injectable under 3

I need to preface this by saying that I am immensely grateful and incredibly fortunate to have arranged for my daughter to have two doses of the oink vaccine. I know that there are many families out there searching for local vaccine availability and sweating out where/when/how to get it. I know this and yet, what happened to us last night still seems inexcusable.

On October 29th I set a reminder on my phone, made a note in my work calendar, forced my brain to remember that Caroline would need a second dose of the vaccine in four weeks. I knew it would be a challenge because it would mean scheduling it during the week of Thanksgiving, but through some miracle (ok, my iPhone reminder) I set up an appointment for last night at 5:15 here in town. Caroline had gotten her first dose at the pediatrician, but the communication I was receiving from them about availability did not seem promising, especially when I knew we could easily secure the appointment through town if I called as soon as the clinic scheduling opened for her date. I had a seamless experience getting my own vaccine there earlier this fall, why should this be any different right?

Here’s how it went:

Kerri leaves work to pick up Caroline at 4:30
Into the car and on the road to appointment at 4:55
Accident off the highway slows us down, but we still walk in the front door of the community center at 5:18
Check-in and wait until 5:25
Fill out paperwork and get cleared to move to what could only be described as a corral at 5:30
Caroline watches Shrek (the Health Department’s solitary accommodation for kids) while I stare at the woman bringing people back waiting and waiting and waiting some more for her to announce the vaccine type we were there for.

At some point I made nice with another young mother of a two year old sitting nearby and together we approached the woman asking if they were not giving out an injectable this evening suitable for our daughters. We had arrived together and had been sitting there for 30 minutes and she had yet to call for a child under 3 of any kind. What they did have plenty of was intranasal any age, intranasal over 10, and injectable over 3. I know this because I heard it being announced through a bullhorn over and over. Her response to our inquiry was that they only had one nurse who was willing to do the injectables for the little ones. ONE. Which just begs the question – “what has she been doing for the last 30 minutes?” At that point a father in the back of the corral with an infant on his lap looked over and said, “how much longer is this going to take, I’ve been here for over an hour” and that nice mom and I locked eyes as if to say, there is no way in hell that we are going to be here for an hour.

It was after 6, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and that mom and I just continued to stare and glare. We watched as they handed out meaningless numbers to people only to take those who had just filled out paperwork ahead of people who had been waiting for longer than we had. What was the point of making an appointment? It was so poorly organized and coordinated that I began to worry a bit. Some people were angry, others were panicking, the clinic ended at 7 and there was no end in sight. Things were taking an ugly turn and that woman was just completely incapable of managing the crowd or her duties.

They finally took us back if only to make the uncomfortable glaring and huffing stop and the nurses in the back had NO patients. One of them actually said, “let them wait” in response to an inquiry if they could send a few back to them. I looked over and said, “this is the only nurse here willing to vaccinate my child? Really?” They had no reply. In my head I continued on about how she had missed her dinner, how this icky process had been drawn out way longer than it needed to be, how I thought nurses were tougher than this. We left with a forced thank you, no sticker and the most boring band aid in the history of the world.

Caroline was brave, so brave that she called Steve on the way home and spoke to him over the speakerphone all by herself. She barely let me dial him up before demanding the phone. “Daddy, I brave. We coming to get you, ok, I talk to you later, ok?” She rattled on for a few moments more about her cheese sandwich at school and the shot and promptly hung up on him.

You know what didn’t suck? Coming home to a tray of amazing French toast prepared by Steve. He took her right upstairs to get her out of her wet clothes because as a special super bonus she had wet through her diaper due to our extended stay at the community center. I felt so badly for her, especially because she had announced to me each time she was going and that she needed a potty and there was literally nothing I could do. He set up a dry and much happier Caroline at the table with a plate of syrupy goodness while I changed and took a deep breath. I have quite a partner. I think his foresight with last night’s dinner actually makes up for him never cleaning the toilet, that is how amazing it was.

In happier news, we’ve been doing the looney tunes advent calendar since December first and it is already quite a hit. Here's some shots of the calendar, day one holiday chocolate, and day two Nemo ornament (thanks Nana! she loved it and put it right onto the tree!)


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