Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Approximately 10% of the population has a needle phobia, or an intense fear of needles and sharp objects. I, unfortunately, am one of those 10%. Uhm, self-diagnosed that is.

For the faint hearted read no farther! Well, it's not really going to get very intense. I just like to say things for dramatic effect... Moving on! 

There are 2 things about traveling that I dislike very much. One, is packing. No matter how much you prepare you either A) always forget something, or B) end up not having enough room.  The second thing? Needles. As mentioned previously, I am terrified of needles! None of this making sense? 

Well, after you've made the decision on where you're going to travel to, one of the first things you should do is go to your local Travel Clinic. They will tell you, depending on where you go, what medicine you need, what diseases to look out for... and what SHOTS to get. 

Today was that dreadful day. 

Luis and I went to our Travel Clinic where they recommended we take malaria pills called Chemoprophylaxis, an antibiotic for stomach or skin viruses, and 3 shots. Guatemala is the country where we need to watch out for malaria, Chile's elevation is too high for mosquitoes (how amazing is that?!). They then told us that we should get the flu shot because we'll be on planes so often, a typhoid fever shot, AND a Hepatitis A shot. Oh boy. 

Now I know I probably don't have a real needle phobia but it's pretty darn close.. My heart races, body tenses, tears flow, the works. I try to avoid needles as much as I can help it. Luis had heard of my fear but had never seen me get a shot until today. I think I cried more in tears than the actual amount of liquid that went into my body from the injections!  Thankfully guys, he still loves me even after seeing me go through this ordeal! 

The nurse was super nice and treated me like I was a terrified 5 year old, probably since I was acting like a terrified 5 year old. She did mention, however, that the majority of people who come in and are afraid of shots are actually men! She said she has had grown men sobbing like infants when they had to get their injections. I felt a little bit better about myself after hearing that. So while injecting me with the various vaccines she asked me what we were going to do while in Guatemala. I think I got as far as "We're... going to-to go... (tears, clenching fists).. see the-the-the pyramids (deep breathe, a few more tears)..." And at that point I stopped trying to have cordial conversation. But after all the torture I received, I got a Spongebob and Sleeping Beauty band-aid for my bravery! 

I know most people don't really care about shots, as evidenced by my husband who was chatting and didn't even realize the nurse had given him his! Oh to be like that (wistful sigh)! But for those who are more like me? Despite the pain and fear you may go through it is FAR more worth it to get these shots than get the diseases or viruses that are prevalent in other countries. Traveling can be so much fun and exciting, you don't want your trip ruined or cut short because you got sick and refused to get the vaccinations! If I can do it than anyone can! At least that was the pep talk I gave myself to make it through ;)...

 Alright, off my soapbox and back to more relevant information. Make sure all the rest of your shots, such as tetanus, are up to date. The Travel Clinic will do it for you but if you go to your primary doctor its cheaper. Once you've gone through this process they will give you a yellow booklet for all your troubles. You should keep that with your passport as some countries won't let you in until you show that you've had the proper vaccinations. 

Now the fun stuff comes! Packing lists, selling as much of our things as possible to have more money, 'NOT going out to eat just because I don't want to cook' to save even more money, making sure we have enough luggage, talking with Luis's family in Guatemala, labeling everything in our home to Spanish so I won't feel SO isolated while in a foreign country... oh boy, did I say fun stuff? I think the real fun stuff comes later!

Okay, enough for now. I'm going to go nurse my 'wounds' and milk them for all they're worth! Maybe Luis will make dinner :).