Friday, October 2, 2009

Flu Shots The Slow Way

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.

16 comments:

Murf said...

I suppose you have to get the shots since you have Little Abbey but I'm really getting sick (no pun intended) of all the hooplah over it thanks to the media. I just wash my hands and not lick things other people touch like doorknobs. Simple.

geri said...

Those were a lot of forms (and waste of paper)! I made an appointment for Evan's flu shot but the clinic was all booked and couldn't get him in until 3 weeks. The H1N1 vaccine however will be given in the school.

Ed said...

Murf - When I was single, I never got flu shots. However, when I got married to a doctor who is around people with flu all the time, I decided it was in my best interest to get the shots, especially when L.A. came into the world. Flu is a real killer among infants and small children. If it weren't due to those two factors, I still wouldn't be getting the shot, unless I had some underlying health condition, just because I feel that to many unnecessary vaccines and the preservatives like mercury and themerisol that they use in them, can't be a good thing.

Geri - Here in Iowa, the H1N1 is only going to be given to children under 2, health and daycare workers, and people with underlying conditions at least in the first round. I'm guessing it will already have passed us by before L.A. will get the H1N1. A neighboring school 25 miles away has had 130 of 500 students gone to the flu this week. I'm sure it is just a matter of time.

Edelweiss Transplanted said...

Our public schools here in Virginia will be giving the H1N1 later this month, so fortunately no wait in clinics, but there are already kids who have swine flu in our community. It may be closing the barn door after the horse is gone.

Murf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Murf said...

I think it was last year or maybe the year before when the strain of flu that was going around was one that was not in the flu shot. That amused me.

Question for you Father Ed...I heard about the H1N1 flu shot being tested on kids and I was wondering what parent would sign up their kids to be test subjects. Your thoughts?

Vince said...

Dear God, but in Ireland we are going through something similar. Here the medics have seen one of these opportunities where they can stick it to everyone. At the moment they are in discussions with the Government about how much it will cost for the GP's to give that two second shot. This in a State where the health budget is a fifth of GDP, and here they are asking for more.
And for Heavens sake you would think given that men are 50% or thereabouts, one magazine that reflected a little bit of testosterone would not break their hearts.

R. Sherman said...

Every time I've gotten a flu shot, it has worked, to wit, I've gotten the flu within two days. I'm with Murph. I don't get shots and since I made that decision, I've not had the flu.

Go figure.

Cheers.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'd say that's government health care, except that the county health dept. is also government health care, and private hospitals are about as bad. I think that they are overloaded with administrators who have to justify their existence by generating paper.

Ed said...

Vince - Thank you for the glimpse into our future.

R. Sherman - I don't think I have had the flu, shot or not, since I was in high school. But with a child who doesn't understand the concepts of sanitation in daycare and school with scores of other kids who also don't understand the concept, my chances are a lot higher right now. Personally I'm not worried about catching the swine flu since I think I am healthy and have a strong immune system. If I don't, I just hope you all figure out why I haven't posted in a long time!

Ed said...

3 Score - We've been living in a paperless society for twenty years and I've yet to see any signs of it!

sage said...

I'm sorry to point this out, Ed, but after being in the doctor's office waiting room for that long with all those sick people around, you didn't need a shot, you were already exposed!

I hate paperwork!

Ed said...

Edelweiss - I agree.

Murf - I certainly wouldn't. But I also realize the need for such testing and flu shots have been around for a long time.

Sage - Fortunately for a Tuesday afternoon when school and work was in session, There were only a handful or elderly people and they were sitting clear on the other side of the room.

Eutychus2 said...

Ed
Kid or no kid [I have 13 grandkids so I understand your predicament] you have far more patience than I've ever experienced! I congratulate you .... as for all those forms, I'd demand at least a sucker, candy bar or milkshake from them for filling them out.
eutychus

Ed said...

Eutychus2 - I neglected to mention that my daughter got to pick an item out of a 'treasure chest' which in the end was a red and yellow rubber ball. In her eyes it was probably worth it but I'm still not convinced. :)

Beau said...

All the paperwork... and some think more involved government health care will be an improvement?! Personally I'm with Murph and R.Sherman... will watch this one for a while.