So, yesterday I got a letter letting me know I have jumped the queue and was being offered the vaccine for this pesky Coronavirus. Here in the UK, we had nine groups of order and I was either too young or too healthy to be considered of importance. On one hand really happy (I am young! I am in prime condition! Seriously? With all the wine, doughnuts and eye wrinkles? The bags alone from lack of sleep for the last 15 years alone make me look about 100); but on the other hand, it means I am in danger! Every cough and sneeze could land me in peril.
Alas! There is a ray of hope I was not aware of. As I am a carer of my gorgeous vulnerable son, I am queue jumping and getting the jab. All I need to do is sign on to the NHS website and fill out my slots (bit personal). So on I go, surprisingly easy process. Booked myself in for the next day and a couple of months away. Now the place.
Choice 1: A pharmacy in Truro- not too far away, sounds good and as it turns out the only logical option.
Choice 2: A field. Otherwise known as the Royal Cornwall Showground.
Choice 3: Devon.
Think I’ll go with choice one. Now the time. Weirdly, lots of ten minute intervals. So I pick one and write everything on the calendar. Including my booking references, NHS number, filling the entire day space as I do. Thank goodness we aint got much on other than making an Iron Man Lego helmet.
So, today I drive to Truro, carpark isn’t charging and it’s got loads of spaces- bonus. Although it makes the morning trip to the post office to get change for the car park a little pointless.
I walk to the pharmacy, there is a long queue outside. Bugger.
I join a nice looking lady. Right beside us are two old ladies sitting 2m in a pub beer garden drinking Costas. This is obviously not their first time. In my head I applaud their genius and wish I thought of it.
Lucky for us the sun is shining. Quite quickly the queue lengthens, making me wonder if they actually have an appointment or they are being British: saw a queue and decided to join it. The guy behind me talks repeating all the small talk I just had with the nice lady in front of me, so I stand in between them and we discuss why we’re here. The lady is a carer like me. The guy gives the reason so many have before. I’m old. Fair play mate, fair play.
People pass on the opposite side of the road and try and stare at different people in the queue, obviously under the illusion they have suddenly developed mind reading and can find out what’s going on by squinting.
After a while my name is called. A man in a mask and apron takes my name and appointment time. He tells me to stand to the first section after the next person is gone. Sanitise. Wait for further instruction. I nod. I understand. I take a deep breath, I am ready.
The next person moves, I’m in. I walk to the first stand bit. Sanitise. Nailed it!
A lady comes in front of me, She has a power belt of spray and cloths. A cleanliness badass. In my head she is called Gladys. She says hello. I am awaiting further instruction. Gladys tells me:
-When I tell you the way is clear, go in and sit on a chair (done that before, even sofas, booths, expert at parking my ass. Simple)
-Then wait for an admin station to be free (wait. Got it. Then I sit down on the free chair, don’t worry Gladys, I got this!)
-Wait for me to wipe the chair before you sit down (Dammit! Raced ahead-rookie mistake!)
-Sit down, do the admin and go sit down on the booth (yep! Not my first booth.)
-Wait to be told to go in, have the jab, go out this way. (Sorted. Longer instruction but I’m ready!)
She starts whizzing about like a Tazmanian devil, and calls me in. I go into a room with two desks, a couple of make-do computers, chairs either side and the much-talked about boothed area. It reminds me of the job centre. I immediately like the situation as I sit down cause everyone turns to me and says “hello.” It’s like being Norm in Cheers. Awesome.
I sit and almost immediately a chap gets up. The people behind the table look at me and say “Next.” I don’t move. I am following Gladys’s instructions, this could be a test and Gladys is far too much of a badass for me to betray her trust. I will stay defiantly in my chair and declare “I was told to stay put until the chair is cleaned.”
The people look proud. As a reward, Gladys whizzes in and sprays the shit out of the chair and wipes it. We smile at each other as she tornados back out. Now I will move. Slightly smugly.
Two ladies now face me. One on the computer and one with a very large printout. Turns out I don’t need to write down all my details because they had it already.
I ask if they want my NHS number but the printout lady says “nope, we got it” they then go slow-mo. Each number is said, repeated, and said again but even slower. Then my surname. In the mean time Gladys is creating tornados checking if people have finished or something needed wiping.
Finally, they give me a card, which is cool. And tell me to sit in the booth, but not too close to that gentleman. I look, the guy is old and sitting in the corner.
“Not on his lap then?”
The whole room laughs, and I think blimey they must be bored.
The old man leans over to me and says, “I wouldn’t mind you sitting on my lap to be honest.” Saucy sod. I don’t think we have enough disinfectant for that.
They call me in, I tell the Doc it’s heard to find a vein and she informs me “we don’t want to put it in your blood. Its not even certified.” (So many thoughts of becoming a superhero right now.) She asks me which side I sleep on- bit personal as we only just met. And she injects me- its quick, painless, nothing but a scratch, and I’m practically ordered to go shopping as I cannot drive for 15 minutes.
I take this as a prescription me to visit the doughnut shop and follow doctors orders grabbing some to take home. I was told you get a sticker and a lollipop, maybe I get that at Stage 2. I hope so, I love lollipops! Especially red ones. 🍭