@kristindru Let's figure out if we work on the same campus, then have lunch together! (And by "lunch" I mean "text one another while taking bites of a three-day-old sandwich from the coffee shop downstairs while being constantly interrupted by people who Need Things.") Poop-cleaning during our lunch date will be optional.
@kristindru Hi, fellow medical person! Mine's more like: Drink tea, get report, fluff doctors' egos, chart, turn/clean/check pump settings, chart, fluff doctors' egos, field phone calls and questions having nothing to do with my work, chart, explain test results, chart, comfort family members, chart, head off crises, chart chart chart, give report, go home and collapse. Everyone else will notice that neither Kristindru's job description nor mine included breaks for lunch or going to the bathroom. That omission is intentional.
Oh god oh god I feel your pain. I've paid off about a third of some horrible medical debt (it can happen, even with good insurance!). For some strange psychological reason, the remaining two-thirds looks larger than the whole shebang did. My only advice is to have one thing a week you can look forward to: be it cheese, or a discounted admission to the zoo, or a dollar movie--whatever, just so long as it's there. It makes the rest of the slogging, scrimping, debt-focused time more bearable.
@selenana Unless you're directly involved with sick or immunocompromised people of any age, you're probably fine. I wonder why Japan doesn't have as big a push to vaccinate as we do? I'd think, given how crowded the cities are, that it would be A Thing.
@stuffisthings Shhhhh! Don't harsh the collective mellow. Myself, I think anything that convinces a sick person to drink more fluids is a good thing, provided not too many of those fluids contain alcohol. If there's a nutritive component, like in chicken or vegetable broth, so much the better. Sadly, though, that shit ain't gonna cure you. Still, it's a nice excuse to drink whiskey and eat soup.
@SarcasticFringehead My whole *life* improved after I discovered that there really *is* a Sarcastic Fringehead, and I saw pictures of it.
@selenana I have no problem answering questions! Yes, the two times I got the flu, I had had the shot. The first time was back in. . .oh, 2005 or 2006, whenever it was that the trivalent vaccine didn't cover one of the strains. That was the strain I got. The second time, I got H1N1, because nothing covered that at the time. (A long parenthetical digression about the flu vaccine: it's made fresh every year, and protects against the three strains [hence "trivalent"] that Smart People think will be most prevalent in a given flu season. Some years, it doesn't work out that way, and there's a strain of flu that isn't covered by the vaccine. There's talk of a new quadrivalent [covering four strains] vaccine coming out this year or next, which would rock.) As for getting the shot and still maybe being a carrier, I honestly don't know. I've only read some popular science stuff on superinfecters, and as far as I know, the research hasn't advanced far enough yet to look at vaccines in superinfecters. I'm sure there's somebody more well-versed in epidemiology than I am who could answer you, though. Hope that helps. Where are you, if I may ask?
@Megoon Our hospital has a different policy: if you don't want to get the flu shot, fine, but you have to mask and glove, no matter your job, any time you're within arm's length of a patient. Then, if you do get sick, no matter with what, you have to submit a negative flu screening and a doctor's note before you're allowed to return to work. To me, that's sensible. I work with folks from multiple cultures, and some of 'em have religious objections to getting the shot. Making the vaccine mandatory without any other options is, to me, a little unreasonable. The places it *is* mandatory, no exceptions, is at the clinics and on the floors where there are more severely-immunosuppressed people. Again, logical: if you're not willing to get a shot, don't work on the bone-marrow transplant unit or with neonates in the ICU. FWIW, I think I have one coworker this year--just one--who didn't get it. That's counting housekeeping, dietary, engineering, nursing, physicians, you name it.
@josefinastrummer Yes, you can get Guillain-Barre from the flu shot. However, the chances of that are *maybe* an extra 2 in 100,000--there's conflicting data, as only the swine flu shot from 1976 has been implicated in GBS cases. Yes, some people who get the shot also get the flu. Sometimes, as Stina points out, it doesn't take, whether because of the individual's immune response, or because they got it too late in the season, or because the shot doesn't cover a particular strain. Most of the time, though, what we call "flu" is actually an upper respiratory infection of viral origin, not related to influenza. "Stomach flu" doesn't exist, sorry--it's an entirely different set of nasties that are usually grouped under the name "gastroenteritis." As for putting extra crap into your body, it's your body and I'm not going to argue that point with you. You might think, though, about all the extra crap that enters your body on the regular--like pollution, other viruses, preservatives, hormones--and ask yourself if it's not a little bit paranoid to single out the flu shot. The only time I get irritated is when people who have contact with vulnerable populations don't get vaccinated. If you're a medical professional, or your work with kids or the elderly, you owe it to them to get vaccinated. Likewise, if you plan to travel to places where other wack respiratory illnesses (bird flu or SARS) are endemic, you need to get vaccinated, just so that if you get sick, shit can be ruled out. You might check out some of the more recent research on superinfecters, by the way: turns out that there's a certain percentage of the population who, like Typhoid Mary, can carry huge viral loads without getting symptoms, thus transmitting disease to hundreds or thousands of other people.
Can I just get in here ahead of the crowd and say that the flu shot does not cause the flu? Thank you. You may have a mild immunological response--I do, after some vaccinations (let's not talk about the Hep B series). You will still get colds, the odd respiratory infection that isn't influenza, or the "stomach flu." You have a sixty percent chance of not getting the flu at all with this year's shot, and if you should happen to catch a case, it'll be milder than it would've been without the shot. I've had real, HTG influenza twice. The first time, I realized why people die from it. I've been more acutely miserable in my life, but never for as long a time, and never with as long a recovery. The second time I got H1N1 (hooray for front-line work!) and, while it wasn't as bad in terms of fever and body aches, I thought I might for-real cough up a lung. Both times it took me more than two weeks to recover and return to work, and I was mimsy for a month after that. So get the fucking shot. I am (relatively) young and healthy, and I've still been hit twice in ten years. Oh, and don't bother with wearing a surgical mask unless you're sick. It doesn't do much good unless you also remember to cover your cough, wash your hands all the time, and refrain from touching your face, eyes, and nose. And if you're fool enough to get sick, please don't show up at my hospital. We're full already.