Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Today we visited the Travel Clinic and got our vaccinations and medications for our Ethiopia trip.

After filling out the necessary paperwork, they led us into the office. Marshall and I apparently had the same idea... we both wanted to get it over with and have the shots first, so we raced each other to “The Chair”. I won. I was thinking that if I was going to pass out, it would be better to have the extra time to recover while Marshall got his shots.

The doctor went down the list to ask us what vaccines we had and tell us which ones we needed. We both needed Hepatitis A. From my time as a Recreational Therapist, I had the Hepatitis B series, so Marshall was the only one needing that. Neither of us remember the last time we got a tetanus shot, so that was added to the list. Apparently if you get two Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccines as a child, then you are protected forever, but if you had only one, you need to get another one. The doc said they didn’t recommend two vaccines for the M/M/R until 1989. I would have been 15 that year and would have likely had all my vaccines by then, so I deducted that I probably did not have the second vaccine. Same with Marshall (except he was 14 in 1989). We also needed Yellow Fever, Meningitis, and Polio Booster. The doc then gave us the option of getting a Typhoid injection or getting the oral medication (same price). Hmmmm..... that was a tough decision! (read with sarcasm) So, we opted for the oral Typhoid meds. Then the doctor discussed the Rabies vaccine. I had the vaccine as a child after our rabid kitty bit me (and died). My dad always joked that the cat died BECAUSE he bit me... but I digress. Marshall opted to not get the vaccine. The doctor expressed the real need to get out of the country ASAP and seek rabies treatment if Marshall is bitten by a dog in Ethiopia. Marshall and I agreed that if we encounter a rabid dog in Ethiopia, I’ll either jump in front of Marshall, or he’ll throw me at the dog to protect himself.
In case you lost count, I have 6 vaccines, Marshall has 7.

I kept Marlie’s picture on my lap to remind myself why I was doing this and braced myself for the pain. (3 shots in each arm) Then came the big surprise... I could hardly even feel them! I can just tell you that this doctor was the best shot giver ever! (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for it) He told me he was also going to pinch my arm at the same time he administered the shot. The first shot I didn’t even feel. The deal is that he pinches your arm, a few inches (or centimeters... I didn’t measure) from the injection site to distract you. Even for the intramuscular shots, I could barely even feel them. He was quick too! Before I knew it, he was done.

Marshall got his shots then and the doctor gave us some instructions for using the Malaria medication (Malarone), the medication for the Traveler’s Diarrhea and the Typhoid Oral Vaccine. Marshall got the accelerated Hep. B vaccine, so he needs to come back in a week for the second shot and back again for the third shot two weeks after that. We’ll both be due back in 6 months for the second Hep. A shot.

Then came the bill!!! Believe it or not, the total amount due for all the vaccinations and oral meds was: $1.912.50


They should keep smelling salts around just for when people get the bill! Of course none of that is covered by insurance. For that price, we should go back to Ethiopia and adopt a couple more kids while the vaccines are still current. (kidding)

Haven was so nervous (for us) about the shots. He watched carefully while we each got our shots and wanted to know after each one if they hurt. Then he proceeded to poke me in the arms several times while I was trying to talk to the doctor, to see if that would hurt. Aren’t kids great? (again, read with sarcasm)

So, we survived. My arms are sore and my credit card is sore too. I’m sure my eyes will be sore when I get the credit card bill. But... we survived!