Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weak in the knees

"Est-ce que tu vas faire la piqure cet après-midi?" my co-worker asked me casually as I walked by her after saying goodbye to the last of my kids yesterday. Sometimes after a long day I really wish my colleagues would speak English.

"What shot?" I inquired, and she explained that across the street they were giving free flu shots. Having suffered through H1N1 a year and a half ago as well as myriad more minor illnesses, I decided to go for it, and headed across the street in the drizzle. Five minutes later, my first ever flu shot was all over.

Toward the end of book club a few hours later, I started to cough. The coughing increased throughout the night, and I started sucking cough drops in order to sleep. After each one melted, I'd start to cough again, wake up, and pop another one in. It wasn't until midway through the night that I finally connected my coughing with the flu shot.

The coughing subsided a bit by morning, and I went to school feeling relatively normal. I did my morning preparations before my kids arrived, and when the bell rang they all filtered in as usual and sat in their spots on the rug. Suddenly, as I started taking attendance, my head began to feel light. I kept going, but my mind was racing: what should I do? Should I call the office? Call another teacher? Wait until it got worse? But what if by the time it got worse I wasn't capable of making a phone call, or was actually passed out? It was a very bizarre moment.

Midway through the attendance, I realized two things. One, I needed to stop taking attendance and breathe deeply. I told my kids to talk to each other in whispers. I put my head down while they chatted quietly with their neighbors.

But I also realized that, if I were to actually pass out while taking the attendance in front of my kids, nothing terrible would happen. They would be scared, and they'd probably go find an adult to help them. But it would be fine. These kids are supremely responsible.

Still, I will think twice next time about getting the flu shot. After all, I might not be so lucky with my kids next year! And I can only shudder to think what would have happened two years ago if I had passed out in my classroom.

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