pink flower

It’s all fun and games until someone needs to get an anti-tetanus injection…

So, when I wrote about my little misadventure in the countryside this weekend, I thought all the fun was over.

But I was wrong.

Not long after I published that post, I started getting comments/tweets from people suggesting that, hey, that whole “barbed wire ripped my skin open” thing? Might want to get that looked at, you know? On account of the RISK OF TETANUS from these things?

Naturally, I reacted to this news in exactly the way you’d expect: I freaked the hell out. Then I emailed my mum.

“Wah!” I said. “Am dying! Have tetanus! Wah!”

“Not dying,” said my mum. “Just over-reacting.”

Terry agreed. But I was not placated, and after some more whining on my part, Terry finally cracked and suggested I call NHS 24, which, for the benefit of those of you who don’t live in Scotland, is a 24-hour advice line which the NHS started up a few years ago in order to stop people like me rocking up to their doctor’s surgery with a tiny scratch on their foot.

By the time NHS 24 called me back, of course, I had convinced myself that this was exactly what I was doing: making a drama out of absolutely nothing. Because, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the first time, would it? I had also convinced myself I would probably be fined for wasting NHS time or something, so when the lovely lady whose job it was to “handle” me called, I decided to try and downplay things.

“Tiny scratch!” I said, nonchalantly. “Barely visible! Nothing to see here, folks! Will move along now, thanks!”

“Nah,” said the lovely lady. “Tetanus. Get injection. Or possibly die.”

(*Note: not what she actually said.)

That was how I came to find myself, not forty minutes later, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s surgery, with no makeup, hastily dried hair, and a “tween” boy next to me blasting music out of the TINNY SPEAKERS of a mobile phone.

(Note: one day when I rule the world I will gather up all the tinny speakers and I will DESTROY them. And don’t think I won’t. I am actually thinking of adding an additional category to this blog, which I will call “Times Teenagers With Tinny Speakers Have Really Annoyed Me”, because it’s getting to the point where I can’t go anywhere – NOT ANYWHERE – without it happening. Anyway.)

Time passed, like… a really slow thing, passing. But finally I was ushered in to see the Lovely Nurse, who, seriously, was so lovely I wanted to bring her home with me. A lengthy debate then ensued between Lovely Nurse and Disembodied Voice Woman From The Next Room on the subject of what the hell to do with me. You see, they weren’t at all sure I needed to be immunised against tetanus. I’d been immunised before, but that was in 1991. Did I need to be immunised again? Lovely Nurse thought not. Disembodied Voice Woman thought maybe yes. Eventually they decided that, what the hell, I was there, and they were there, and all of the painful needles were there, so hey, let’s have an immunisin’, y’all!

“Tetanus lives in the soil, after all,” said Disembodied Voice Woman. “Better to be safe than sorry.”

So it was on. But it was to be a triple whammy! Not only was I to be immunised against tetanus, I was also to be immunised against polio and diphtheria. “Because they all come in one injection now,” said Lovely Nurse. So, basically, it’s like Diseases ‘R’ Us in my bloodstream right now. Great!

“Before I do this,” she said, rolling up my sleeve, “I have to tell you something about how the injection could possibly react with you. If, say, your throat suddenly starts to close up, and you feel a bit…” – she raised her hands to her throat and pantomimed someone choking to death, slowly and painfully – “don’t come back here, OK? Dial 999. If, on the other hand, you just feel like a horse has kicked you in the arm, that’s normal. Just take some painkillers.”

My eyes widened in horror. “I’m a hypochondriac, by the way,” I said. “I think I can feel my throat closing up now.”

But she didn’t listen, and instead she held me down and injected me. It was a bit like being in a scene from 24, in which Jack Bauer goes all crazy-eyed and says, “Tell me where the bombs are, or I will immunise you against potentially deadly diseases!” Only not really, obviously, because, like I said, that nurse? Was lovely.

I still spent the next few hours thinking my throat was closing up, and I was choking to death, though.

EDIT: Terry has just reminded me that the child at the doctor’s was, in fact, listening to his mobile phone through tinny earbuds, not tinny speakers. But they may as well have been speakers, the music was THAT LOUD.

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

I also write books
  • Oh noes! Well, better safe than sorry, I suppose. I think those boosters last something like 10 years (at least they do here), so if the barbed wire attacks again, you should be prepared.

    <abbr>Hayley´s last blog post..In Case You Didn't Realize It…</abbr>

    April 22, 2009
  • oh ambla … poor thing … i hate injections too. and doctors.

    <abbr>anu´s last blog post..note to the readers</abbr>

    April 22, 2009
  • It's good you got it. I think you're supposed to get a tetanus shot every 10 years.

    Now feel free to frolick amongst rusty nails and barbed wire to your heart's content. Or until 2019. Whichever comes first.

    <abbr>Kristabella´s last blog post..And Now, For My Next Trick, I Shall Jinx Myself!</abbr>

    April 22, 2009
  • Sophie


    I had a tetanus injection a couple of years ago…it was evil! But that's just because I hate injections and the nurse was eviiil. I started panicking and she LAUGHED. I hope your tetanus clears up 😛

    April 22, 2009
  • Steph


    Oh dear! Still, I suppose it's best to be on the safe side. If the hypochondria embarrasses you, I can freely admit to being very much the same. I went to hospital very late one night because of an excruciatingly painful abcess on my chest and was prescribed antibiotics and the docter asked if I was allergic to penicillen. I said no but to be honest I couldn't actually remember. Then I spent all night lying awake in fear that maybe I actually *was* allergic and that if I fell asleep I would die of anaphylaxis before I had a chance to wake up. I was fine. I am slightly embarrassed about it now. But not dead, which is a plus.

    April 22, 2009
  • Kerry


    Oooh, i sympathise! I cut myself recently at work and had to have a tetanus injection. The cut was pretty nasty, down to the bone on my thumb, but I swear, the tetanus hurt more. Not initially, oh no. That's how they get you. At first, I was like "tetanus injection, what tetanus injection?". And then a few hours later I thought I had been hit in the arm with a power pole. And this lovely sensation lasted until long after I'd had my stitches out.

    The joy of modern medicine.

    April 23, 2009
  • I'm a hypochondriac. And a medical student. I can't think of a worse combination.

    April 23, 2009
  • Well, in a couple years, all the kids who listen to their music obscenely loudly through their earbuds will go deaf and not be able to listen to it anymore. Take comfort in that.

    And ohh, I hate tetnus shots! So not fun. At least now you can run freely over beds of rusty nails without fear.

    <abbr>Anna´s last blog post..Pure joy in cookie form!!</abbr>

    April 25, 2009