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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Needle-Phobe Stays Ill to Avoid Flu Shot




It's flu season.


It's the time of year I face the following truth: I am a cowardly lily-livered yellow-bellied sap-sucking wuss. (All of which, I might add, I am completely comfortable with.)


It's not fear of flu that leads me to this annual appraisal. I can deal with the flu. I can handle fever, aching, nausea, delirium and the near-death experience.


The flu shot is another matter.


Things I would gladly do rather than get any kind of a needle:


- Gnaw off a limb.


- Shave with a piranha.


- Remove chest hair with duct tape.


- Get a vasectomy.


Another thing I will do to avoid getting a shot is lie.


For example, every year when I have my physical, the doctor asks when I had my last tetanus shot. I always say the same thing - nine years ago.


I say this because I know you are supposed to have a tetanus shot every 10 years. In truth, I haven't had a tetanus shot since before the Bay of Pigs.


Sure, by not getting a tetanus shot, I run the risk of contracting lockjaw, but I rationalize my decision this way:


Nose-tube food has come a long way.


Of course, the reason I especially fear the tetanus shot is because it is not just any shot, it is a booster shot, which, as any kid can tell you, is anywhere between 100 to 200 times more painful than a regular shot.


In fact, there is only one thing known to man that hurts more than the booster shot - the posterior-booster shot.


The posterior-booster shot is so excruciating that it is common knowledge that before getting one, John Wayne would demand general anesthesia. And they say he still cried.


For those who might think my attitude toward needles is phobic, even pathetic, consider this: When it comes to the male and the needle, I am relatively brave.


For instance, I have never run away from home, taken hostages or self-inflicted anything other than a superficial wound to avoid getting a shot.


How many men can make that claim?


Women, for some reason, have no problem with needles.


I remember when my wife was pregnant. One day she made me go with her to the doctor to have something done called amniocentesis.


I recall walking into the examination room.


I recall discovering the procedure involved a needle.


I have a vague recollection of seeing a team of nurses carrying a syringe into the room on their shoulders.


After that, things are kind of hazy until around the time the baby started school.


Jim Shea is a columnist for The Courant.