The Cost Of Free: Needles Really Freak Me Out!

Every year, the company where I work holds a health fair. They set up in the break room/kitchen area and they then draw blood to check for cholesterol levels and other diseases and they administer flu shots. All for free.

I will be the first one to tell you that I don’t like needles, although my family tries to beat me to the punch with funny stories of me fainting at the doctor while watching my brother get his vaccinations any time needles enter the conversation. It’s not the pain of the needle or the sharpness that bothers me, it just seems unnatural to me to put something in my body. I mean, how do doctors know that whatever they inject actually goes where they want it to go…? But I digress…

This year, I tried really hard to psych myself into going up there and joining the bloody party. I thought I should at least get a flu shot, I mean, everyone else was getting one..then I realized, if everyone else in the world gets a flu shot, I wont have to!

Kidding aside, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I do what I can to stay healthy all year round, and during the Winter, I take my chances by passing up the flu shot but I pound Vitamin C drops, drink hot cider and generally up my hand-washing frequency to an unfathomable amount and I do OK. In the end it’s a gamble and I get the flu every couple years, but for the most part, it’s mild and I survive.

After our Thanksgiving hoopla with both sides of the family, everything seemed just grand. We got home safely and were happy to be back, sleeping in the comfort of our own beds but that night we got a rude awakening. Our three year old daughter came into our room which happens occasionally (she has the worst night terrors…of giant ants eating us and monsters shrinking us, real vivid freaky stuff…but that’s a tale for another time). I just assumed she had another nightmare and was about to lift her into bed when I heard that sound that can wake you from the deepest sleep…and the next thing I knew, I was covered in throw-up, at 4am.

There must have been something in that second Thanksgiving dinner we eat because the rest of my immediate family excluded, about 2/3 of the 65 people that attended that big dinner on Friday night were sick to their stomachs.

Like any vomit story would, this got me thinking about the flu and what that flu shot or lack thereof was costing me each year?

If this in fact was the flu that my daughter had contracted (it seems unlikely at this time) I would surely have it now and would be heading into rough territory. On average when I get the flu, I am unable to go to work for two or three days. As an hourly employee, that’s 1/5th of my weekly pay. If in the last 5 years, I passed up the flu shot and got the flu two out of the five years, that’s an entire week of work missed.

I use up my vacation/sick pay pretty early on each year as my parents always plan some big, week long, extravaganza. We really enjoy vacation and traveling and would love to do more of it but it seems as long as I keep passing up my free yearly flu shot, I won’t be taking any extra vacation time.

I can’t help but ponder whether passing up the free flu shot was worth it as I sit here sucking on my lemon-flavored vitamin C drop…

Do you pass up any free perks at work because they are inconvenient or just plain creepy? (free colonoscopy anyone?)

Image by Dirty Bunny

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16 People have left comments on this post

» ctreitNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2010 - 11:11:23 }

I take a free flu shot if it is available even though (1) I get the flu only every ten years or so (knocking very hard on very hard wood) and (2) I don’t like needles, either. When I give blood or when the doctor needs to take a blood sample, I need to lay down if I don’t want to pass out. Very weird because there is no pain, it’s just…..I wish I knew what the problem was.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

ctreit, I wish I knew too. It’s all in my head, and if I actually need to have a shot or get my blood drawn, it’s no problem. But if I don’t absolutely need it, I can’t force myself to do it by any means.

» MoneyConeNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2010 - 02:11:04 }

Don’t like needles either! But then if you are susceptible to flu, you probably should take it. 🙂

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

You’re probably right MoneyCone but I just can’t bring myself to do it! 😉

» YanaNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2010 - 08:11:53 }

Love your ending question 😛

My husband’s workplace dispenses free flu shots, and he is the only one who doesn’t take them. I did buy face masks last year to protect us from people who take those shots, because at least at his workplace, those who take the shots seem to get sick within 10 days or so. Then they pass it on to others. Neither of us has had the flu, but I am not sure we would recognize it as such if we did. It seems a vague term to me, and the vaccine is specific. In any event, I have no confidence in the vaccine as being protective, and think it is more likely to do harm. Some things I don’t want even if they are free. Flu shots are so highly promoted, even to the extent of being given away, that I can’t help but think that maybe that is because they will cause the target to need medical care after that great gift.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Yana, You aren’t the only one that believes these may be spreading around more than just a vaccine. My grandmother continually warns us about vaccinating our kids, stating that the way they vaccinate combinations of disease in a single shot is the cause of certain mental and physical illnesses. Her argument is convincing and it really worries me but vaccinating children to a certain level is required to put kids in school!

» Penny FrugalistaNo Gravatar said: { Nov 30, 2010 - 09:11:28 }

I’m needle-phobic, too — and like Ctreit, I make them lay me down whenever possible for blood draws. The sight of MY blood coming out of me makes me woozy and pass out. All psychological, but I can’t help it.

If I don’t get the flu shot every year, I wind up with the flu at least once (and numerous times, TWICE) a year. Which is terrible. So the good that comes from the shot (not getting sick) is worth the psychological damage, lol.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Crazy how seeing things can have that kind of affect on you physically.

I think if I got sick with the flu that often, I may change my mind….but probably not! 😉

» Miranda MarquitNo Gravatar said: { Dec 1, 2010 - 05:12:00 }

I don't like needles, e

» Miranda MarquitNo Gravatar said: { Dec 1, 2010 - 06:12:00 }

I don't like needles, either.

» Car Negotiation CoachNo Gravatar said: { Dec 1, 2010 - 10:12:56 }

Jesse, I agree with your question of once they stick you….how do they know the shot is going to the right place?….just doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather drink something :).

And as for the flu shot, i’ve always wondered…..aren’t there like a million different strains of the flu out there? So if you get a shot, even if it contains a few strains….seems to me like you can still pretty easily get the flu.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

It’s all a little fishy isn’t it….my daughter is doing fine now and I didn’t catch anything yet so let’s see if I can hold out for the rest of the year! Vitamin C here I come!

» Kevin @ Thousandaire.comNo Gravatar said: { Dec 2, 2010 - 09:12:23 }

I’m a believer in the “let germs come to you and build up your immune system” theory. I don’t take any special precautions to be clean. I don’t even wash my hands after #1 (it’s not dirty down there, trust me). I get a flu shot because it’s just injecting germs into my body, which I think is great for me.

I’m sure some people think it’s gross, but it works for me. I’m basically never sick.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Kevin, why get the flu shot when you can just lick a friend or neighbor? 🙂

I agree that the body can build an immunity and become stronger, but everything changes with kids. My body may be immune but still carrying the germs, and then I pass it to my kids that have weaker bodies and they get sick and end up in the hospital. That’s no good for anyone (but the doctors, see my post on insurance from last week 😉 )

My daughter got RSV which put us in the hospital for 3 days. To us it’s just a head cold or solitary sneeze but to her, it was very serious.

» Kay Lynn @ Bucksome BoomerNo Gravatar said: { Dec 4, 2010 - 06:12:48 }

The reason we have whooping cough on the rise in California is because of people who don’t vaccinate their kids. How can anyone question vaccinations when the statistics prove their value.

Before we had vaccinations, the complications and deaths from the various diseases were not uncommon.

I understand the needle phobia but don’t share it. In the Navy part of my job was knowing how to give shots and take blood.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Are Naval bases open to the public, because I highly doubt these nurses volunteering at my office have been trained all that well..I think something in my past that has greatly contributed to my phobia is my dad’s experience with getting his blood drawn. He was stuck 12 times in one sitting once because the nurse…I actually don’t know what she was trying to do..but he always came back home with softball sized bruises. If I was confident in my nurse and trusted her to do a good job, things might be different. Thanks for the insider info Kay Lynn!

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