A while back, I applied to go on a 10 day mission trip to a children's home (www.musana.org) in Iganga, Uganda. My role there would be to teach teachers. A wonderful mother of one of my former students let me know about this trip and I am so glad she did. After applying there was the waiting game, an interview, then a letter saying I was selected! I'M GOING TO UGANDA! The excitement quickly diminished though when I learned I was going to have to get a shot. Usually if a shot is recommended for a country I politely decline it as I have a HUGE fear of needles. And I really dislike putting chemicals in my body. This was a different situation though as the yellow fever shot for Uganda is not recommended but required. Ugh!
So, I spent a month having night terrors and panic attacks over this thing. My esthetician recommended a plant to help rid me of an irrational fear and my masseuse gave me another herb to help with trauma. To distract myself, I tried to find alternative ways of getting the vaccination. I asked my dentist if he could do it while I was under gas but he could not. I asked an oral surgeon and had a brief moment of excitement when he said that legally he could if someone would prescribe the vaccinations. Unfortunately no one would and you HAD to go to a travel clinic to get it. So my wonderful dentist, oral surgeon, and a local doctor all worked together to try to come up with the best plan to help me get through this and they settled on Valium. I called around to different travel clinics but would get so nervous even talking to them that I would have to abruptly say goodbye and hang up. Thankfully Shawn called and made the appointment for me, filled out my paper work, and took the day off to bring me. Also, his dad flew from Thailand to do the Bolder BOULDER with us and said that he would come with me to help as well.
The night before the shots I took a Valium and still had horrible night terrors. The day of I took a Valium, got in the car, and drove to the clinic. Halfway there I realized there was NO way I could go through with it so in went another Valium. Once at the clinic (which was really more like a nice sitting area with around the world artifacts and not like a doctors office at all) I was able to talk to the nurse and decline all shots except yellow fever and my second Hep A (so I would NEVER have to get that again!)
She set me in a reclining chair with my legs up in the air, covered me with a blanket and let me have all of the stuffed animals in the room to protect me. Then the waiting game began. Every time she would come over I would cry and say I wasn't ready. Unfortunately, with irrational fears, your anxiety is so high that things that are supposed to calm you down just don't work. She (Joan) was so nice, patient, and understating though and even though by the end of it everyone in the room was crying, I made it through (and once it was over I slpet for 22 hours!) The good news is that the vaccination is good for 10 years so my goal is to now to go every country with yellow fever over the next decade!