The Winter Flu-Jab

Wednesday 26th October

For years I never once considered having the winter flu-jab. I was young and pretty fit, and took ‘colds’ in my stride.  Occasionally I would be laid quite low though, with a dry hacking cough that would take weeks to shake off, but again I just put up with it; it was a cold, maybe flu – who knows, I never consulted a doctor.  I had been brought up to accept a winter cold as normal, and had rarely been granted a day off school; ‘soldier on’ was our motto, and soldier on I continued to march – as I say, I just put up with it, snuffling and suffering along the way.

Then when I got into my new circle of friends, ladies of some leisure for the most part, they talked to me of the winter flu-jab and they were amazed I had never considered it.  I suppose it had just never been on my radar, and what with having to make an appointment in advance with ones’ doctor it always seemed too much trouble.  But now I allowed myself to become persuaded to have the flu-jab after all.  And instantly regretted it!  My arm ached for days – it really felt like a lead weight pressing down on it, and I felt so under the weather, not exactly a cold, but those feelings of dread and foreboding that so often foretell the onset of a cold.  The jab is after all a mild form of flu, given to you in order to train your antibodies to fight the real thing when it comes along, but it is the learning to fight this little blighter that makes you feel so down.

Anyway I persevered with it, and every year I got my flu-jab, secretly doubting its’ efficiency – because I still got colds, a runny nose and sore throat, those two companions that always seem to herald in winter, admittedly never descending to their previous awfulness, but depressing all the same; I had had the flu jab, and I still got a cold, it didn’t seem fair somehow.

When Edward was no longer with me I stopped having the flu-jab; I just couldn’t be bothered to make the appointment, and even though we had the mass panic headlines of bird and swine and I don’t know what flu, I have been fine – no, really – the usual winter cold I always got, flu-jab or no flu-jab.

And now I seem to see the flu-jab advertised everywhere, and walk-in too, no appointment necessary these days, just hand over a tenner and it’s yours. And I am aware that I am torn between having it again or not, after all it will only cost me ten pounds and a sore arm, but by not having it will I really lay myself open to getting the ‘flu’, which despite many many colds, I am sure I have never actually had. So what to do, flu-jab, or no flu-jab? No, I think I will hold out – at least until next autumn.