A Flu Shot in the Company of Engineers

Flu Shots Today Whiteboard November 11, 20101 © by stevendepolo

I got my flu shot. If I were smarter, I would have gone to CVS or took my doctor up on her offer to give it to me a few weeks ago, but my husband’s  company offers the shot at no cost to employees and spouses, so I go there. It’s now a tradition. I meet him at work, get the flu shot and he takes me to lunch.

First, let me say that in my family, only my daughter and I get the flu shot.   My husband, who has rightfully earned the title “Biggest Chicken Shit when it comes to Needles” does not.

Picture it:  Pre-wedding blood tests – I get pricked; no problem.  He gets pricked and passes out on the floor.

Picture it:  Blood tests for his physical – I drive him to the lab, hold his hand during the blood tests, he gets whoozy but he is fine once I promise to treat him to Friendly’s for breakfast for being a  brave boy.  Now you get why he doesn’t get the flu shot.  Also, he claims he doesn’t need it since everyone at work gets vaccinated as does everyone at home so he is covered.

Anyway, I drove into his company parking lot and called his phone so he could come meet me and escort me into the building. It is a computer engineering company so security is tight. I had with me a five-pound can of coffee from Costco for his coffee club. He walked me into the lobby which sort of resembles a feng-shuied Fort Knox. Sure it looks inviting and pretty, but cameras are everywhere and I know that if I make one false move, the secret security staff could vaporize me out of existence.

He took the coffee and informed  me that he was going to bring it to his fellow coffee club members while I went into the flu shot room. I hate when he leaves me alone in this building. I hate being the lone flaky writer amidst all these engineers; it’s a tad intimidating. Everywhere you look are whiteboards with major mathematical equations written all over them. I would just feel better if just one whiteboard had a verb conjugation on it, but there was none.

I walked alone into the appropriate conference room and was met by a guy with glasses (go figure) who told me to proceed to the left side of the room for the pre-injection qualification questions. In other words – I had to fill out a form.  After completing the pre-qualification, I handed it in to the person whose job it was to collect the forms. Then, I received my shot instructions:  When called, I had to proceed to the nurse. After injection is complete, I was to sit for 15 minutes on the opposite side of the room from those waiting to receive their injections.  There, in the post-injection zone, I would be monitored for severe allergic drug reaction.

Having had the shot many times, I knew there would be no adverse reaction. But when I am a guest in Geek Central, I tend to abide by their rules. So, I sat, played with my cell phone and listened to the conversations around me.

Engineer one – a male about 45 years of age:  What kind of reaction do you perceive occurring if someone is indeed allergic to the vaccine?

Nurse: anything from hives to breathing issues to loss of consciousness.

Engineer Two – a female: Where exactly in that 15 minutes do most reactions tend to occur? Do different reactions occur at various time intervals? If I do fall into unconsciousness, is there higher level medical help standing by?

Me: (In my brain) What the hell?  Your throat closes up and you fall to the floor flopping like a fish on a dock and maybe if you’re lucky, they will call 911 for you!  I looked to the hallway and saw that my husband was back from delivering the coffee. I waved him in so he could keep me company while I waited to see if I died from an allergic reaction, but, of course, he was not budging  because there were needles in the room, and so it was one writer against the ultra intelligent and nerdy.

Engineer Three – a male about 55 years of age, who had just received his shot and preparing to embark to the post-injection side of the room:  I am contemplating whether or not I need a bandage. The blood does not seem to be a threat to my shirt as of yet.

Nurse:  I have a Looney Tunes band aid if you want.

Engineer Three on seeing the band aid: Okay, I will take that.  Engineers love anything to do with cartoons and comics. I don’t know why but they do.

I didn’t wait the 15 minutes. I was a artsy-fartsy writer rebel and left in 10.  I told my husband about the conversations in the room and he just laughed – he wasn’t surprised – just amused. Will I go back next year? Yes. Why not? It’s always fun to be among geeks. They are never boring.


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7 thoughts on “A Flu Shot in the Company of Engineers”

  1. Such rich conversations! Those engineers sure are smart! Especially the ones who DON’T get the flu shot! This year they “amped up” the dosage for seniors; Mary is concerned about the elderly getting this.

    1. Guess what? My husband has his own private whiteboard at home too. I kid you not. But sometimes just to mess him up, I put a diagrammed sentence on it. Ah, the little fun one can have with a geek. 🙂

  2. I’m no engineer but I love anything to do with cartoons and comics too. Cause, well, I’m a geek. I hate needles but love Looney Tunes so I’d probably brave the shot for one of those band-aids.

      1. When I had mine done, I asked the nurse how long it would be before I started craving human flesh.

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