It’s interesting how something will suddenly dawn on us that’s been no where on our need-to-do radar. A second notice on a bill or being pulled over for an expired license plate will usually do it. Recently, when he was filling out some medical records, Jim Brawner asked me when he had his last tetanus shot. I stared at him blankly, batting my eyes real fast like it would stir something in my brain.

“Was it when you stepped on the honey locust thorn and you had to cut the laces to get your shoe off,” I asked? “Let’s see, that was maybe 15 years ago.”

“No, I remember I didn’t because the doctor gave me one when I fell in the fountain at camp and had to have my shin stitched up. So it must have been 20 years ago,” he said.

At this point I started thinking about my last tetanus shot and couldn’t remember one more recent that 25 years ago. Good grief, how did that happen.

I made an appointment at the health department for both of us to get tetanus boosters. Jim called after his shot saying since we were grandparents, the shots were free because we were around small children. I wondered if that meant they were tetanus carriers. He also bragged he got a free flu shot that I had just paid $29.99 for at Walgreens.

Two hours later the health department called. “Mrs. Brawner, Mr. Brawner needs to come back to our office.”

“Is there a problem,” I asked?

“Well, it seems we gave Mr. Brawner the wrong shot,” she said.

“Really? And, how did that happen? I guess, more importantly, what did you give him,” I asked?

“Evidently the nurse gave him a hepatitis A and B instead of tetanus, which is not a bad thing, but he needs to come back and get the tetanus and set up the appointments for the hepatitis series,” she answered, like this kind of thing happened all the time. “In conversation she asked him if he was leaving the country and when he said, ‘Yes,’ I suppose she figured that’s what he was in for. Anyway he will be covered.”

“We don’t have any trips to Ethiopia or India on the itinerary in the next year, but if something comes up, I guess Jim is set,” I answered, wondering if anyone ever looks at all that paperwork we are required to fill out.

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