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The price you pay for being organized and caught up at work.

The email popped up and jingled at me, Tuesday or Wednesday morning: “Look at your Inbox!”

Oooh!  Employee Wellness Day!  Free flu shots!  Hmmm.  I actually had the time to run over and get my flu shot, even if there was a long line.  Two days of lesson plans were already prepared, complete with online resources.

Flu.  Influenza.  Grippe.

Whatever you might call it, we are now pestered and poked to vaccinate ourselves against it.

I remember sometime back in the late 1960s, there was a flu epidemic in our house in Weedsport – all seven kids down at the same time.  In a classic defensive move, perhaps giving new meaning to the expression “going to the mattresses“, my mother moved all our mattresses down to the living room, skillfully nursing seven little feverish bodies back to health.  What a week that must have been!  There is even a grainy black and white photo in evidence, in a box somewhere in Weedsport.

I also remember the year Stephen and I brought our kids home from Russia.  Less than a week after arriving home, Stephen came down with the flu.  He hallucinated for days, staying in bed, sleeping restlessly, in pain constantly.  It was rough just to watch it, let alone go through it!  (It was so rough, in fact, that he didn’t even have the energy to give me lists of what needed to get done.)

Stephen’s bout with the flu created a strong memory, prompting him to get the flu shot every year.  He regularly advised me to do the same.  Sometimes I remembered.  Most years I did not.  Roll the dice, hope to stay healthy.

This year I texted Stephen after Employee Wellness Day’s flu shot – I did it, and early!  Woot woot!

“Woot woot” has quickly become “toot toot” as I blow my nose, and hold my aching head.  While the medical community staunchly denies the correlation, post-flu shot flu symptoms tend to be my standard reaction.  I spent the beautiful summer-like weekend in bed, trying cold medicines and supplements, all to no avail.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.  That is the question.


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!

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