Friday, July 15, 2011

The Gloves are Off

I’m a medical technologist. I love learning about the human body and the conditions that can challenge it. I especially love immunology and how the body fights to protect itself. I am a strong supporter of many vaccines and have kept my kids’ immunizations up to date their entire lives.

So now I embarrassingly admit to one of my many shortcomings. I was out in the yard working hard cleaning up buried trash and hauling away sticks and branches to the burn pile when I suddenly realized that I was a hypocrite. Let me first explain that I hate wearing work gloves. Hate it! I know they are useful in helping prevent blisters and cuts and what not, but I really don’t like to wear them. I also don’t like tetanus shots. They hurt like hell for three days and basically make that arm unusable during that time. I know all about the benefits of preventative medicine, but it hasn't swayed me to visit my doctor. You know where this is headed.

I was hauling stuff and scratching up my hands and arms when I suddenly realized that I haven’t had a tetanus booster in over 13 years. It’s one thing to be hanging out in Bellevue grooming my yard or sitting in an office volunteering somewhere and be out of date. It’s an entirely different thing to be working without physical or immunological protection in an overgrown yard full of dangerous items that are just waiting for their chance to get me.

Did I mention that my healthcare provider is 3,000 miles away for the next two weeks? The reality is that I would get a booster if I made my way to an emergency room with a deep wound. I know that. I also know how many times in my life I have intentionally ignored wounds.

Maybe I’m being a little paranoid about all this. After all, I haven’t worked in a lab in many years and my tetanus knowledge is a little, uh, rusty.

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