yes,’ and explain if necessary.)
DO YOU HAVE CANCER?
I stared at the question as if it were written in Hebrew. “What am I supposed to say?” I hissed to Partner.
He glanced over at my form. “I think the answer in your case is ‘Yes,’” he said calmly.
Reader, I cannot tell you how difficult it was for me to check that box.
It got a little easier after that. ARE YOU ON MEDICATION FOR CANCER? (Not yet.)
And I gulped and gave the form to the pharmacist, and she glanced at it and gave me my shot.
So – you see? That wasn’t so difficult.
It’s just the idea, that’s all. “Cancer” is a hard word to say out loud, especially if you’re talking about yourself. But, believe it or not, it gets easier to say.
Cancer is just a stupid condition, after all, like high blood pressure and kidney stones. It’s treatable. In a few months, I’ll be better, I hope.
And I’ll be around next year to have another flu shot.