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Welcome to the Flu Zone

Nothing beats living with a registered nurse. She knows all the right over-the-counter symptom meds. I’m rarely sick for more than a week. She even introduced me to the neti pot sinus rinse and other torture devices. So, when Lady Baba suggests I get my annual flu shot, I get right on it.

Not only was last week’s preventive injection an investment in my health but a stroke to my male ego.

“How old are you,” the administering pharmacy tech asked?

“Sixty-eight,” I offered to the 20-something woman at one of Nashua’s CVS Minute Clinic stores. If you’re over 65 you get the Fluzone High-Dose version for extra protection.

“You could have at least acted a bit shocked about that,” I whined shamelessly.

“I asked, sir, because you look too young for the high-dose vaccine.” Now we’re talking. I tried to offer her a $5 tip. Gratuities were not allowed, I was informed.

Because people get all fired up over vaccines, I wanted to sprinkle some calming comedy among those whose blood pressure exceeds healthy limits at the sight of a needle. I located a Facebook page called Pharmacy Excuses that has stories from vaccine techs administering injections to customers getting shots.

One pharmacy employee relayed, “I had someone that wanted to stand up while getting the shot. When I gave her the shot, she jerked her knee up and banged it on table.” There were also a couple weird posts on the topic.

One woman shared, “I once had a guy ask if he had to take his pants off for a flu shot. Not sure if it was more funny or disturbing.” And along those lines, another female vaccine tech said, “We had a gentleman ask our pharmacist to smack him right before she gave the shot! We now have a paddle in our vaccine room just for him. He comes back every year!”

A little waiting room levity is a good thing. While I awaited my turn, conversation with a fellow customer turned to the topic of Shingles shots. “I paid $1,000 for mine,” the guy told me. What? I suggested that he call me next time and maybe we could go halves on one. Big pharma has us where they want us.

And you gotta love the required disclaimers for most prescription medication. Basically, there are the usual side effects that often conclude with, “…and may cause death.” Now back to the fun part of today’s column from the Pharmacy Excuses Facebook page, including this from an unenlightened customer.

“A customer last year asked if the flu shot will help for the Ebola.”

Finally, “A year or two ago my pharmacy manager gave a flu shot to a woman with a dog portrait tattoo on her arm right where the shot was given. After she was done giving the vaccine the ladies husband says, ‘Oh no, you got Princess right in the eye!’ We still laugh about it to this day.”

Princess, however, was not amused.