Friday, November 6, 2009

All Shot Up

I've taken a little bit of an unplanned hiatus from my newborn blog - mostly due to lack of inspiration and tiredness. However, I ventured out today to get vaccinated and am returning with lots of blog fodder.

Here is a rundown of my experience:

Arrived at clinic site at approximately 9:20 am, read the sign stating eligibility criteria and walked to the end of the line. Senses promptly assaulted by the scent of very overpowering perfume. Attempted to put some space between myself and said smell to alleviate negative allergic reactions without losing my spot.

9:25ish saw an elderly lady walk out of the clinic and inform her husband (standing in front of me) that he is not eligible for the vaccine today because he is over 65 - no matter that he is diabetic, as long as he has gotten his seasonal flu shot already - and that they turned her away after an hour wait.

9:45ish witnessed a lady with a young boy park her truck and jump into the lineup about 3 people ahead of me next to a lady she apparently knew, followed by the man who had been conversing with the elderly gentleman who left with his wife now shuffling to a place further up the line.

Around 10:00, listened as the woman in front of me called over a health care worker and asked if he could tell her who was eligible for the clinic today and what shot was being offered.

10:15ish, two people proceeded to light cigarettes and smoke while standing in line (one of whom was the same lady the one with the kid had went to stand beside). Saw a man come over and ask the health care worker at the entrance if people over 65 were allowed to get inoculated today, as that was what he heard at the coffee shop this morning.

10:30ish, entered the building, read the sign requesting that clients have their Care Cards ready, and was entertained by a group of obviously extroverted mothers who were chasing their toddlers around and hollering at them, basking in the attention they were generating. Watched a nurse doling out shots to moms and kids and mentally gave her a pat on the back for the job she was doing and being able to stand up to all the crying with a smile. Coughed into my sleeve a few times after running out of Bentasil and noticed various nervous glances being shot my way accompanied by expressions informing me that I was a pariah in their midst.

Moved to the registration table, handed over my Care Card, and assured the lady doing the paper work that I have asthma and was advised by my doctor to show up and get both vaccines. Continued on to the seating section with my papers in hand and was hustled into the second row of chairs. Shuffled over several times as seats became vacant until I reached the end of the row and was pointed in the direction of a free injection station. Informed the nurse that I am already sick and had a fever last night, answered some questions, told her I had an allergy shot in my left arm yesterday and am scheduled for one in my right arm Monday, and listened as she told me that the H1N1 shot would hurt less going in but that the flu shot shouldn't make my arm as sore afterwards and to be prepared to get sicker before I get better (which I was expecting anyway but which still wasn't good to hear considering last night's fever was already an uncomfortable and scary 102.4 degrees).

11:00 The main event! Got jabbed in both arms, and then directed to another seating section and told to wait 15 minutes to make sure I was OK before leaving. Overheard an elderly lady speaking with a health care worker who was telling her that she is not eligible for the shot today, asking whether she was already informed of that by the workers patrolling the lineup outside, and that no, there were no exceptions being made. Left the clinic at 11:15 and drove home.

And now, the commentary/rant...

1. I cannot believe how inconsiderate some people are. Who in their right mind shows up at a vaccination clinic coated in perfume to stand in line with a bunch of asthmatics? Hello! Great way to set everyone coughing and rushing for their inhalers! Likewise to the up in the midst of a group of people with lung issues as well as young children and infants. Smart. Thanks for that. Not to mention the couple who came out with their son, who was upset and had been crying after getting vaccinated, put him in their car and stood around smoking. When he tapped on the window and asked for a drink, the father replied "You can have a drink after. Dad is having a 'moke first." Good of them to not smoke in the vehicle with him for sure, but I was still a little put off by the display and thinking perhaps they had gotten their priorities mixed up a little along the way.

2. How is it that we expect children to abide by the unwritten rules of lining up and yet there are adults out there who still have not mastered the concept. Rude and bursting with self-importance and a false sense of entitlement much? What makes you any more special than the rest of us out there freezing our butts off that you think you can just prance on up to any place in line you feel like standing?

3. Why do people not read signs? They are not plastered all over the place to pretty things up, people! Conversely, the first time I saw anything about Care Cards was once I was inside the building. While it is probably a no-brainer anyways, prior signage wouldn't hurt - as I did hear some people say they had forgotten theirs, and I had to check and make sure I had mine at that point as well...

4. Why would you show up at a vaccination clinic and stand in line if you don't even know which shot is being offered? Wouldn't it make more sense to find that out FIRST? Or at the very least, ask someone when you arrived (like the man from the coffee shop who was using his brain)? Ditto for the people who ignored the signs and the patrolling workers only to get inside and be rejected.

5. What is the need of purposely making a public spectacle of yourself outside of the expected venues? Much as it provides entertainment, it does tend to become a tad obnoxious and annoying after a while...

6. Kudos to the nurses shooting up the infants and toddlers. Don't think I could do it. I did notice though that most of the infants didn't bat an eyelash, versus those who were older who almost all bawled. Makes me think that perhaps it is a chain reaction for the ones who are old enough to cries, scares the others, and sets them all off when it is their turn.

7. I feel bad for showing up sick and needing to cough...but honestly I hadn't coughed this morning and probably would have been coughing from the perfume anyway even if I wasn't sick...and I DID use my sleeve. Perhaps people would have felt better if I had been wearing a mask, like a couple of other people I saw at the clinic? Although I have a hunch those masks were more about protecting themselves from airborne viruses than those around them...

8. I am relieved and glad that I didn't have to endure one of the horror stories that have been on the news lately in relation to flu clinics. I was kind of worried and not sure what to expect when I left the apartment this morning, but I thought it was relatively quick, efficient, and painless - minus the other people who showed up and caused some irritation and discomfort but that had nothing to do with the people running the clinic....although I do wonder if there are/will be rules around smoking and scents at these sorts of things. It would make sense, if you ask me...

I am starting to question my own sanity injecting all this crap into my body and I am really hoping I made the right choice getting these two shots today. Part of me was thinking I should really hold off until I was better and maybe go for it then. There was also an odd mixture of thoughts and images floating through my mind at various points as I watched and waited. Predominantly, I couldn't stop myself from thinking we were just like a bunch of cows being herded inside, treated, and then released into the holding pen before being sent out to pasture to graze again (I apologize if I used incorrect terminology or odd imagery there...I am not an expert on cows and pastures by any means, but I haven't quite been able to absorb, digest, process, and put my finger on what exactly I would compare it to what with the muddied thoughts and all from the various drugs and injections over the past couple of days...I probably shouldn't even be writing right now...God only knows what drivel I am spouting at the moment) and wondering if I was being smart and prudent or stupidly succumbing to what the fear-mongers have been shoving down my throat.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I am beginning to feel like a pincushion between this and the allergy shots and am not enjoying the sore arms and matching bruises, but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end...

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