I haven’t had a tetanus shot since I was 15. That would be roughly 17 years ago.
Two nights ago, I went out to put something in the mailbox and stepped on a rusty little thing sticking straight up out of my front porch. At first, my imagination told me that someone planted it there for me to step on and give me tetanus–to teach me a lesson about keeping up on my shots.
Then I got it together and realized it was a flattened-out staple from a UPS package; that’s just the spot where the packages get placed. Maybe the UPS guy wanted to give me a taste of my own medicine.
I am terrified of shots. I don’t take them and I don’t give them to my kids. I don’t trust the people who administer them. It feels wrong and goes against everything my gut tells me to do.
(Ok, I have actually read everything I can find about vaccinations and my decision is based on this, too, and not just paranoid delusions. Ironically, tetanus is the one shot I do believe is important and really *have* been meaning to get one…)
So when I stepped on a rusty metal object, you can imagine how my mind started racing. And questioning. And freaking out. Not just about tetanus, but the devastation about possibly having no choice but to have a stranger inject my body with a mysterious serum.
While I panicked and squeezed out as much blood as my foot would allow, Alan casually went to the computer and started shopping for crashed motorcycles. I was furious. Shouldn’t he be panicking right alongside his tetanus-stricken bride?
He calmly reminded me that he has stepped on three rusty nails in recent years, is also behind on his tetanus shots, and is still alive and kicking. Ok, I thought. I suppose it’s possible I might survive.
The next morning,we all went to Northwest Family Physicians in Crystal and saw a nurse practitioner.
Rather than empathizing with my pain (I could hardly step on my foot), I got the old “walking BAREFOOT outside, were we?”
and “WHY haven’t you kept up-to-date with your shots?”
and the kicker, “are your CHILDREN up to date with their shots?”
…as if she has never heard of a barefoot walking, behind-on-her-tetanus-shots, doesn’t-vaccinate-her-children kind of mom.
She wasn’t much help, so I went home and called a family friend who is a wonderful and nonjudgmental doctor (whom I suppose I could have called right away instead of seeing Nurse High-Horse).
Turns out, having had three tetanus shots in my life, even though I am behind, I probably still have some antibody protection–at least enough to protect from such a small wound. I was so low-risk for tetanus that I was not even a candidate for the antitoxin injection–the tetanus cure that you get if you are thrown from a four-wheeler and scraped over the ground for 30 yards.
And getting the shot now would have no effect on the potential tetanus in my foot. So I didn’t get the shot, and I didn’t take the antibiotics.
I kept the wound clean with hydrogen peroxide and treated it to a warm Epsom salt soak with essential oils of Thyme, Eucalyptus, and Lavender. I took some Arnica and rubbed the soles of my feet with Myrtle oil and went to bed.
My foot is ten times better today, with no signs of infection or tetanus.
Now if I could only muster the courage to get that tetanus shot…