Yesterday, I took my almost-eighty-five-year-old mother for her first dose of the Covid vaccine. What a relief to know she’s on her way to better protection from this nasty virus.
Signing up for the appointment was somewhat frustrating, in that each time I’d run through the preregistration questions, I’d get to the end and my chosen slot would no longer be available. I’d have to start over, answering the same questions again. I finally got wise and skipped ahead, over the next available time slot, and managed to secure her an appointment. That was a few weeks ago. I hear the Massachusetts website has been upgraded since then.
Anyway, we arrived a few minutes early to the vaccination site — a hotel about a twenty minute drive from her home. Everything ran smoothly, starting with the officers who directed the cars entering and exiting the parking lot. The building entrance was a long walk from the parking lot for an elderly person using a walker, so the first officer directed me to the front curb where a second officer helped me get my mother out of the car and set her up with her walker. Then he escorted her into the building while I parked.
Inside, signs marked our way toward the hotel ballroom which held a dozen or more vaccination stations. Chairs were set out along the way, from the front door to the ballroom, for anyone needing to sit for a minute. At the entrance to the ballroom, we were directed to the left, to one of many rows of three chairs, where people waited to be called to a station. We waited no more than a few minutes, just enough time for my mother to remove her coat. Vaccination station #2 waved their sign and beckoned us to them.
The vaccination itself felt a little anticlimactic. I guess I wanted cheers or maybe music and fireworks. Nothing. So, I’ll now provide my own:
I’d been hearing about the new “buddy” proposal in Massachusetts, where the one who brings the eligible person would also be offered the vaccine. That plan hadn’t been discussed yet at the time I’d made my mother’s appointment, but I’d heard that some “buddies” were being offered the vaccine on the spot, even without their own appointments. I wrestled with the question of whether or not I’d take the vaccine if offered. I’m not in one of the high-risk groups. So many people need it more than I do. I probably won’t be eligible for months to come. What should I do? After reading a NY Times op-ed about this very dilemma, I decided that I’d take it, if offered. Well, they didn’t offer. So, no fireworks for me yet.
Before we left the vaccination station, they scheduled an appointment for my mother’s second dose, writing it on a small card that serves as her proof of vaccination. We were directed to the far end of the ballroom for observation. Again, we took seats in one of many three-chaired rows and waited the required fifteen minutes, along with many others who’d just received the vaccine. We’d actually been given a Post-It note with the time of our allowed departure written on it. When our time was up, my mother asked, “Now what?” The significance of the experience seemed somewhat lost on her and she was relieved to hear that it was time to go home.
The whole experience gave me hope. Hope that someday most of us will be vaccinated. Hope that fewer people will be sickened, debilitated, or killed by this disease. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do my part by wearing my mask, washing my hands, and practicing social-distancing. And reminding my mother to do the same. 🙂