The wife and I went out and received our COVID-19 vaccinations this morning. Being in our early sixties and relatively good health, i.e., nothing underlying that’s major, we hadn’t been eligible until guidance as changed a few days ago.
Well, as soon as it was changed, I was online, searching for vaccination opportunities. After three days of searching in which not even a glimmer of hope emerged, we scored with the J&J vaccine at our local RiteAid.
My appointment was for 10:06 AM this morning. My wife was scheduled for three minutes later. Per the store’s guidance, I arrived at 10:00 after leaving at 9:50.
I looked around for guidance. You know, signs. Placards. Anything. Nada. I queried the cashier (he was the only employee around). He gave a vague response about waiting in the store.
Figuring the pharmacy folks will be heavily engaged, I headed toward the prescription drop-off window because an employee was behind the counter there. They were helping another, so I hung around, waiting, masked and six feet away. I gathered the customer being helped was vaccine recipient numero uno for today’s doses. After he drifted off, I drifted up to the window. The employee drifted away. “I’ll be there in a minute,” she called.
She returned after about three minutes. We went through the check-in process, showing identifications, answering questions. She explained, “You’re number two.” My wife was number three. “I’ll be doing five at a time, because there are five doses in a vial. Just hang around the store and we’ll call you up.”
Okay. We were a little disappointed. We hoped we’d be in and out. That’s how my friend, Bob, said it went for him at RiteAid, going on (via email) about how they had it all together, right down to the minute.
Wasn’t happening for us. I was scheduled for 10:06. It was now 10:15. But, hey, we’d made progress. We wandered around the store, killing time. RiteAid’s prices shocked us. $1.09 for a little can of Fancy Feast. Holy catcrap! Over at Bi-Mart, they sell for $.65. Albertson’s sells them for $.79, if you buy twenty cans. Yeah, I struggle remembering state capitols, grammar, and the Supreme Court justices, but I can recite can food prices.
Around 10:25, my wife and I wandered back to the pharmacy area to check out the scene. A dozen people were now gathered. Some were in the prescription line. Others seemed to be there for vaccinations.
10:30, the pharmacy cashier whispered a name. I was standing about fifteen feet away. “What name was that?” I called to her. Everyone paused to hear. The cashier whispered it again. I was about to repeat it when a man sprang up. “That’s me,” numero uno proclaimed, rushing up.
I was called up next. I complimented her on her nails. Dark green metallic, they reminded me of beetle’s wings, but they were long and flawless. Not even a chip in them, you know? She worked the register without issue with them. I was highly impressed.
Others were processed after me. We resumed waiting. At last, “William Wisdom” — patient number one — was called to a back room. He emerged four minutes later to cheers. My wife and I were summoned.
We went in. The room was about five feet by five, smaller than a standard office cubicle, crowded with two chairs and two small tables. Being processed first, I took one chair while the pharmacist occupied the other. I was processed, verifying my birthday and name, no allergies, feeling pretty good today. My temperature was read off my forehead. I offered my left arm. Telling me what might happen in the next twenty-four hours, the pharmacist jabbed me. It felt like nothing. A bandage was applied over the mark. I gave the chair up to my wife and she was processed. “We recommend people hang around for fifteen minutes after getting the vaccine,” the pharmacist said. Okay.
We went back into the store. 10:52. We’d left our house sixty-two minutes before. We roamed, heading outside away from people and into sunny fresh air, fantasizing about where to go once our two weeks had passed.
11:05, we headed back home. Two of the cats were in the house. Both were sleeping. Neither woke up to greet us.