The most important thing

Had to check the last post to see what I’d shared re our vaccination status. Was it really only last week that C had an appointment at our local (not-chain) pharmacy in a week or so, and I had none? Well… events moved quickly.

First, using the vaccine finder, I tried to get an appointment at the Aqueduct racetrack, one of the mega sites. There were quite a few open, but when I finally got to the point where you pick a time, I’d pick one and then it would be full – and another time would pop up. I went through this about eight times, until I realized I should stop being picky and thoughtful and just grab the first one. Dumbass me finally realized that even if I scheduled myself for a wee-hours-of-the-morning appointment on a Thursday or whatever, that was fine. This was quite literally the most important thing I can do right now, worth upending work, sleep, whatever else was going on. I managed to get an appointment for a Friday in late April. Not ideal, but fine, especially since I’m not actually in the age group (I have ‘co-morbidities’, which sounds, um, morbid). I don’t live anywhere near the racetrack, but lined up a ride with my ever-helpful friend S, who’d actually gotten hers there too and had been plugging that as a possibility.

Then our local pharmacy called C and cancelled completely. Apparently, the big chain pharmacies are hogging all the vaccine for now. So I went online and got him an Aqueduct appointment in late May. This was better than nothing, but not great – C is in the age group and also has shut down his life to a far greater degree than I have. We need to free this beautiful butterfly.

So, we were all set, but were resigned to a tedious wait. But… responding to my FB bitching about all this, my buddy Steve said that a hack he’d used successfully was to go to the NYC Health & Hospitals website right at midnight, when they drop newly available appointments, and you can get lucky. As it turned out, I had insomnia early Saturday morning and, at 3:00 a.m., managed to score two appointments for SUNDAY MORNING for us! In the Bronx, which sounds impossibly far away (and would be, if we did it by subway), but was actually right on the other side of the Triborough Bridge, basically a 15-minute car ride.

Well then, that’s a horse of a different color. So I rejiggered my weekend schedule so everything that needed to be done could be done before we set out at 10:00 am on Sunday morning, in case we felt punky afterward. Cognizant of the time change, I made sure to get us up by (new) 7:00. And at 10:00, I summoned the Uber.

Eh, it wasn’t 15 minutes, exactly, but it was fine. We were supposed to show up at 10:30 for 10:45 appointment and we got there at like 10:25. We didn’t know this hospital or the area at all, and it covered a couple of big blocks, but as we drove around the buildings, we started to see signs up, COVID VACCINES THIS WAY, MORRIS ST ENTRANCE. Oh, OK. So we got dropped off and were pretty much immediately greeted by a guy in one of the big plastic facemasks, directing us to a line and telling us there was an hour wait. Oh… OK. The part of the line we could see looped around an outdoor plaza, and it took us about a half hour to work our way to the door, but it was beautiful and sunny and we were fine and if we had had to sit down, there were outdoor tables and benches right there.

Once inside, we were in a hallway outside an auditorium, with another 15-20 minute wait – during which we were passed fact sheets and forms to fill out. Once we got to the auditorium lobby, they took our picture and put us in another (little) line for an array of intake officers. Once in a seat with an officer, we showed ID, insurance card (you don’t need it to get the vaccine, but they are tracking it) and dealt with that stuff. Then off to another (short) wait for someone to come get you. I got a nice lady, probably a Caribbean Islander (strong accent), who led me to a little curtained-off hospital space asked me the same questions as on the phone (you’re not sick, you haven’t just been vaccinated with any vaccine in the last few weeks, etc.) and then gave me my shot! Shot was painless.

C and I were on separate routes through this whole process, but basically simultaneously – he was getting his shot in the next curtained-off space. Then to the auditorium to get ‘observed’. He’s allergic to penicillin, so the nurse doing the monitoring told him to sit right in front of her and to stay for 30 minutes, not 15. They handed out little packages of hand sanitizer, masks, gloves. And we just hung out for a while until getting the Uber back. (and that took a while because the driver also had the ‘which entrance are they at’ problem)

Tada! We have our next appointments there on April 9th, we’re all set. A teensy bit of arm soreness and a radioactive green glow, but otherwise no ill effects. We basically took the rest of the day off and lazed around.

Hallelujah, that’s all I can say. We’re now already in talks to firm up plans for family visits and so on. I haven’t told him, but I’ll probably start ice-skating again after the 2nd dose. One more step in the country moving forward.

Oh, speaking of that, what about that big ol’ stimulus bill, huh? I don’t expect to get a check out of it if they go off my 2019 income, but if they go off my 2020 income (my tax guy is working on those right now), I might get a little something. One cool thing is the bill makes a chunk of unemployment money from last year tax-free, and I did get unemployment last year, and I did already pay taxes on it, so maybe I’ll get a refund! That would be cool. Quite aside from all the other good things the bill does. It’s exciting, what’s going on the country now! (It was, I guess, exciting before, but that constant undercurrent of dread will not be missed.)

So that’s us! Get your vaccine, please! Wear a mask! Don’t be stupid!

This post is part of a larger project, #MOC19. Read more about the Mass Observation COVID-19 project here

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