After accepting an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps, future volunteers are immediately bombarded with emails and forms to fill out. There’s a form for every medical exam imaginable, and usually you have somewhere between 60-90 days to complete it all! A normal person might start to feel overwhelmed but after months of waiting for an invitation a FPCV gladly accepts the laundry list of poking a prodding. After all, it means you are one step closer to getting to your host country!
As a person with a phobia of needles I’ve decided to change my perspective, so here are 5 reasons why getting shots in preparation for Peace Corps service is more fun than getting regular shots!
1. During every appointment the doctor routinely asks you where you’re going! Unlike your friends and family they haven’t heard “how excited you are to move to Peru for two years” a million times, so they reply in an awestruck manner and make you get excited all over again.
2. FPCV’s get free dental work if you have a participating ICD Fellow in your area. Who doesn’t want to get poked a hundred times during the bleeding point test for free?!
3. You make friends with every doctor and office manager you come in contact with when you hand them a stack of paperwork to fill out. Usually they laugh and say, “Oh of course there’s paperwork, it is the government after all!”
4. When you’re driving all over the city looking for a yellow fever vaccine during a national shortage, Walgreens will gladly save you a dose when you tell them how urgent it is that you get this done. You’ll also meet other cool world travelers because the vaccine comes in a four pack and goes bad after a few hours!
5. Through every blood test, urine sample, and booster shot you are reminded that in three short months you’ll be living in a community where these precautions are necessary. After the anxiety of waiting for an invitation, a bit of pain seems like nothing at all!
Cheers to all of the wonderful medics out there willing to help a FPCV, and to the caring Peace Corps medical team that has to go through all of our paperwork. Comment below with any funny/traumatic/useful medical stories. I would love to hear them!