We all have our weaknesses. Me, I am a drama queen when it comes to getting needles. Shots freak me out. As a kid, I once ran away from a crotchety nurse, screaming “Don’t touch me!,” to my poor mother’s embarrassment. 

You’d be proud of me today though. I set a personal record: four shots at once. I will need three more, for a total of seven — for yellow fever, typhoid, Hep A, polio, tetanus, meningitis, and influenza.

I think I’m cured of my self-proclaimed needlephobia. Here’s the 5-step program:

  1. I thought about the people in Africa who would be delighted to have access to these vaccinations — they’re painful, but a privilege.
  2. I watched Grey’s Anatomy last night, and seeing that chest spliced open and that artery burst (wasn’t Seth Green a terrific guest star?) made me realize I’d take a shot any day over those blood rushes.
  3. My travel buddy Genevieve (she’s filming a documentary about this trip) let me squeeze her hand…I offered to return the favor but she didn’t even flinch!
  4. The nurse said to take a deep breath and pretend I was blowing out my birthday candles, which is when she jabbed me — it totally cushioned the pain!
  5. Ask for bright, cheerful kiddie bandages, as Genevieve and I did, instead of the blah nude-colored ones. If anyone asks us why we have a red Crayola crayon on our arms, at least we have an interesting answer! ouch

My friend Yukela, who traveled to Africa, said you feel “radioactive” after getting all these shots at once. So far, I’ve just got sore arms…and feeling a little Wonder Woman-esque with this new immunity to some nasty diseases. 

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