Wednesday, November 28, 2012
"Excuse me," she says to get the pharmacist's attention.
He turns from measuring capsules into a bottle and gives her a smile. "How can I help you?"
"I guess I want a flu shot."
Raised eyebrow. "You don't know?"
Smiling ruefully, she shakes her head. "I'm not sure. I really don't do well with shots," she gulps audibly, "or needles."
The pharmacist comes to the counter, and after reassuring her that many people feel the same way, he goes over the particulars involved in having the shot. Fearful, stomach roiling, she takes a deep breath and decides to do it. After paying and filling out the form, she follows the pharmacist to a small room behind the counter.
"Take a seat," he says softly, "and don't worry, I haven't lost a patient yet."
She tries to smile, appreciating his attempts to allay her fears, though her heart has kicked into overdrive at the sight of the needle in his hand. "Seriously," she reiterates, "I truly have a problem with shots. When I was a kid they practically had to knock me out to even get near me, and once when I was in high school and had to get a tetanus shot, the nurse left me alone in the exam room. I snuck out through a back door, and tried to leave the clinic." She grins slightly. "I would have made it too, if the nurse hadn't been so quick."
He laughs, then calmly tells her to pull up her sleeve. When he swabs a spot on her shoulder with a cold alcohol wipe, the odor fills her nose, her head begins a loud buzzing like a hive of bees and oddly, the floor seems to be rushing toward her. Dimly she's aware the pharmacist has his hand on the back of her neck and is gently pressing her head onto her knees. "Just take some deep breaths, everything's fine, just breathe," he murmurs from the bottom of a well.
A few moments later, embarrassed, she slowly sits up. "I am so sorry. What a baby!" She pulls her sleeve down and smiles sheepishly at the man. "Maybe I can come back in a few days?"
The pharmacist smiles. "What for?" he asks.
Confused, she says, "To try again?"
Still smiling, he helps her into her coat, then turns to gather up the used paraphernalia. "I gave you the shot before you...ah, got lightheaded."
Staring at him in disbelief. "What?" At his nod, she laughs, then holds out her hand. "I didn't even feel it!" she says in amazement as they shake hands. "Thank you so much. You're my hero."
"Sometimes the anticipation is far worse than the actual event." He pats her on the shoulder. "You did fine." Smiling, he says, "See you next year."
Judging by the new bounce in her step, the broad smile on her face as she walked away...he just might.