Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Temporary Pain

The news has been filled with dire warnings and stories about the bird flu. MSNBC has even launched a separate area of their health section on it. This time of year, people also begin to think about getting a flu shot to prevent the regular flu. About ten years ago, I used to downplay this process and avoid the shots.  Currently I don’t work in an office building and I have little contact with the general public—except at conferences and occasional meetings.  It was ten years ago, I didn’t take the flu shot and was sick for over a week with the flu (killing all sorts of deadlines on different projects). Since that time, I’ve managed to get a flu shot every year. Last year, I was late getting it because of the national vaccine shortage but I still received my shot.

Because in about a week and a half I’m headed to the Glorieta Christian Writer’s conference then next month a trip to New York City (and who knows what else),  I was eager to get my flu shot and have the protection. For me, I’ve often gotten sick during one of these trips because I work long hours, don’t get much exercise and my regular schedule is generally off kilter. I called my family doctor and he would not have the flu vaccine until November 4th—or too late from my view. I spotted a sign at my local supermarket pharmacy. It required me to fill out a form, fax it to my doctor for his signature then return to the pharmacy for my flu shot. Now admittedly it was a pain to jump through those extra hoops of paperwork.

Several years ago when I worked inside a publishing house, the company arranged for the entire staff to receive their flu shots at work. You talk about an easy appointment! You simply walked down the hall, took your shot and returned to your desk to continue working. I had to push a bit harder this year to pull off my flu shot but I handled it on Friday. Yes, I will use caution throughout the winter such as frequently washing my hands, etc. but I feel a bit more protected as we enter the flu season. While such a discussion may seem a bit off for my musings about the writing life, it’s not.  As a writer, you need to think about these regular precautions—so your schedule doesn’t get knocked with the flu. Since I’ve been regularly exercising and attempting to care for myself, I have less down time from illness and can generally b e a more productive writer and editor. It’s something to think about for your own writing life.

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