Dr. Laura T. Kleenser rises at 4:00AM every single day, and while today is no exception, it's going to be a much longer day than usual. By 4:15AM, she's making lunch for her kids (who think their sandwiches just spontaneously appear on the top shelf of the fridge every morning), then she spends a half hour on the elliptical, takes her vitamins, and finishes getting ready for work.
She moved to Atlanta after taking a job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where her primary focus these days is making sure children in poor neighborhoods receive proper vaccinations.
Since it's the beginning of flu season, her attention is focused on getting as many shots to as many kids as she can. And you can bet your Lunchables that Laura's kids already got their flu shots.
Today, Dr. Laura has to take a plane to Detroit. Last year, she started a public outreach campaign in Atlanta at the start of flu season and it was a huge success. Now she's being sent to a few major cities around the country to install the programs.
Laura has her ducks all in a row when it comes to work, but she's nervous on the way to the airport. She's not a big fan of flying—a career in disease research has made her a little paranoid about vessels with such high passenger turnover. She has hand wipes, sanitizer, and vitamin C tablets on her at all times, and she doubles up her supplies before flying.
Dr. L lands in Detroit at 12:00PM and gets picked up by the mayor's motorcade. Okay, it's not quite a motorcade, but she does ride in a tinted-out, jet black Chevy Traverse (and she's relieved to find it's very clean).
She chats with the mayor on the way to the site of the first annual "Flu Shots, Lollypops, and Tater Tots 4 Kids," which invites families from underprivileged areas to come get free flu shots for all children under eighteen while enjoying treats and games. This is the program that got Dr. Laura national attention and an interview on Ellen.
Laura's been working by phone and email with a team in Detroit for months, so her presence is mostly unnecessary; she's just there hoping to see her lil' program flourish in another city.
The event is a huge success—over 1,000 young people get vaccinated in less than five hours. Also, with each vaccination, families received information on disease prevention and tips on how to stay healthy. Overall, it's a great day. Laura even manages to sneak some tater tots for the ride back to the airport.
As she pulls into her driveway at 9:00PM, Laura pauses to think about her career up to this point. She reflects back on her research while earning her Ph.D., the time she spent teaching adjunct courses on microbiology, and her time researching the Ebola virus in Africa. Then she thinks about all the kids she's helped by simply making vaccines available to those who can't get them.
Then she pukes in the bushes. Uh oh. Why? She was vaccinated and couldn't have caught anything from the air travel...hm.
This has to be food poisoning. But what? Her eyes widen.
Tater Tots. She knew that special dipping sauce tasted a little funny. After a second quick throw-up sesh in the bathroom, she's on her phone to warn the event rep back in Detroit. Her work never seems to end.