Jan 16, 2013 -- 12:05pm

 Flu Shot 


My doctor used to say, “You are a juicy boy.”  He referred to the blood oozing from my upper arm where he had stuck a needle. I was nine, ten, eleven years old. Every shot had the same outcome. He’d stick me with a needle, blood would ooze out, he reached for a Band-Aid, and told me how juicy I was for bleeding in his office. Almost as though bleeding was all my fault because he normally didn’t make anyone else bleed.    

Mom, I don’t want to be so juicy,” I thought of saying to my mother, but I was too full of doubt to say anything. Besides, the doctor gave me a sucker.  Almost everything felt better with a sucker. 

As I got a bit older, I stopped crying in the car before my mom took me to the doctor’s office. Instead, I was pleading my case, “Could we do the shot another day?”  She didn’t waver.  “No,” mom said, not the least bit apologetic for knowing the anxiety I was facing.  She didn’t have to expose her shoulder to the doctor’s needle. I did. She didn’t have to hear the doctor tell her how juicy she’d become. I had to hear it again, and again. 

Needles aren’t a problem today. I just look away and everything is fine. 

I’m a big believer in the flu shot. 

Some people close to me are opposed and site a number of flu myths as though they know some secret I don’t.  I tell them they’re wrong. The health departments I interview say you’re not getting the flu from the shot. If you get the flu after a shot, you were getting the flu anyway. 

The evidence of the success of the flu shot is overwhelming for me personally. I’ve had the flu shot every year for close to twenty years.  Missed one year because the flu vaccine was compromised and the amount of available vaccine was extremely limited. Only the elderly or young children or medically needy individuals got a shot.  That year I had the flu.  The flu is horrible to suffer through whether you’re enduring stomach flu or have a high temperature. If I were to describe death, I’d say it feels like flu.  That’s enough reason for me to wait however long to get a flu shot.  

This season has shown the flu is coming on strong. I can’t tell you what to do.  You have your own mind.  I decided to continue getting the flu shot.  It helps.


Take care,


Stew Cohen 

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