Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Anybody wanna get Vaccinated?

My sister in law is visiting from England - just when Vijay is due to travel there.

'Good timing.' she remarked. 'Have you got your flu vaccinations?' Being a doctor, that's her area of interest.

'Oh yes,' said Vijay. 'Only...perhaps not quite the right one.'

'What do you mean?' she said.

I jumped in to explain. 'Yesterday.' I shot a withering look at Vijay. 'Vijay decided to go to some Jeewan Clinic. I was with him, and we were supposed to go to Artemis but he said that was closer, so we might as well go there.'

'Okayyy' said the sister-in-law.

'That wasn't the problem, though.' I continued 'The problem was that when we landed there, there were already four patients before us and the doctor had still not landed up. No problem, Vijay said...we already know we want the Vaxigrip vaccination, that's what our Jijaji (also a doctor) had recommended. So why should we wait for a doctor, he asked. Can't some pappu over here actually just administer the vaccine?

No sir, they told him politely at the reception. We have to get a consultation with the doctor first and then he will only tell...

What nonsense, said Vijay. This is just a way to make money. I don't need a consultation. I just need the Vaxigrip. Bring on the Pappu.

He was so convincing, I told the bemused sister-in-law, that they finally agreed to let Pappu bring out the vaccination. I watched as Vijay rolled up his sleeve and got the vaccination. Just a quick jab in the shoulder.
He then called out to me as I sat at the reception area 'hey, why don't you also get the Flu vaccination? It'll help you also.'

Without thinking too much about it, I said 'okay.' I'm always up for a little extra cover, if you know what I mean. He beckoned to me, clearly afraid that either I or Pappu would change our minds, and then before I knew it, I too was being jabbed in the shoulder.

'You're joking' gasped the Sister-in-law. 'You randomly got the vaccination too?'

Indeed I had. I was still rubbing my shoulder when Vijay said to the person at billing 'We'll take another vaccine, so that makes three of them' He confided in me 'Jiyaji was saying he's also looking for this vaccine for Munmun ( his son). It's nowhere to be found in Delhi. Might as well pick it up for him.'

I looked at the vaccine in its box and read 'Influ...'...Wait a minute. This is supposed to be Vaxigrip, right?'

'Oh' said Vijay carelessly 'Pappu over there said they don't have Vaxigrip, but this is the same thing.'

He forked over the money, and only when we were in the car did he call Jiyaji to inform him proudly about what we had done.
'What?' he said into the phone and I knew we had a problem. 'Oh. But I've already bought an extra one for you...' I waited while he finished listening to Jiyaji and then asked 'So can I get the Vaxigrip now? No?...'

Yes, I told the sister-in-law, who by now was in the throes of laughter as if this was the funniest thing she had ever heard. Indeed we had got the wrong vaccine. Pappu had misled us with his supposed knowledge of the world of medicine. Apparently this one was for the Swine Flu and didn't have the same wide coverage as the one we were supposed to get.

That wasn't the worst part, I told her. Jiyaji told Vijay categorically that he did not want this particular vaccine for Munmun, and asked him to return it. Vijay didn't feel like turning around and going back though, and so he spent the rest of the car ride trying to convince our Driver, Kamal that he should get vaccinated with this imposter-vaccine that we had purchased.

'Kamal, tumne Swine Flu suna hai?'

'Haan, sir...aaj kal kaafi chal raha hai.'

'Exactly!' he looked triumphantly at me 'That's why we should get Kamal this vaccination. At least he won't get swine flu. It'll make sure he doesn't have to take unnecessary sick leave...'

'You're ridiculous.' I burst out and didn't talk to him all the way home.

The Sister-in-law paused with the laughing long enough to say that if we had indeed gone ahead and bought the vaccine, she might as well administer it to our poor hapless driver -she is herself a doctor, after all. 'Show me the vaccine?'

I went over to my bookshelf and picked it up to bring it to her.

'What?' She was shocked. 'You kept it at ambient temperature? I'm sure it's to be refrigerated...these things usually are...'

'Is it?' Vijay was surprised 'But I'm sure they didn't tell us anything of the sort.And I'm pretty sure ours were also at ambient temperature...they didn't take it out of the fridge or anything...'

She looked at the box and in about two seconds, found the clear bold instructions that read 'Keep stored under refrigeration only.'

'This' she informed us, the laughter returning 'Is now deactivated. I can't say about the ones they give you, but I can tell you for sure...there is no point in jabbing Kamal with this, it will not protect him at all.'

'But' I protested wildly, in a final attempt to make use of our purchase 'We should still do it, because it will psychologically impact him...the Placebo effect.'

