Friday, October 18, 2013

The Flu Shot From Hell

Dr. R recommended I get the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine last year after my "upgrade" to smoldering and because I had been very sick during the winter with multiple sinus infections, chronic cough etc.

I followed his instructions and had both shots last fall. No issues minus one crazy male nurse giving me a hard time about the pneumonia vaccine. As a result, this past winter I was MUCH healthier: only sick with a cold 1-2 times, one sinus infection, and well, I did get the flu, but OVERALL I was much healthier than the previous winters. Also, exercise and healthy food helped!

Anyway, not wanting to jinx anything, and hoping for another "healthy for me" winter, J and I went to a flu clinic at our PCPs office about 3 weeks ago.

The Flu Shot From Hell story goes like this:

I entered the exam room and sat down. The LPN came over, used the alcohol wipe to clean around my shoulder/arm area. He said he was going to get the shot ready while the alcohol dried.

Okay, sure, not a problem.

Then, he came around to my left side and without any warning, or really looking at my arm at all, jabbed the shot into my shoulder. I literally jumped and yelled out something along the lines of, "OUCH!" He responded and said, "Whoa sorry! I guess you're a really small person!" and proceeded to inject the flu vaccine.

I looked over at my shoulder and a small amount of blood was dribbling out of my arm. And, I noticed the the injection site was at the TOP OF MY SHOULDER. Not into my deltoid or anywhere near my deltoid.



The LPN nervously stuck the band aid onto the injection site (this band aid was coming up over my shoulder, mind you) and I was on my way. Shocked and confused, but on my way. My arm was throbbing and I could barely move my shoulder.

Anyway, to make a very long, melodramatic story short, three weeks have gone by since this incident. These three weeks have consisted of ice and heat therapy, gentle stretching, shoulder exercises, and ridiculous amounts of Advil. After two trips to my PCP and a diagnosis of a "rotator cuff injury due to incorrect administration of the flu vaccine" - which could be just an injury that is causing pain and inflammation, a partial tear, or a full thickness tear...

I am headed to physical therapy next week.

Because I had the flu shot injected in the incorrect location on my arm.


I wish I was joking.

If after 4 weeks of PT there is no improvement, I will have an MRI of my shoulder and be referred to an orthopedic specialist.

This is how I feel about flu shots right now.



  1. On behalf of all lawyers, you need to document all your expenses, time lost, travel to further therapy, costs and pain and suffering then seek personal injury lawyer should cost you nothing to consult and if you prevail it will come out of any settlement you obtain....In the long run.... they have hurt you through their employees negligence..... and in the long run you might need the money.
    Take care,

    1. Thank you so much Keith! Trust me, I am keeping track of everything. I still just can't believe this is happening from a flu shot. I will keep your advice in mind!

      Take care,

  2. Elizabeth, I'm so sorry for your problem with the flu shot. I had mine a couple of weeks ago, and I almost didn't even feel the needle when the pharmacist injected it. I can't believe it might actually have caused a rotator cuff injury! Yikes! I guess the lesson is the same as with a bone marrow biopsy--make sure the provider has done it at least a thousand times. Good luck with your recovery.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! I know, it totally reminds me my first bone marrow biopsy...except in that situation I really should have spoken up because I was in so much pain - this flu shot was over before I could even say anything! I mean, I went to the flu clinic at my PCPs office...not some random walk in pharmacy...I had no issues last year when I went to the same flu clinic last year. Ugh, just another freaky story! Hope you are doing well!

      Take care,

  3. That was really a nasty experience! The staff should always follow the SOP in situations like these. Otherwise, the patients might suffer from such negligence. So, how are you now? I hope you’re now fully recovered from your condition. All the best!

    Darryl Hier @ US Health Works