A Person Can Develop La Grippe

La Grippe (pronounced “la grip” in “Guys & Dolls” pseudo-French). In Spanish, it’s La Gripe (La GREE-pay). Americans know it better as “the flu.” And, no, thankfully San Geraldo and I have not come down with it. But, there’s still time. We’ve been getting flu shots annually ever since we were simultaneously slammed in 1989 while living in Connecticut and spent one week together on the family room sofa bed until we had the strength to crawl upstairs. I had gotten the flu every year for as long as I could remember. San Geraldo had worried about getting it for about as long.

A Person Can Develop a Cold

Last year, we went into the local health clinic, showed our residency cards, and were given our shots for free. We had expected to pay, but it appeared the woman at the desk wasn’t sure what to do with us and, since Spain historically did not deny healthcare to anyone, she simply wrote us in.

This year, in the midst of the mounting financial crisis, it hasn’t been so easy. We went back to the clinic and were told, since we’re privately insured, we need to first buy the vaccine at a pharmacy. We then had to take a form to a doctor to sign, and then take the form to the bank where we would pay a €43.50 fee (in addition to whatever the cost might be to purchase the vaccine). Then, finally, we could make appointments to have the shots administered at the public clinic. We weren’t keen on the price tag or the time it would take. We thought maybe we could just, using our insurance, find a private doctor to do it all for us.

On the way home, we stopped at our pharmacy to see about buying the vaccine. They didn’t have any and seemed to think that no pharmacies had any because the public clinics had been given it all. (Flu shots are not recommended to the general population here in the way they commonly are in the USA, so it was unusual for us, being “young” and in perfect health, to be requesting them.)

I phoned the private medical center recommended by our insurance company. But, they re-connected me with our insurance company. Our insurance company told me they could make the appointments for us at the private medical center. The private medical center would administer the vaccine for free. Great.

All we needed to do, I was told, was go to a pharmacy and buy the vaccine.

Have you been keeping up so far?


Even though I hadn’t figured out how I was going to get my hands on the vaccine, I took appointments for Monday evening. I was meeting Lola and Albert for a drink Friday afternoon and I figured if anyone could help it would be my two resident authorities.

So, over a beer in yesterday’s sunshine, I explained the situation (much more succinctly than I have here). Lola immediately phoned our friend Manuela, a pharmacist in the El Arenal neighborhood. Manuela had the vaccine. She put two aside and San Geraldo and I went today and picked them up. Total cost for the two of us combined? €11.20!

So, Monday we’ll be innoculated. As I sit here and sneeze, I hope it’s not too late.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

22 thoughts on “A Person Can Develop La Grippe”

    1. Judeet:
      I had considered forgoing the flu shot, but that would probably not work out well for me. San Geraldo would worry all winter if he didn't get it. I agree about Dudo. We're in love.

  1. (I can never resist a cat when it gets get into that 'tickle-my-tummy' position – even though one is likely to get a nip if one tries it).

    Yes, flu shots are highly recommended for us 'oldies' so I had one a month ago, my first time for about 12 years, which was also (coincidentally?) the last time I had a crawl- into-bed heavy cold, so I gave up on them and it's been bliss being the only one I know going through Winter after Winter who hasn't suffered. So bit concerned that this will start off the cycle again, but so far so good.

    Btw: re 'Guys and Dolls'. There was a survey done not too long ago in this country among theatre critics, actors, musicians and related professions as to which was the greatest theatre musical of them all – and 'Guys' won. Surprising, perhaps, when one considers so much stiff competition, but also cheerfully reassuring. It's a marvellous work that, despite it's period setting, doesn't date in performance – though such a shame that the film version cut out some of the wonderful songs. Thanks for posting the one above – it's a treat to be reminded of it.

    1. Raybeard:
      I love that Guys & Dolls is so well thought-of. It's one of my favorites. (I've been walking around now singing "Take Back Your Mink.")

      I do get a milder version of the flu some years, but I have not once been hit like I was every year before I started getting vaccinated. I hope you don't have any problems this year!

  2. First off, I WANT to join Dudo!! So comfy!

    We too have appointments on Monday morning for our flu shots. We get them every year as well. Last year was the first time we both got a reaction to them and were sick for a week….felt like a 'slight' flu'.

    Since we pay huge taxes here in Canada, and I am not complaining about that, our universal health care system, though not perfect, covers all this. No one pays for flu shots. Fingers crossed for no reactions this year! I am such a wimp when I am sick!!

    Good for you to a friend in Lola to help straighten all this out, Mitch.

    1. Jim:
      Dudo loves his bed (and my bed, and Jerry's bed, and the sofa, and the club chair, and the rug… You know how it goes)!

      Jerry and I had always said we would be happy to pay higher taxes in the States for universal health care. We're not eligible here, but our private insurance is hugely cheaper than we'd be now paying in the States, and the coverage is better!

      Having friends like Lola makes this all so much easier than trying to go it alone.

      Tonight we get our flu shots. Then I'll have a very sore arm for a few days and San Geraldo will feel nothing. Go figure!

  3. I never use modern vaccines, I simply keep a little blood back from my springtime bleeding each year and then have it added to my Horlicks as winter sets in. It's really the only organic way to maintain the iron content (although you must be certain to seal the jam-jar very carefully and to keep it in a cool place).

  4. Dear Mitch,

    Well of course here in Germany . . .

    Actually I am nervous of flu shots however last year I took the plunge and 'got it'. It is free for us because our employer pays. A few days later and I got the 'flu – which we also call 'die Grippe' – and I was off work for a week.

    This year, at the urging of my assistant I had it again. Once again I ended up in bed for a week although this time the Doctor called it a 'reaction'.
    Then two other people at work had a 'reaction' and we thought it might be the contaminated vaccine that was being trumpeted in the newspapers. I will admit that I did go ahead and press the big ol' gay panic button but the doctor calmed us all: Poisoned vaccine was not coursing through our veins. It was just a 'reaction'.

    This put off AGA from getting one and I doubt I shall go back for one next year. Instead I shall wave a hazel twig around or some such thing to ward off the evil 'flu spirits and see if that works instead.


    1. Kirk:
      I also have often been down for a week from a "reaction" to the vaccine. But, without it, I was down and out for at least two weeks with much worse symptoms. So, I stick with it. Last year I had no reaction. Maybe Spain agrees with me! Jerry would have hit the panic button, too! I hope he doesn't read this!

  5. Got it from the allergist. He gives it to us free of charge every year,in half doses, a month apart. He doesn't charge us, and it's a bonus because I'm pretty sure my insurance doesn't cover it as I am not a small child or elderly ??"??

    1. Carole:
      In Irvine, I was told every year that our insurance covered it. Then they wouldn't pay the bill and we ended up paying around $27 each. Still not bad, but so annoying. €11.20 here is great!

  6. Being an "alien" in Spain sure makes life difficult doesn't it? The procedure for getting a flu shot is almost laughable. I've been getting my annual flu shot for at least 20 years and I've never had a reaction. Makes me wonder if I was actually getting the good stuff.
    I usually get a bad cold sometime over the winter but nothing that lays me low like your bouts of flu!

  7. I always get one cold/mild flu at the beginning of the season and then i'm fine while everyone gets sick.
    I've already had my bout and :::fingers crossed:::: the magic continues!

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