Sister-in-law clutched her sides with laughter and said 'I've never heard of people getting vaccinated like this...Please,' she begged me 'you must blog about this.'

Fine, I told her sulkily. Fine. I will.



  1. Totally nuts is all that I can say!!!!!!

  2. Hahaha! The driver must be thanking ur sis in law in his heart for saving him the shot!

  3. Yashodhara, I had a good laugh reading your post. Kamal was saved....:-)

  4. Hahahahah!! Swine flu!! LOL!! Atleast you got it for SOME kind of flu... if its any consolation! :P

  5. Oh no! Shocked!!! Hope it didn't have any side effects!!! But on a lighter note- :D

  6. Is Munmun his real name? Cause in my recent post on my blog, I very bravely (cause it still seem embarrassing to me) stated that I call my daughter that and it's the uniquest cutest thing I came up with. Duh!

    About the vaccine, I wouldn't do that! :D

  7. LOL, placebo effect, good one!
    I think it is good that the hospital asked you guys to go for a consultation before administering drugs(at least wordly). It actually saves a lot of trouble, believe me!
    The word swine flu reminded me of an incident back in 2009 when the term swine flu came into Indian purview, just jotted down something!

  8. LOL! your driver must be thanking his stars now :-)

  9. The wrong vaccine and accidental deactivation was funny enough but the Placebo Effect spin took the cake. Well argued Y! Considering that it was a 'pappu' that dispensed the medical advice, it's still understandable (though i'm glad it wasn't anything more miecally critical like insulin or something).

    What would you say though about a doc who was almost as clueless? One wednesday a few weeks ago my husband and I woke up ill and itchy. Strongly supecting that we had contracted Chicken Pox from my MIL who had Shingles at the time, we presented our spotted, miserable selves at the emergency walk-in clinic (as our regular docs offices weren't open yet). The biker chic doc on call eventually bounced into the examining room in thigh high leather lace-up boots, a black miniskirt (with black tights), and a wild blond mane haloing her crazily grinning face. While she cheerfully examined our blisters/spots, we brought her up to speed on the Shingles-at-home and no-pox-as-kids situations and asked her if she thought we had Chicken Pox.
    Her chirpy response? "Cool! I did'nt know people still GOT chicken pox? Let me go google what the blisters look like.". We stared at each other in disbelief (and tried not to scratch) while she did the needful. As we mournfully trooped past her on our way out to go consult a REAL doctor (after this one sagely advised us to just 'ride it out folks!') she actually CLAPPED HER HANDS IN GLEE and squealed "Yay! I've seen Chicken Pox now!". I think I might have muttered 'I'm so happy for you' but the sarcasm was lost on her.

    BTW, did V return for the REAL vaccine? Did you see the 'pappu' again?

  10. Gosh! We people who profess ourselves to be so very sophisticated and advanced facilitated with up to the minute crumb of knowledge, do sometimes make mistakes like these. I think we need to recover from this doctor phobia which often urges us to administer medicines on ourselves...the very thought of seeing the doc for minor cold symptoms sounds irrational at first and then having experimented on our own for a couple of days we are sitting face to face with the doc getting rebuked for things gone deteriorated. Who says we are grown ups? We are simply babyish many a times; no?
    Well there lie the grain of salt and pepper to be sprinkled over the yummy dish called life...

  11. Hahhahha....hehehhe...I am still rolling in laughter...
    And on a serious note, I hope you both are fine after that vaccination..
    I have been a silent admirer of your blog.. But this post was too much funny and hilarious that I had to comment on it :)
    Stay healthy and Best Wishes Always

  12. U had a vaccination just like that?? I cannot stop laughing!!!
    You guys are plain crazy!

  13. I've been reading your blog since the past 3 years and the book too...but this one takes the cake...Kamal must have had some good karmas left to get out of this one... :)

  14. I love the Placebo Effect spin too. Glad it ended well. Especially because it led to this write-up.

    Your experience reminded me of our recent head-scratching encounter with medical advice: a doc who had never seen Chicken Pox and had to google it to confirm that what my husband I had was it. Worse still, she clapped her hands in glee that she had NOW seen it. Yeesh! (details on my blog)

  15. Hahaha....!! This was real funny!!

    So, finally the 'vaccine' got wasted or, in other words!!

    Hahaha.... Wonderful!

  16. Came back to your blog after a long time and couldn't stop laughing..like every other time I have been here..u have such a unique way of writing..love it:) have to read your book soon.

  17. I always get a laugh when I am here reading your blog..love the way you write..have to read your book now..sometime soon.

  18. Came back to your blog after a long time and couldn't stop laughing..like every other time I have been here..u have such a unique way of writing..love it:) have to read your book soon.


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