Bring it on, rusty nails, I’m ready for you!

Recently, Stefanie posted a Friday Five about the perks of being an adult. I agree with her completely; adulthood (without children) rocks. However, there are some times, like bill paying time, (which should have been about an hour ago) when being an adult can suck.

This reminds me of my latest doctor’s appointment. When you’re an adult, no one but you is there to make you go to the doctor. (Of course, I grew up as a Christian Scientist, so when I was a kid no one but the public school system was there to make me go to the doctor, but that’s another story for another day.) So after my yearly physical, I was all ready to rip off my paper nightgown and head out the door when the doctor inquired about my latest tetanus shot. Was it less than ten years ago?

Damn. No, I can’t imagine I’ve had one in the last ten years, because I don’t even remember the last time I had a physical. So the doctor left, and told me the nurse would be back with a syringe full of vaccine with my name on it. Because I’m an adult, it’s completely within my rights to tell the doc to get lost, no shot for me. But because I’m an adult, I can also remember how I procrastinated about getting my wisdom teeth out, and then got lectured when I walked into the oral surgeon’s office 10 years later than recommended, and swelled enough to prove them right. Begrudgingly, I agreed to offer up my left arm as a sacrifice to rusty nails everywhere. Before the nurse got to me, I asked her to confirm that there wouldn’t be major pain.

“The shot itself doesn’t hurt,” She reassured me. “But, tomorrow morning, when you’re showering, and you soap up your arm, you’ll think of me, because you may have a small bruise, that’s all.” That seemed basic enough, and I am a person who once voluntarily put jewelry into her nipple, so the moment of truth wasn’t that bad at all. I walked out of the room, wrote a check for my co-pay, and patted myself on the back for making a grown-up decision that will stick for the next ten years. Good grief, I’ll be 39 years old then! We’ll all be driving in flying cars!

The thing I want to tell everybody, especially the type of people who find my blog by searching for “wisdom teeth swelling” and “dear sweet merciful Jesus, please stop this wisdom tooth surgery, it hurts so much more than I was told!!!” is that tetanus shots really fraking hurt the next day. In fact, it is now four days after the shot, and I’m still thinking of the nurse. Because I was promised no side effects, when that section of my arm was infused with pain, swelling, and radiated heat, I freaked out just a little. I turned to my friend, the internet, to find that there are common side effects associated with this toxic vaccine, and they are a little more serious than thinking about your nurse in the shower. They include:

Fever.
Redness or swelling.
Soreness or tenderness.
Fussiness.
Tiredness.
Vomiting.
Uncontrollable crying.

Once I realized I was looking up the side effects for children, I stopped crying and looked to see if I was having normal effects for an adult. Yes, adults experience similar symptoms and may also have itching, rash, and trouble breathing, which means you are a lottery winner in the allergy drawing, and which is why I’m trying really hard to ignore the massive itchiness I have right now.

Being an adult sucks, yes it does. But then again, I am drinking a glass of wine while writing this, and I saw an R rated movie with my boyfriend this weekend, and I spent the night at his apartment and I didn’t have to lie about it. (While I was at his place, Birmingham was worried about accidentally hitting my sore arm, so he took the “Laura Roslin for President” button I gave him for Christmas and pinned it to my sweater to remember not to touch that area.)

So the moral of this post is: just embrace your age for all it is, and remember that you can’t always trust a nurse when she says it won’t hurt. Also, you can’t spell “tetanus” without “anus.”

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kirsten on April 30, 2007 at 3:23 am

    i had my tetanus updated 3 years ago prior to a trip to india. and good thing too – I cut the dickens out of my pinky finger at my hotel and some random gardener used his oil/rust covered fingers to try and stop the bleeding. lock jaw free, is me.

  2. Posted by -R- on April 30, 2007 at 3:52 am

    I got a tetanus shot at my dr’s appointment about a month ago. I thought it was going to hurt when the shot was administered, so I asked the nurse about it. She told me that it would be sore the next day. The next day, my ass! It was sore about an hour later, and the soreness and bruise lasted 4 or 5 days! I survived though.

  3. Posted by stefanie on April 30, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I know I am overdue for a tetanus shot as well, but I actually DO remember the pain and soreness after my last one. (I think I was in high school at the time.) A friend of a friend told me recently that tetanus shots are not actually particularly necessary, and I am choosing to believe her for a while, even though she is probably full of crap.

    Also, staying over at boys’ houses is definitely something else I could have put on my “reasons being an adult does not suck” list, but since I haven’t actually stayed at a boys’ house lately, it didn’t seem as notable at the moment.

  4. Posted by NancyPearlWannabe on April 30, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    We had to get one to work in the schools- I could’ve sworn that nurse knocked me out, punched me repeatedly in my arm with brass knuckles on, and then sent me on my way. Everyone thought I was just being a big baby; I’m printing out this post and showing it around.

  5. Posted by lizgwiz on April 30, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    The one good thing about being the most injury-prone person I know is that my tetanus shot is pretty much always up-to-date. Let’s see…I last got one in 2004 when I broke my arm (and broke the skin slightly), one before that when I broke up a dogfight and got bitten, one before that when I crushed my fingers in a pizza dough roller, one before that…see what I mean?

    Luckily, though, I don’t remember ever having a particularly bad reaction to it. Unlike the pre-exposure rabies shots I got when I worked for a vet. (Just a precaution, and they give them in the arm, not the belly. But they still hurt.) Also unlike one of my childhood shots, which caused my arm to swell up so much that it had to be lanced and drained. I still have a scar. Ah, sweet childhood memories.

  6. Posted by Leah on July 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    thank goodness you posted this. I got a tetanus shot on Tuesday, and my arm is still really sore. I was worried something was seriously wrong with me, but now I can explain the stupid tired feeling, the sore arm, etc etc.

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