Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Typhoid Heather

I'm convinced that this persistent cough I've had for nearly two weeks now is the result of my Typhoid vaccine regimen. Unlike shots, it was a "live vaccine" I took in pill form. I had to take four, one every other day, on an empty stomach chased by a full glass of water. The point, it seems, was to force the pill down into my intestinal parts, rather than having it dissolve in my stomach where the acid would kill all the little buggers.

I have a weird thing when it comes to internal medical thingies. When I was younger, one of the many possible careers I cycled through was paramedic. Or maybe not as a career, but something I though about doing part-time or as a volunteer on the side. I did spend my year in Columbus as a Disaster Action Team Volunteer with the Red Cross. We were on call for 12-hour periods (mine were usually 6pm-6am, because I had a day job, of course), so we'd get a call in the middle of the night, drive down to the RCHQ and then drive over in a van to a house that'd just caught on fire. (DAT volunteers technically responded to any disaster, but floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc weren't exactly everyday occurrences; I never saw anything but fires, but I know a number of people who went to help Katrina victims later.) Anyway, I really enjoyed it, or found the work satisfying, which probably sounds better. Our job was to sort of counsel the victims immediately afterward, find them temporary housing and help them buy what they needed, depending on how much they'd just lost. To me, this was sort of a warm-up to being a paramedic (I also had vast amounts of first aid training), even though we didn't actually treat injuries. Blood has never bothered me, and I've never been the kind to freak out in an emergency, but more the "this seems serious but there will be plenty of time to worry and be anxious later, so just let me take care of it" kinda gal. A couple of incidents in college confirmed this, like the time my roommate passed out in the (shared floor) shower and I had to watch every single person in the area freak the fuck out. Anyway, I'm just saying, I think it's interesting work.

Oh, but! See, there was a reason I went on that little tangent. Also because I like to ramble, but still. All the blood or physical whatevers don't really get to me (unless you make me watch Saw or something, then we'll have a problem), but I do get the heevy-jeevys when we're talking about my own internal workings.

When I give blood, the needle doesn't bother me (though yeah, it does kinda hurt) and the big bag of blood doesn't bother me. However, I've nearly passed out a couple times because, as I sit there for ten or so minutes and notice the bag start to fill up...I start imagining that the blood tube is backing up because it no longer has anywhere to empty out, and so the blood must be backing up in the needle, and in my arm, and ohmygod my whole vascular system clogging up like the 405 at rush hour and SOMEBODY GET THIS THING OUT OF ME. Seriously.

So I had to take this Typhoid pill on an empty stomach, fill myself up with water, and then not eat for an hour. I swear I could feel the little "live" typhoid things crawling around my empty digestive track. It seriously freaked me out just a little. I mean, it was supposed to be doing something down there, right?? It also gave me headaches everyday, and now I've got this nasty cough that won't go away, so Christopher's taken to calling me Typhoid Heather. Please, let's all hope that sticks.


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