In Extremis

It happens every year. The Army mandated flu vaccine. I despise it more than I despise the anthrax and small pox vaccines. These are pretty much my top three most hated injections. This year was something of an anomaly in that I got all three of these. The trifecta of doom. Anthrax and flu happened on the same day. Once again I am left questioning the safety of combining diseases within my person and since the flu shot always gives me the flu, I had no way of really knowing if I was displaying anthrax symptoms or just flu symptoms.

As per my standard operating procedures, I filled out the pre-injection questionnaire with the claim that I do in fact experience a serious reaction to the flu shot.

“What kind of reaction do you have to the vaccine, Chief?” The medic asked.

“I get the flu.”

“That doesn’t count, Sir. Besides, it’s an inactive form of the virus. It can’t make you sick.” She used the same line of logic offered by the last twelve medics to give me a shot twenty-four hours before I get the flu.

“Look,” I began. “If I don’t get the shot, I have a 50/50 chance at not getting sick. With the shot, I get sick 100% of the time. Just let me take my chances.”

“Sir. This cannot make you sick.”

“So why do pregnant people, people with babies, and people with elderly at home get told not to take the shot? It’s right there on your questionnaire.” I needed to try a different tack.

“Because those people are more susceptible to the flu and we can’t risk injected people around those high-risk ones, Chief.”

“And you don’t see a flaw in this logic, do you?” I asked.


“Just get it over with.” I caved.

It may be psychosomatic, but I always experience headaches shortly after this shot. I was looking for that reaction as I put my uniform top back on.

“Chief, you’re due for anthrax as well.”

“You can’t be serious. Is that even safe? You just gave me the flu.” I pulled my top back off and offered the same arm.

“Other arm, Sir.” The next medic said.

“But I got small pox in that arm.”

“When?” He began to put the syringe down.

“Four months ago.”

He picked it back up.

“Wait!” I balked. “You are going to inject one cow disease into the site of another cow disease? You medics are worse than the Russians who weaponized these cow diseases.”

So here I sit. In Korea with the flu, the muscle pain that accompanies the anthrax shot, and a bio-hazard bag of small pox band-aids under my sink that I’m afraid to turn in because the scab went missing. Hopefully down the shower drain, but I’ve already covered that in a previous post. I’m a walking biological weapon or self incubating petri dish at this point. I’m pretty sure Monty Python’s boys would gladly hurl my carcass over the castle walls at the French…

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