This little piggy lived in New York
This little piggy got sick of staying home
This little piggy called about the swine flu vaccine
But everyone said they had none
So this little piggy pulled major strings*
And this little piggy GOT IT DONE!
*Note: The pig from the above rhyme wishes to make clear that she does not endorse "pulling strings" or in any other way demanding special treatment under normal circumstances. Said pig, however, has been known to make exceptions to this general rule in instances where there are wide-spread shortages of a crucial vaccination for which the pig is considered "high risk." Does this make her a bad little piggy? Possibly. Is she willing to apologize? Nope, not a chance.
Okay, I did it. I got the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine. Actually, I'm going to bite the bullet and be completely honest here: for someone who initially wrote this post, I ended up being pretty much a big wuss when it came right down to the wire on this one. I was more or less told repeatedly by my transplant center that I needed to get the vaccine BEFORE the surgery, and that I should seek it out wherever possible, but NY prioritized school children over high-risk adults (a legitimate decision, for sure, but not one that made my life any easier). And when other CFers I knew started to contract the virus, it definitely struck a chord with me. I think it's fair to say that for the past couple of weeks I've been on 24/7 "virus patrol" -- most of my friends and family now assume that I'm officially a germaphobe. They're not wrong.
Anyway, it all came to a head after I ended up in the ER for the clot and spent the next week more or less tied to my thermometer and ready to spring into action (and TamiFlu!) at the first sign of a chill or muscle ache. Not entirely productive, considering the weather was having a great time playing tricks on me by going from hot to cold -- love autumn in NYC, by the way -- and I of course was still suffering from the aforementioned clot, which unfortunately also causes pain and acheyness. Awesome.
Basically, a very uncool way to live. And definitely not good considering that the holiday season is fast approaching in NYC, with its massive numbers of tourists that this year will also include my own family. Suffice it to say that I was NOT down with the prospect of holing myself up and missing all the holiday fun.
I finally did track down a clinic with the H1N1 vaccine, but they were doing a very long, intensive pre-screening process and it soon became really clear that waiting on their ridiculous and not-so-efficient system wasn't going to get me the vaccine any faster. Plus I wasn't thrilled about the whole "public flu clinic" scenario -- not to sound snobbish or anything, but I really didn't want to be exposed to the virus while waiting to be vaccinated.
So I got on the phone and started calling basically anyone I thought could help me with this one, and eventually someone came through. I won't name names here, but suffice it to say I have some very wonderful and amazing people willing to go out on a limb for me. Within 24 hours of stepping up my search for the shot, I had a dose of the vaccine "reserved" for me to get on Nov. 1st. Granted, I did end up having to go to a pediatric allergist clinic, which involved a waiting room full of somewhat ill children, but the nurse was nice enough to get me in ASAP, give me the shot in a private office rather than an exam room, and then send me out into the not-so-germy hallway while she processed everything before sending me on my way. Thank goodness for compassionate and smart nurses who understand high-risk patient protocol. To say that I'm grateful for the chance to have the vaccine is just about the understatement of the century.
Honestly, I'm not normally a worrier when it comes to viral infections, although I do try to be cautious. I hate taking my health fears overboard and I've never been one to stay behind just because of a potential virus scare. But these last few weeks have seen the CF community (particularly adults, from what I can see) get hit hard with this flu. I don't say that to scare anyone (and I do plenty of CFers who have made full and uncomplicated recoveries, to be sure), but in the humble opinion of THIS little piggy, now is definitely the time to be calling your local health department, bugging your clinic, calling your local CFF chapter, and taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that you're as protected as possible from this particular virus.
As for me, I'm looking forward to enjoying the holidays this year . . . and not just from my apartment window.
- I am a 33-year-old wife, sister, daughter, friend, law school graduate, CFer, lifelong student of public service, blog writer, patient, Sagittarius, reader, Top chef fan, double-lung transplant recipient (twice!), and dog owner living in Colorado's beautiful Mile High City. I love all things colorful, funny, inspiring, or needlessly sarcastic. I share my city with about 2,500,000 other remarkable people, share my disease with 70,000 other beautiful souls, share my life with some unbelievable family and friends, and share my apartment with one very handsome guy and one really fat mutt with a kick-butt personality. We make it work.
About This Blog:
This blog is about me, my life, my sometimes craziness, my disease, and my current journey as a double-lung transplant recipient. It's also a celebration of everyone out there with CF (and other chronic illnesses). It's for you, inspired by you, and dedicated to you -- the community that keeps me writing, living, and breathing.
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