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First flu shot ever: Not so bad

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by Nick Wognum
There was a bit of peer pressure when I sat in a room with Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital health care professionals last week to do a story on the hospital giving free flu shots.
“Have you had your flu shot yet?” I was asked.
“Nope, never,” I replied.
Wrong answer.
After failing to come up with a good reason, I could tell the time had come after 47 years to give in and get a flu shot.
The giver was nurse Heidi Artisensi. That made things easier right there. I’ve always found health care to be a lot easier when the person who’s providing it is kind and caring.
First I had to fill out a form listing my name, address, date of birth and answer four questions.
1. Are you sick today? No. But even if I was I could still get the shot. Lose-lose or win-win depending on how you look at it.
2. Do you have any serious allergies? No. But if I was allergic to eggs there would be no shot. Having scrambled eggs for breakfast today ruled that out.
3. Have you had a serious reaction to an influenza vaccine in the past? No. That didn’t rule out having one now but Heidi said I had nothing to worry about and she was right.
4. Have you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome? No. And I’m glad because the name alone sounds scary enough.
Questions answered, signed and dated, all that was left now was the shot. Start the clock.
Heidi rolled up my left sleeve and swabbed the area with an alcohol patch. I held up my phone and switched to selfie mode. Or in this case getting-stuck-with-a-needle mode.
There was a slight poke, I’m not going to lie, but the pain was minimal. Unless you have a phobia of needles (you know who you are), it’s really no big deal.
Stop the clock. Elapsed time: 45 seconds.
They were out of Snoopy band-aids but Heidi did draw a smiley face on mine, an autograph of sorts.
That was it. Done. Easy. And the best part? It was free thanks to funding from the Ely Health and Hospital Foundation, which has purchased 2,000 shots to give away this flu season.
Two free flu clinics in October have already been held but if you’d like to get your free shot, there will be two in November as well.
Circle Nov. 6 and Nov. 20 on your calendar. Free flu shots will be offered at Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
If I can do it, you can too.

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