With all the hoopla over the H1N1 virus and having a week off on unemployment, I decided to take advantage of having the time to get myself and Little Abbey our regular flu shots. I stopped in on Tuesday to the county health office where we have always gotten our flu shots. They are open every Tuesday and it is generally much cheaper than getting them at the local clinic. However, when we stepped in and they gave me this look as if I were purple with three eyes, I suspected something was up. I asked if they were giving flu shots and was told that they were only giving them on the first and third Tuesday of the month and only between the hours of one and four. I suspect that they deliberately made such off hours when most of the normal world is working in order to stave off some rush that they were expecting. I was here between one and four and on a Tuesday but the fourth Tuesday of the month. The horror!
So we went down to the local clinic where you can get a flue shot Monday through Saturday at anytime except between noon and one when they are out to lunch. Much more reasonable I thought. However, I soon learned that the area of reason certainly wasn't indicative of the rest of their operation.
I had been there before trying to get a diagnosis for my exercise induced asthma so they had me on record but my daughter hadn't been. So they gave me a four sheet form, that had to be filled out front and back for a total of eight pages, with about thirty lines per page. In that form, I signed my name no less than five times, printed it another eight times, filled in my phone number and address six times. I have never seen anything quite so redundant in my life. But what really topped the absurdity of the form was when after twenty minutes I was done and was handing it in when they said that I had to fill out one of the same forms for myself. I was very close to just tossing the form back on the counter and walking out but after twenty minutes of my life gone all to get a single, simple flu shot, I filled out another one and thus nearly doubling the number of times I had to put the information mentioned above. I was only saved from having to fill out the legal guardian information since I was older than 21. At the county health office, all I had to do ever for a flu shot was show my ID and sign my name once.
Now 40 minutes into what was advertised as walk-in flu shots, I handed 16 pages of handwritten information to the desk clerk and then had to give them my insurance card whose information I had to hand write on those forms four different times so they could make a copy. No sooner has she walked into the room next door than another door in the waiting room opened up and they called Little Abbey and my names. I said that we were here but that I was waiting for my insurance card. Ten minutes later, the nurse who had called my name walked over to the counter to inquire why the lady who had by now made six trips to the back room to copy my insurance card was taking so long. She evidently had to make a copy of all 16 pages of handwritten information to include in the packet of information given to the nurse administering the shot.
50 minutes after we had arrived for our walk-in flu shot, we were finally ushered into a room and two minutes later were walking out with our shots having been administered. I guess the first and third Tuesday between one and four in the afternoon is in my future because I am not going through that process again to give Little Abbey two more H1N1 shots and probably myself one at a later date when it is available to adults.