When a bark is worse than a bite

I got my yellow fever vaccination this afternoon after a bit of pre-shot trepidation. By “a bit,” I mean I endured friends regaling me with stories of feeling sore for days after getting their immunizations, my concerned boss telling me I could take the day off tomorrow if I was too weak to come in to work, and a coworker’s innocent question prompting a frantic Google search for “where is the yellow fever vaccination injected, in the arm or butt?” (Folks, up until this morning I had assumed the only answer was “arm.” Fifteen seconds later I discovered just how wrong I was in my assumption.)

Fast-forward a few hours and it is over in the blink of an eye. In fact, I learn that sitting in the waiting room watching other people come and go through those mysterious doors is more intimidating than the eventual shot itself. Who are all of these people, and why do they need so many shots?? Once it’s over, I even feel hale and healthy enough to voluntarily clamber up to the flu clinic, where I learn that flu boosters are free for Kaiser members. I’m a Kaiser member! Score. Why yes, Allison Janney, I am trying to live well and thrive.

This should be my last hurdle to leap before I am cleared to receive an airline ticket to Lusaka, the ticket which will drive home that sinking feeling of imminence with more certainty than any of the past two years’ preparations. In two months, I’ll be moving to Zambia where I will spend 2 and 1/4 years in an environment completely different from anything I’ve ever known. 2 and 1/4 years without ready access to running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, or internet. 27 months farther in both distance and culture than anything I’ve ever before called home.

Now I’m starting to feel a bit woozy. Maybe it’s the vaccination kicking in.