Caring for the campus

Lauren Williams

It is that time of year.

The leaves are turning, the weather is crisp and students are coughing, hacking and spreading their germs around campus for all to acquire.

Flu season is well on its way and the only way to protect yourself from catching it is either paying a pretty penny for the flu nasal spray, or going the more affordable, college-kid-budget route: the flu vaccination.

I have never been one keen on getting shots, or real keen on needles in general. Yet every year, my mother, a certified registered nurse, brings home my annual flu shot, ignoring my stifling belonephobia. And every year, this flu shot sits on the top shelf of our refrigerator for weeks and humorously stares me down as if it knows it’s going to get the best of me. One time, my mom was tired of my excuses and had waited long enough. My dad pinned my flailing limbs to the living room floor while my mom stuck me with the needle. Seriously, that really happened. It was last year.

So this year, to save myself from another private meltdown, I decided to partake in the flu clinic held at the Willcoxon Health Center to just get it over with.

While I was sitting in the waiting room at the health center, I saw one guy come out of the exam room cupping his shoulder and, believe it or not, limping. I still could not tell you why he had a limp, but he did and it was just after he had taken his flu shot. Another girl came strolling out of the exam room chalk-pale and teary-eyed.

I gulped as the office receptionist called my name. I began to feel weary as I slowly loosened my tight grasps on the arms of the chair and rose to my feet. The six steps from the hallway leading towards the exam room seemed to last a lifetime.

As I stepped into the exam room and mustered an edgy smile, I asked the nurse, Jan Dipley, if there were any other patients as anxious as myself. She smiled and laughed a laugh that could have been fit for a Disney movie villainess.

“We had one girl stand in the corner for 15 minutes before she finally came around to getting her shot,” Dipley said. “And she was a pre-med major.”

I froze in a daze. I began to feel weak and stood there like a limp noodle with my legs wobbling underneath me. Then the worst of the worst happened. Without the slightest little hint or warning, she darted the dagger straight into my arm. Then in the blink of an eye, she unstuck me, slapped on a Band-Aid, patted me on the back, and looked around the corner and said, “Next.”

And that was it. I did it, and had done so without a making a fuss or pitching a fit. It was over, and really, was not all that bad.

The moral of this story is, no matter how much you hate needles or make excuses about the H1N1 being more of a media-frenzy than a problem, get your flu shot people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity is on the rapid increase in the United States, and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Although the Willcoxon Health Center flu clinic is over, additional vaccines have been ordered. Many other local pharmacies will also be offering the flu vaccine. So go get your shot and be part of the cause for a flu-free campus this winter.