Posted by: fireweaver | December 5, 2006

war on terror

at my job, we do a lot of infectious disease work, the sort of stuff that makes my mom freak out real good. in the course of a conversation with my boss last week, it became apparent that i was not yet vaccinated for smallpox. “wow,” she says, “we have to get that taken care of for you as soon as possible.”

*poof*, after prelim testing that very same day (they gotta make sure that you’re baby & HIV free…no matter that i’m quite well aware of where both babies and HIV come from and could therefore assure them i have neither), i was in today to get my shot. well, actually 6ish shots. they use a bifurcated needle (one that’s split into a 2-pronged fork) and just dip it into a little pot of pox and poke you in the arm with it a few times. “i’m going to jab you with this a little lower on your shoulder,” he says, “so that the lymph node involvement will just be in your armpit and not bridging across your arm.” i feel so cuddly about that.

this vaccine has a possible plethora of way-fun side effects, like encephalitis or “permanent neurological sequellae”, including a super-extra-happy “black box warning” (the strongest level of caution they’ll slap on fed-approved drugs or vaccines) about the incidence of heart damage. ugh. incidence of side effects is of course quite low, and dead of the pox most definitely not a desired outcome, so this is a good idea, but somebody call me in 3 days to make sure i’m not needing a straitjacket.

Kris called to check in with me today, asked how i was doing, offered to call this evening to check up on me again. naw, i said, i’m out with Di & Melissa at iron bridge for dinner reservations we made about a month ago. she says, “you sure you’re up for going out tonight?” “of course. they’re giving me smallpox today, i think i’ll need a drink by then.”



  1. I don’t think anyone our age was vaccinated for smallpox.

  2. Isn’t that one, where it left a circle mark on the shoulder/thigh after they did it?

    Also, stupid question, was smallpox the black plague?

  3. nope, nobody our age was vaccinated for smallpox. they stopped routinely vaccinating everyone in the early 70s, so i’ve never had it (and neither have either of you guys). i’m getting vaccinated due to the bugs we work with at my job.

    smallpox vaccine is the one that leaves the circular scar on your shoulder.

    poxes are viruses (there’s several of them, like monkeypox and mousepox and orf, which is a sheep pox). the black plague is a bacteria, yersinia pestis.

  4. the tb vaccine leaves a circular scar after you get that one too (and of course, it’s completely useless). I know that if I’ve seen the scar on their shoulder/arm, I have to send that particular staff member for TB xrays since their sorry butts’ll come up positive with the tb skin test.

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