The picture above doesn’t really have anything to do with this post other than the name that I gave it, “Green Around the Gills.” It is for the private school auction, and I hope that they bid high for this fun piece. Perhaps green around the gills is an appropriate name. It reminds me of my recent reaction to the flu shot. I am allergic to the eggs that the vaccine is grown in. Not so allergic that I cannot eat eggs or things made with eggs, but enough so that my allergist prefers me to get my flu shots in his office. His nurses are trained to inject the serum under the skin of my forearm. They skillfully create a small bubble of fluid like a small blister which gradually releases the serum into my bloodstream. Try as they might I always have a reaction to it with the dime shaped blister growing to cover my entire forearm and spread down the sides. It gets hot and red and lasts for more than a week. Except this year. I am not sure what happened, but the blister disappeared in just a couple of hours. My arm never swelled or turned red. I was thinking that the nurse had done a tremendous job in administering the shot until later that day when I started feeling cruddy. I don’t know if the two factors were related, but it was as though I had a touch of the flu. My body ached, and I felt feverish though I didn’t have a temperature. My stomach was queasy, and my head hurt. I was so tired I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. Youngest son’s girlfriend plans to use my experience in a position paper she is writing for English class. She is arguing that health care providers should not be required to take the H1N1 vaccine. She nodded wisely when she heard of my symptoms. The problem is that the H1N1 flu is supposed to be targeting young adults just like youngest son and his girlfriend so I regretted complaining to them about how bad I felt from the regular flu vaccine. Everyone at work is wound up about H1N1 and we are writing “Pandemic Plans” for our departments. I just took the language from our disaster plan and modified it to suit. Some things are similar, advance communication, staffing and purchasing of supplies. As a historian, I should take it more seriously. After all, my grandmother’s fiancé died in the 1918 flu epidemic. If not for that episode, I might not be here. She waited for several years before meeting my grandfather, marrying him and starting a family. No matter how much we try to prepare and prevent disaster, they will still come. It’s all about knowing that our Shepherd walks beside us through every moment of the future.