Monday, November 22, 2010

MFA Monday: MMR mania

True story: I got my new student packet from Pacific University and in it was a form saying I need proof of a second MMR immunization. I must have looked totally stricken, because my husband asked:

"What's wrong?"

"I have to get a shot. The last time I got a shot was thirteen years ago when I had to get a tetanus shot and hurt like crazy! I hate shots!"

Total look of confusion on his face. "Um... you're diabetic, hon. You give yourself shots everyday."


So I had to get an MMR shot. I finally sucked up the nerve to call my doctor to make an appointment, only to be told that he doesn't give them.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"Oh, most general practitioners don't give them. You can try the emergency care center, or maybe CVS or Safeway."

So I proceed to call the pharmacies of every drug store, grocery store, and mass-market warehouse within 30 miles, and no one gives MMR shots!  What the heck? I considered trying to bribe my kid's pediatrician to give me one, since I KNOW he does them.

It turns out the only place I can get the shot is at the county public health clinic. Oh joy.

Our local office is open twice a week, for an hour and a half. No appointments. And a warning on the website not to show up before the doors open.

So I show up, a half hour after it opens, and find one of the last of the 45 seats in the waiting room (Yes, I had time to count how many there were). I was one of the only non-hispanics in the room, and probably one of the few who spoke English. The funny part of this was watching the nurse who came out to call families back and then had to ask the desk clerk to translate. It sounded exactly like this:

"Lopez family? Lopez family?"  No response. So a little louder: "Lopez family?" Everyone just stares at her, so she practically yells, "Lopez family?"  When no one answers, she turns to the desk clerk and says, "Hey, can you translate for me?"

At which point the desk clerk would say, "Familia Lopez?" and a family of three stood and walked to the nurse.


The room was nearly empty when I was finally called back an hour and fifteen minutes later. The nurse rolls up my sleeve and picks up a huge needle, swabs my arm and says, "You've had your flu shot, right?"

Is this a prerequisite now for an MMR?  I say back, "Um, no. I didn't get a flu shot this year."

"Oh!" she says, surprised and somewhat put off. "You want to get a flu shot?"

"Um... no," I say. "Just this one is good."

So she sticks me, hard, and the shot hurts like crazy. It takes about 15 seconds. I then go back out to the waiting room to wait for another 15 minutes until they have the records for me to send to school. So an hour and a half for a 15 second shot. And I had to pay, because while the public clinic doesn't charge for all people on medicare and medicaid, it does not bill people with private insurance.


So not all grad school work is scholarly, but it is all educational.

BTW - I was the only one in that waiting room with a book. That hurt worse than the shot.


  1. I feel your pain! I hate medical waiting rooms! And I find the older I get the more anxious I am about shots, or taking medication.

    You'd think that being a mature student you'd get some breaks from institution rules! ;)

  2. I avoid the doctor as much as possible. I hate waiting.

    Too funny about getting a shot, but it sounds like it was a little different from your regular shots.

  3. Never heard of a university requiring this. I had to get TB immunizations when I was teaching, but no one ever told me I needed a second MMR.

  4. That was the best laugh I've had in a while. It sounds like the waiting room was a lot like when I got my driver's license in Vegas, like, almost exactly.

  5. They asked you to get a shot? I had to get vaccinations for nursing school but only because I was going to be with patients. Well, these people better give you some REALLY good writing advice because you got STUCK for them. (And those books that you write better NEVER come down with a case of mumps, measles OR rubella.)

  6. Ok, this is my new job, pretty much every day. It's so frustrating!

  7. heads up..sorry about the second MMR..but thirteen years ago for a tetanus shot is not good. I was told you need one every TEN years. YOU are late on that one too. Sorry for this sad sad news.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! God bless you!

  8. Cyndi - I know... I actually think I've gotten one since then, but it wasn't quite the huge memory that one 13 years ago was. I should check my records though... I'm good at keeping up with the kids but not so much myself!