Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Flu shot blues

To get a flu shot, or not to get a flu shot—this is my quandary.

My company is offering flu shots this Friday, and I’ve read that pregnant women need to get flu shots. This has been an issue for me since July when I first read that I needed to get one.

I’ve never had the flu. I’ve had sinus infections, but have truly never had the flu. I’ve also never had a flu shot. I had a co-worker get one once and he was sick for a week! Well, I’m a wimp when it comes to being sick, so I’ve always opted against getting the flu shot.

This year, it’s obviously different. If I need to get the flu shot for Little Elvis, then I will definitely get the flu shot.

I called my doctor’s nurse line to ask about the flu shot and figured that while I was on the phone with her, I’d ask for my glucose results as well.

Before I even told her my name, I asked about the flu shot. And I got the definitive answer, “If you want to.”

What type of answer is that? If I want to. Well, I don’t want to, so is it fine if I don’t? Am I endangering Little Elvis if I don’t, even though I’m kind of following the nurse’s advice and doing what I want to do?

Even though she was obviously busy dispensing very valuable advice, I pestered her about my glucose test results as well.

I was told they would have called me if something was wrong, but she went to check on them anyway. (As a side note, I’m pretty positive the doctor never looked at the ovarian cyst on my ultrasound—even though I called—so I’m now seriously doubting that they look at my test results before my appointments.)

She told me my blood sugar was normal, which is great! But I am slightly anemic. This is honestly not much of a surprise, considering my current passion for ice.

I told her that I’d been eating tons of ice and had been told I might be anemic, so that was good to know. I then asked if I should add any foods to my diet before my appointment at the end of next week.

She told me I was “only” borderline and would probably be told to take an iron pill once a day and could go ahead and start taking it “if I wanted.”

Now why would I want to take some OTC medicine that might have many different versions possibly once a day without hearing from my doctor first? She didn’t even give me a name. She just said a low dose of iron. How do I know what that is?

I really wanted to ask her if it was ok if I did a keg stand this weekend while smoking a carton of cigarettes. I’m pretty sure her answer would have been, “If you want.”

After all that, I went to sign up for the flu shot, and found out that since I’m pregnant, I need a doctor’s permission to get it. What?!?

If I can’t get a straight answer from the nurse line, how will I get one of the doctors to write me a permission slip? Grrr.

What should I do? Should I pester them to fax over a note? Should I try to plead my case to the flu shot people on Friday?


Blogger Kelly said...

When I was looking into vaccinating our baby, many books/websites mentioned that they still use a form of mercury (thermo... something - sorry, I'm having pregnancy brain) in flu shots. Not sure how it would affect a fetus or even if it's still true.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Ann said...

I'm struggling with this one, too. Never had the flu shot, also never had the real flu, (to my knowledge), due at the end of March, putting my third trimester during peak flu season. We are even planning on traveling internationally over Christmas. Ánd I've also seen friends get sick after getting the shot.

But I don't think I'm being a wimp. My understanding is that they change the formula every year (depending on what strain of flu is up and coming) So what kind of assurance do we really have? Nothing about the flu shot - even its regular usage - strikes me as "tried and true" - yet. Certainly the medical profession has made mistakes in the past: Wasn't there a morning sickness medication in the late 60s that turned out to cause birth defects?

So, I'm going to risk it. And I'll be as cautious as possible during my travels. But there's nothing easy about this decission...

2:50 AM  
Blogger Pregnantly Plump said...

Ann, I hope your Christmas trip goes well.
As for me, I did get the flu shot on Friday morning. The people argued with me and said I should get it in the doctor's office. (This is a place that doesn't check blood or do ultrasounds, so flu shots are definitely not on their menu.) My throat was scratchy on Friday and Saturday, but as with most colds, I got over it fairly quickly. My deciding factor was a study I found on the CDC website.

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