Shot in the rear knocks you on your butt

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller use this space to offer their views on everyday issues.

HE SAID: In this week's column, we'll start with the punchline and work backward.

I woke up Saturday morning in a drug-induced haze to discover two women dressed as nurses hovering over the top of me. And my pants were unbuttoned.

It's not nearly as scandalous as it sounds.

Thursday night I began to feel ill. I felt my chest tightening up, started having the chills. Friday I woke up with a 100-degree fever and coughing. I was stubborn Friday, thought my body could heal itself as it has done in the last five or six years.

It's been a while since I had to go to the doctor for an illness. I've had some asthma checkups, a bad elbow checked out, but I couldn't remember the last time I needed antibiotics.

That changed Saturday morning. After rounds of sweats and chills kept me up all Friday night, I agreed to let Callie, my cute and pregnant wife, take me to the doctor, and she delightfully agreed to do the grocery shopping while I was there so I wouldn't have to wait in the car at the store.

What I had must have been pretty bad. The nurse practitioner listened to my hacking lungs and determined I had a nice case of bronchitis. She told me I'd need a breathing treatment, a shot of antibiotics, a steroid, cough syrup and an inhaler. She didn't want me to develop pneumonia.

The breathing treatment didn't do much. But then came the shot. I don't have a fear of shots. They don't hurt that badly. I had no reason to expect what was coming.

I lowered my pants to expose my left cheek, which was, you know, humiliating enough. The nurse poked me, and I didn't even feel it. The kind nurse told me I'd start to feel a burning sensation as she started to apply the drug. And I felt a small burning sensation, as she described.

"You doing OK?" she asked.

"Yeah, fine," I replied.

A second passed, then another one.

My head started swimming.

"Wait. I think something's ... happening ... to ... my head."

The next thing I remember is finding myself sprawled upon the doctor's office floor looking up at two nurses and a dropped ceiling.

"You OK?" one of them asked.

I was confused.

"Oh, the shot," I realized.

"Yeah, you just passed out."

It was the most embarrassing moment I've endured in years, although the nurses insisted this type of thing has happened before.

My cute and pregnant wife laughed at me.

SHE SAID: In my 26 years, I've had a few shots in the rear myself. And my reaction to each and every one has been the same. I ultimately end up on the floor, though I generally remember to pull my pants up right before collapsing.

I've told Bob about this; in fact, he had to drive to a doctor's office two years ago after I passed out from a similar shot of antibiotics and the nurse wouldn't let me leave by myself. He always found humor when it was me passing out from a shot in the rear. So I couldn't help a little payback, especially when he spent the rest of the day grimacing over his sore behind and even more over his bruised ego.

I think we'd better warn the hospital when it comes time for my epidural we may need extra nurses on hand -- to catch both of us.

Callie Clark Miller is the special publications managing editor for the Southeast Missourian. Bob Miller is the managing editor. He usually stays on his feet in the office. Reach them at or

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