Dear Etiquette Hell,
I am a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital. We are not usually permitted to leave our allocated patient as they are usually too ill or have too many machines that need monitoring. So everyone who wants one can have a flu shot, the occupational health nurse comes around our ward with her trolley and gives us the shot right there so we don’t have to go downstairs to her office. I always want to have it as we are often exposed to the flu, especially from overseas people who end up in hospital.
So this year I had my shot as always, signed the consent form and got my lollipop (hey there has to be some perks!). I had a quick chat with the nurse and she was on her way. Now this day I was looking after an elderly man with multiple problems who had been in hospital for about two weeks. I had been talking with his daughter and she seemed quite nice.
However, after she saw me have the flu shot, she immediately asked why I had injected my body with poisons and didn’t I know those shots were filled with heavy metals? I simply said that I felt that it protected me from a dangerous and potentially lethal disease (the latest round of swine flu here killed two patients on our unit who were the same age as me). She then proceeded to go on a rant about how all western medicines were useless and how vaccines were giving children autism and diabetes. I assume she meant the journal article published in ‘The Lancet’ which was later retracted after the author was found to have falsified his results and the study was not valid in any way.
Even if your belief is that vaccines are poisonous, you should keep your opinion to yourself. As an adult I have the right to make choices about my health and my life. I don’t know what her answer would have been if I had said that I was going to get drunk that evening, because as an adult I can do that and it has been proven to be bad for your health, whereas I believe vaccines are effective and save lives. I also wonder if she hated ‘western’ medicine so much, why did she think it was ok for her father to be in the hospital? 0902-11