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What About This…? 9.3.2015

By Wayne William Cipriano

When was your last tetanus shot?  I have been told they last about ten years between booster shots, but I have no idea if that is correct.  You never know if information of this type is given to us for our physical health or for the providers’ financial health.

I doubt they ever outright lie to us, but they “shade,” I will bet.  I am sure that if I have a colonoscopic study done weekly, the chances that a serious condition would be overlooked is miniscule.  But, there are other considerations here as well, aren’t there?

If you have anything to do with farming you probably slash and puncture yourself as often as I do.  And, like me, you intend to wash the injury with warm water and an antibacterial soap, apply a disinfectant, and cover with a sterile dressing.  You just never get around to doing that until your shower that evening.  Of course, if the injury has stopped bleeding and hurting, or you just forget about it, you, as I, do nothing.

I have to say that I derive comfort knowing those little anti-tetanus thingees are bounding through my bloodstream because of a tetanus inoculation and I don’t have to be overly concerned with suffering lockjaw and the other symptoms of tetanus.

I dislike needles more than you do, much more, and I cringe even when I see an injection in the movies or on TV, let along one in “real life”.  I have given countless injections, but I still intensely dislike doing them.

Taking shots myself is a real character-building exercise. I stand (or more safely sit) and talk far too much to the person giving the shot, making a few jokes, giving the very true advice that shots hurt least when the needle is plunged in quickly and the medication is delivered very slowly, and other stuff like that in a failing attempt to cover my childlike fear.

But mostly I just repeat mentally the mantra my Mother taught me to use in situations like this:  “In (just a minute, or just an hour, or by tomorrow) it will be all over!”

I am probably not fooling anyone present in the area where I am getting my shot, and I am sure they talk about “that terrified woosie” as soon as I leave, but I tough it out and I get the shot.  So should you.

You cannot “man up” and muscle your way out of tetanus.  And, besides, taking a tetanus shot insure that those who would like to see us with a “slight” case of lockjaw can instead go pound sand!

I thought I was finished with this piece when Rosalie asked me, “What does the shot cost?” So I made a few calls to doctors’ offices, pharmacies, the health department, and so on.

Thanks to the so-screwed-up for-profit health system in our country, that is a very complicated question. It depends on having insurance (as most all of us do), which insurance we have, where we go if we don’t have insurance, when we go, and under what circumstances we go for the shot.  My calls revealed that costs ranged from absolutely free even if you do not have insurance to seventy-dollars even if you are insured!  Like I said, a very screwed-up system.  But, it is worth a few minutes and a few phone calls to locate the best deal, isn’t it.

Something else I found out –– they don’t give tetanus shots or boosters any more.  Now you get protection from tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria, all in one shot.  Pretty good deal!

When I was a kid, you heard about people contracting whooping cough and tetanus occasionally.  And sometimes diphtheria popped up.  Nowadays, you never hear about those maladies.  Why do you think that is?  Just lucky?