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A shot in the dark

November 13, 2009

In the wake of the cancellation of AJ’s flu shot a few weeks ago due to a lack of vaccine, I’ve been haunting the website of our pediatrician for news on vaccinations. After my knock-down, drag-out fight with H1N1, I’ve stepped it up and discovered last week that our county Dept. of Health had received H1N1 vaccines and was running clinics for people in the priority groups (children, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses). I signed AJ up. Unfortunately, the clinic closest to us was full by the time I found out about it, so I signed him up for one about 45 minutes due west of here. Driving west from here makes me realize just where we are. Once you get through the town next to ours, there’s nothing but flat farm fields as far as the eye can see. There aren’t even any roads to turn off on.

We headed out around dinner time, and arrived about 10 minutes before our appointment. Driving out through the miles of farmland, I realize how easy it is to forget what dark really is. There are no streetlights out that way. Not even that many cars. There aren’t even, for the most part, any lights on the horizon silhouetting dark shapes of farm buildings. It’s just dark, so dark that it would have been easy to miss the signs for school where the clinic was held. But we managed to find it and turn into the crowded parking lot with at least ten minutes to spare. We’d been led to expect huge lines at the clinic. As it happened, this was one of the few that had appointments instead of a cattle call. I don’t know whether it was the appointments or the fact that this clinic was in the middle of nowhere, but we were in and out in ten minutes.

The whole thing was quite an operation. It was held in a huge regional high school. At the front door, we stopped at station one where our names were matched to a list of those with appointments and checked off. We followed arrows on the floor in blue tape to station two and stopped at a stop sign until someone waved us to a table. There someone asked us questions about current health and whether this was the first H1N1 dose, handed us some papers, and directed to the next station. At station three, a nurse went over the paperwork, asked us some questions, and made some notes on our paperwork before handing it back to us and waving it on. We followed and curvy line of arrows to the next stop sign and waiting for about 3 seconds before getting waved to a nurse’s station. There were two nurses at every station, each of which was separated from the others by temporary walls for the illusion of privacy. AJ was feeling a little nervous, which I mentioned to the nurses. They were so nice to him and so friendly, that it was absolutely no big deal. They showed him the vaccine dose, which looked like a syringe, and then pointed out that the tip had not needle so it wouldn’t hurt when they stuck it up his nose. They explained they’d squirt some in each nostril and how he had to sniff in after each one. We were done so fast, I almost forgot to ask them if I needed the vaccine — I’ve been reading conflicting reports on whether those who’ve had H1N1 needed a vaccination. They reassured me that I did not. And then we were on our way back home. AJ was talking a mile a minute about his experience, something he always does when he’s nervous about something and then it’s over. He thought the vaccine tasted a little like mint.

It is a freakishly beautiful day today, already 50 degrees. I’m looking forward to walking up to school to work in the library this afternoon. Hopefully they won’t turn me away for still having a bit of a cough.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 13, 2009 1:18 pm

    This is the first day I’ve been out of the house, with my deep and rather startling bit of a cough. World’s still there. Now I must lie down.

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