Being a guy these days is nothing to sneeze at, especially since we are often needled about what wimps we are. This point was made recently by a nurse who tickled my funny bone while giving me a flu shot.
“Men really are babies,” said Cristina Donnelly, who has been a registered nurse for 20 years, during which time she has seen guys scream, cry and even faint at the sight of a needle.
“I promise not to do any of those things,” I said as I rolled up my sleeve. “I can withstand a lot of pain, as long as it’s somebody else’s.”
“You’re very brave,” said Cristina. “I can’t say that about most guys. The worst are the ones who are all tatted up. I’ve said to them, ‘Somebody used a needle to give you these tattoos. It must have taken a lot longer and hurt a lot more than a flu shot.’ I think the reason they don’t mind getting tattoos is that they’re drunk.”
“Does this mean I should have done shots before getting a shot?” I asked.
“No,” Cristina answered. “But you might want to consider it if you get a tattoo.”
“Never,” I said. “With my luck, there’d be a typo.”
“I’m also a baby delivery nurse,” said Cristina. “You wouldn’t believe the guys whose wives are giving birth. One time a cop almost passed out while his wife was in labor. We had to tell her to stop pushing while we gave him oxygen. It took us five minutes to resuscitate him.”
“When I had my first kidney stone, a nurse told me it’s the male equivalent of childbirth,” I said. “I told her that at least I wouldn’t have to put the stone through college.”
“I bet you needed a shot to ease the pain,” Cristina said.
“I sure did,” I replied. “And I didn’t faint.”
Cristina’s husband, Pearse, wouldn’t have fainted, either.
“He’s a paramedic,” she noted. “He’s a wimp at home, but on the job, he’s amazing.”
Cristina, 46, said older daughter Olivia, 16, wants to be a nurse. Her younger daughter Madison, 14, wants to be a psychologist.
“She can analyze guys who are afraid of shots,” I said.
“She’d make a fortune,” replied Cristina, who wanted to be in theater.
“As an actress?” I wondered. “You’d have to break a leg and you’d need a nurse to give you a shot.”
“No,” Cristina. “I was a production assistant intern for an off-Broadway show called Four Dogs and a Bone. I met Debra Messing before she became famous. She couldn’t have been nicer. Then I decided I wanted to be a nurse, so I went back to school. After I graduated, I worked at New York Presbyterian and saw celebrities like David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld.”
“Were they wimps?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Cristina said. “I didn’t give them shots. But like them, I’m a comedian on the job, although I’m funnier in Spanish.”
“What’s the secret of giving a flu shot?” I inquired.
“Distraction,” Cristina said. “And humor. I talk to people to put them at ease. Before they know it, I’ve given them the shot.”
“I’m ready for mine,” I said.
“Too late,” Cristina said with a smile. “I’ve already given it to you.”
“It didn’t hurt,” I said.
“And you didn’t scream, cry or faint,” Cristina said. “I’m proud of you.”
“When it comes to being a good nurse,” I told her, “you’re a real shot in the arm.”