yellow fever

The Vaccine Story (no, not that vaccine, an other one)

Years ago I was required to go to somewhere in western africa, some place that you needed a Yellow Fever shot to enter. Around here the way that is accomplished is you to go to the travel nurse. I did my research, I went, this is the story.

Armed with the knowledge I needed this Yellow Fever shot I showed up. The nurse started to ask me some questions. “Have you ever drank the tap water in China”?, “Have you ever been to Brazil”, that sort of thing. Sure, the answer is yes to all of them, how does this affect my Yellow Fever shot? Finally we are done the questions, she says, here are the 17 shots you need. I’m like, 17? Give me your top 3! I’m no pincushion, I just need the Yellow Fever. OK, no problem she says, but before I give you this, let me tell you a little story.

You see the guy that left before you came in? Well, he has a worm coming out of his arm. Every 3 days he has to come back in here, I take a pencil, we wrap the worm a bit more around it, eventually the worm will be out. Me: “EEEWWWWW. OK, Give me the Worm Shot”. Her: There is no Worm Shot, that’s something you’ll just have to suffer through. Ugh, now she’s messing with me for refusing the 17 shots. Sigh, I will try to avoid the arm worm.

And then she told me something that is with me to this day. “Do you ever put your face in the water when you shower”? Me, of course. She then tells me about this fly that lays its eggs in water, is activated in steam, and inhaled where it hatches. And, it has a huge habitat. Shivver.

So I got the Yellow Fever shot, I got a few of the other top risks (not all 17). And I got ongoing nightmares about arm worms and lung flies. Thanks travel nurse, I’ll go back to you for my covid shot when its my turn for your wry sense of humour in messing with me.






One response to “The Vaccine Story (no, not that vaccine, an other one)”

  1. Sean Caragata

    Thanks for sharing Don. Your story reminded me of one Jimmy Carter’s most memorable and under-appreciated achievements, the eradication of the Guinea Worm: (not for the faint of heart)

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