The title of this week’s blog? Just a few of my favorite things.
No, not really, although I do like my endocrinologist, enjoy my conversations about gardening with my dental hygienist, look forward to talking college basketball with my primary-care physician, and get quite a boost in emotional health at my (roughly) once-every-three-week visit to my therapist.
But as seems to happen a couple of times each year (and I know I’ve written about this before, I just can’t remember when), almost all things medical will align so that the appointments happen within a week or two of each other. Daunted? Not really. Worried about taking the time off from work? I can handle that, too.
So why write about it this week? Well, the first item in my title, “flu shot,” is something that, for my entire adult life, my mother has asked me to get. She’ll call, or now she’ll e-mail, and remind me that I have a tendency to get the flu each year, so please make sure I get the flu shot. Prior to my diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2007, I think I only went to get the flu shot roughly every other year. When it was convenient. Yet since I’ve stepped into that drama “Life with Chronic Illness,” which many of us know all too well, the flu shot isn’t something I consider optional.
Since diagnosis with diabetes, I’ve been allowed elite early entry into the flu-shot world: seniors and those with chronic illness please step to the front of the line. And when I went to the health center, I was in line for about ten minutes, and that was that.
This year? No early entry. The health system here is too worried about vaccinating students and staff — pretty much everyone — to have any preferential treatment. Or at least that’s my understanding. (I never heard anything about an early shot.)
So yesterday I spent 45 minutes in a queue waiting to make it to the entrance to the waiting room… from which point, for another 15 minutes or so, I waited again while being shuttled through chutes like a cow. “Go to this side of the room.” “Please sit down and fill out this form.” “Stand over here and wait until she motions you forward.” “OK, you! You come over here and stand right here. No, here. Right here. Sir, please move closer.” At one point some tiny administrative staff person, a woman in charge of the final station in the whole rigmarole, pressed her hand into the small of my back to direct me. It made me feel kind of uncomfortable. “Sir, please move closer in line.” I did, but not far enough. Pudgy fingers pressed into my back again. “Closer.” I shuffled in. “Move in.”
Oh, I contemplated saying something untoward, but I’m a pretty reasonable adult, and I didn’t envy her having to keep over 400 people in line (literally and figuratively) for three hours.
Also, I brought this whole tedious affair on myself. How? Because I could probably get my flu shot at the end of next week when I visit my endocrinologist. However, the university’s health center is only a block from my office, and — I may have mentioned this earlier — I have a chronic illness and it’s advised that I get a flu shot. And because of that, I decided to do so sooner rather than later. In part because I’m not sure if the office I go to will have vaccine on hand (during this year of the H1N1 pandemic concerns), and in part because I want to get the H1N1 vaccine (which I believe comes in two parts) as soon as it becomes available in this area. Whether or not I can do that at either my endocrinologist appointment next week, or my visit to my primary-care physician in ten days, I don’t know. It may not be available.
I don’t think I can request the H1N1 shot at the dentist, or at the ultrasound tomorrow (my six-month check-up imaging to see if my thyroid’s doing fine), or at the therapist’s appointment next week.
I really need one-stop shopping, don’t I?