I sat there looking at the letter from my GP, it's the same letter that arrives every year highlighting the risks of Flu and the need for vaccinations to minimise the risk of getting it. I sat there, this time thinking that I should get it this year. I had been pretty ill recently and I didn't need another reason to be restricted to my bed. I phoned my GP and booked an appointment for later that afternoon.
The morning came and went as I lazed about the house watching TV, and before I knew it, it was half past two. I quickly got ready and headed out to the doctors surgery. It wasn't far to the Viewfield Medical Practice, a ten minute walk down to the surgery. I walked in and noticed immediately the place was packed more than normal.
"Guess we're all here for the flu shot" I said to myself.
I walked up to the reception desk as the worker behind the desk looked up and said,
"Can I help you?"
"Yeah I have an appointment for the flu vaccination."
"What's your name please?"
"And your date of birth please?
"22nd November 1985."
"Well, I'm sorry Mr Tracey, we can't get you in today for the flu vaccination. It seems whoever gave your appointment didn't check the computer to make sure there space to get your jab today..."
"What do you mean?" I said while silently I said to myself F*** Sake.
"We don't have enough vaccinations in stock and your name was added to the list after they had all been taken. All I can do is offer you an appointment at a later date."
At that point a bald middle aged man with semi circular glasses came up to the desk and said,
"I'm sorry, I couldn't help but overhear that this young man can't get his vaccination today."
The receptionist stared at him blankly before replying,
"Err yeah, that's correct. He was booked in after today's vaccination slots were all booked up."
The stranger turned to me.
"I think I might be able to help you young man. My name is Dr. Sandison, I'm here on a day visit looking for possible candidates for a new vaccine I'm testing. would you be interested?"
I looked at the receptionist who gave me a look confirming what the doctor just said, and then went on, "If you don't get picked you can always go for the standard flu jab same time next week." She handed me an appointment card.
"Just remember to cancel the appointment if you have the experimental vaccine."
"This way then please, Mr. Tracey" Said Dr. Sandison, and he lead me to one of the surgery's examination rooms.
"Take a seat, Mr. Tracey."
I did so at the same time I came straight out and said,
"So what's this new vaccine you're testing?"
He just stared at me, looking me over as if my body language was giving him all the info he needed.
"You can just call me Sean."
"Oh thanks. Sean, what I'm here for is pretty much what I said out in the main lobby. I'm travelling the country for the right candidates to test an extremely highly experimental vaccine that has the ability to extend the current life expectancy, and will make the person immune to pretty much every known bug, virus and disease known to man."
I was stunned.. I wouldn't mind being one of the lucky few who got this vaccine.
"Wow, sounds like something that would be extremely expensive. I wouldn't be able to afford something like that."
"You miss-interpret me. I'm not looking for money in my experiments. I'm looking for people who would be willing to change their lives permanently, as there is no going back once you've been given the vaccine."
I was confused, how would a vaccine change my life permanently? Sure you'd live longer and hardly get sick but the tone of his voice suggested there was more to this.
"I know you probably got a lot of questions on your mind, and I'd be happy to answer them if I think you're suitable. Now if you don't mind answering a few of my questions?"
Wondering what I was going to be asked, I simply said,
"Have you had any major medical issues at any stage of your life?"
Wondering what this had to do with it, I answered his question.
"Yeah I have; I had major heart problems growing up, narrow arteries and they think I may have a slight problem with one of my valves. I've also had my appendix blow up, again according to my mum, I wasn't expected to make it."
"Really," Dr. Sandison exclaimed, "Bit of a bumpy start to life"
"I think of myself as more of a fighter. Sometimes wonder how the human race ever grew to the stage it's at with all the medical issues that plague us."
I saw something, not sure what but, Dr. Sandison's face did light up for a split second. The questioning carried on for the next half hour. Basically I think he was trying to get a background on me and what I thought of myself, which to be honest was poor.I didn't have a job and money was tight; my bills were just about getting paid, leaving me with very little for myself. Sure I was back at college studying for a new career, all the while thinking, "Why does life have to be so damn stressful and difficult! Why can't life be simple?" I told the doctor my thoughts. He looked extremely interested in my view of life and my not so ambitious views for the future.
"One final question Sean: What- Hmmm... Let's just say for the sake of argument, if you could give up your humanity and everything you know in your life, right this instant, would you give it all up for a new life?"