Sunday, November 11, 2012

Flea Shot


“You are required by law to get a flea shot,” the voice mail stated. I didn’t quite believe the message, so I listened again.

“You are required by law to get a flea shot.”

No doubt about it. The caller clearly said “flea,” not flu which is what I would have expected. I’d already been given my flu shot, almost tackled to the ground by one very insistent nurse at the hospital.

“It’s for your own good,” she screamed as she jabbed a twelve inch needle into my shoulder.

“It’s more effective with a bigger needle,” she cackled in a voice that I was sure came straight from Macbeth.

I’m positive she cut a notch into her stethoscope after she had satisfied her sadistic needs. But, back to the voice mail.

“You are required by law to get a flea shot.”

The caller ID revealed a number from one of the hospitals.

I wonder what she means. A flea shot could be a vaccine for me to prevent my becoming infested with fleas. Perhaps the nursing administration had heard about the growing number of canines occupying our house and become alarmed that I was about to become a carrier or become infested myself. But, I’ve never heard of a vaccine that prevented fleas. It would be a good idea, however. One shot and no more fleas, that is, a good idea for dogs.  It would save me a fortune on “Frontline”. I, however, am not and never have been infested with fleas. Well, we did battle head lice years ago, brought home from school by one of my daughters, but there hasn’t been a louse around my house for fifteen years. (relatives don’t count) Lice and fleas are related, but I doubt a flea vaccine would have any effect on lice. But I digress.

Maybe I’m supposed to have some fleas injected into me. That would certainly be a way to become immune, a new take on live virus vaccination. I think I would politely refuse such an injection. Fleas are nasty little beasts, fully armored, almost impossible to crush, like other insects. The best way to dispose of a flea is to flush it away. No, I’m sure I don’t want any fleas burrowing away under my skin.

It could be the other way around; inject something into some fleas. It would take a very tiny needle. Even with a thirty gauge needle, I don’t think a flea would survive. And, there still would be the problem of getting through the flea’s armor. Why should anyone want to vaccinate fleas, anyway? From my perspective fleas have almost no redeeming social value. They infest our pets, get into our furniture, carry diseases and are, in general, total nuisances.

I’ve decided. I’m going to refuse the “flea” vaccine. It may mean I have to wear a mask when I come into contact with patients, I suppose it could even cause me to lose hospital privileges. What if the state gets involved, revoking my license for lack of proper vaccination. I could lose my livelihood. Maybe a certificate from my veterinarian would suffice. Maybe, I’ll just give in and get the vaccine. How bad can it be?