Day 19: the yellow fever saga

Today I’m wearing:

  • The Dress;
  • a stripy pencil skirt from eBay that I only wear when near needles.
My friend Lindy says I’m the most dramatic person she knows. I don’t think this is strictly true; things just have a habit of happening to me. Take the vaccines for my African adventure: most people would arrange their injections, have what they need and be done. Not me, oh no.
My first injection appointment was 3 weeks ago, and I thought it’d gone fine until I reacted badly to the typhoid and spent a day in bed. It’s sort of a little bit my fault because I knew I was coming down with a cold, but immunocompromised, whatever. Anyway, I thought I was done until I tried to get hold of my yellow fever certificate from my old GP. You see, the nurse told me I’d had yellow fever, so I didn’t need it again. This was completely fine by me. However I needed proof that I’d had the vaccine, for which I had to go back to where I’d had the jab done.
It was when the GP half-shouted “Miss Rushby, you cannot have had the vaccine because we legally cannot inject people with it!” that I realised I probably did need it.
There was a tiny weeny titchy problem there. Yellow fever takes 10 days to activate in your system. It is considered valid from that 10 day point. To get into South Africa from Ghana, I need to be fully vaccinated against yellow fever for my whole stay in West Africa. I leave for Ghana in about 14 days.
“Totally fine,” I thought, “I am a Master of Excel and Powerpoint, I can definitely organise a vaccination.”
I went private, and paid £20 (£20!) for a phonecall to tell me I needed the yellow fever vaccine. I listened as the nurse droned “I am legally obliged to tell you that there is a 1 in 200,000 chance you will die of multi-organ failure as a result of having this injection.”
“Good odds”, I thought, before realising that I was 70 times more likely to die from this vaccine that I was to win the lottery.
The appointment was booked. I was in time, I had the money, all was going well. Until Boots rang me up.
“I’m sorry, Miss Rushby, but we’re not actually trained to give you the jab. Our yellow fever refresher training is next week. Can we reschedule you for then?”
“No!”, I squeaked, “I’mgoingonholidayandtheywon’tletmeintoSouthAfricaIneedthejabNOW!”
Visions of a forlorn figure in a Tambo International detention cell danced before my eyes.
I became the customer all customer service assistants dread. I huffed and I puffed and I made them ring the other pharmacist at home to see if there was any way, any way at all she could inject me with a live yellow fever virus and save my holiday. She could.
The pharmacist was lovely. “Ooo Ghana,” she sang, “Lovely! Lots of people going there; you’re my fourth yellow fever of the day. Nearly out of the vaccine hahaha!”
“If she runs out of the vaccine now, I cannot be held responsible for my actions”, I thought, rigid grin plastered on my face.
“Ooops!” she trilled as a vial of virus shot across the room and into an empty ice cream tub. “Air bubble!”
“This woman is a professional”, I thought, “She is possibly going to save your life. Or not, if I die of multi-organ failure. We just lost a vaccine. Dear god, please don’t let her charge me double.”
Yellow fever vaccines cost £58.
And then it was all over! All for this piece of paper:
I did have to go to M&S after for some Veggie Percy Pigs; if people inject live viruses into my sub-cutaneous arm fat, I’m pretty sure I need to keep my blood sugar up*.
You know, I’ve had that many vaccines that you could stick me in the middle of a bio-war and I’d come out singing a happy song. I’ve still got to pick up my malaria meds, but I am confident that everything will be ok. Nothing more can go wrong.
Now Dress. I realised today that I only wear this skirt when someone is going to stick a needle in me.
I dunno, maybe it’s the chevrons? The last time I wore this skirt, I tried to give blood. I fainted so much that they asked me not to come back for 5 years. That too is fine by me.
I did try some Quite Exciting trousers on this morning but my stylist M told me that they were a weekend trouser and not work appropriate. She tends to be right about most things, so I changed.
Did you read Musu’s story from yesterday? Today I’ve got Fanta’s story for you. She’s truly remarkable, and one of many helped by Womankind and their partners. or ODOM50 £2 to 70070. We’ve done so well so far and raised just over £350. Only £150 to go (and 12 days but who’s counting?)
One more picture of me kicking away my slipper:
I’ve got two things to ask of you (apart from for money!).
  1. This weekend, I’m sans famille. Would anyone like to go for breakfast/to the cinema/take my picture?
  2. I’ve been let down at the last minute, and have a spare Franz Ferdinand ticket for their gig next week. Any takers?
*Don’t quote me. Biology never was my strong point.

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