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Room with a View: A shot in the arm

As I have been strident in criticizing the management by the State government of just about everything concerned with COVID-19, I think it only fair that I describe how I found myself in a chair in a satellite facility of Kaiser Downey Medical Center waiting for Bethany to jab a sharp needle in my arm.

We here at Orange County Breeze hear a lot about the problems related to COVID-19 our readers have crashed into. That has led to robust cynicism and crankiness.

That cynicism and crankiness were confirmed as more and more people were, by hook or by crook, receiving vaccinations… and I personally was not, nor was I eligible.

Recently I became eligible but did nothing about it because… well, because I am cynical and cranky.

I happened into my husband’s home office while he was chatting on speaker-phone with a former co-worker, who chirpily announced that he had just received his first shot with little problem, and near his home to boot.

Asked how he found an appointment, he said he used the State’s online appointment tool, My Turn. I rolled my eyes but replied that I would try it.

So I turned on my heel and returned to my own home office, clicked over to My Turn, and started poking around.

There are of course questions to answer. The first is language. English is the default choice. A bunch of other choices range from Español to Tagalog to others in non-Roman alphabets I cannot read or pronounce. I stuck with English, and clicked Find an appointment.

That took me to a page with a Privacy Statement at the top. You’re supposed to read the Privacy Statement, then click a checkbox to attest that you have read the Privacy Statement. (cough) I clicked the checkbox.

Next is age. Since today is April 15 and everyone 16 years and older is now eligible, the choices listed now are 16-17 or 18 and older. Then you have to select which County you live in, indicate if you work in a different county, certify your age, and certify that the information you are providing is accurate. (There is also a mysterious field for an optional Access Code.)

Then click Continue.

Find an appointment

That takes you to a page for finding an appointment.

You can either provide a zip code — presumably for your home or work location — or use your current location.

As I am paranoid as well as cynical and cranky, I do not allow my computer or phone to give out my current location. So I typed in the zip code for Cypress, 90630, then selected Cypress from the short odd list of possible matches. (Ukraine? Finland? Nope.)

And clicked Continue.

The list of three “nearest to Cypress” did not cheer me — the closest was almost 19 miles away on South Avalon Blvd. in Los Angeles. Harrumph.

But underneath that discouraging list came another list, including the Sav-On Pharmacy less than a mile and a half away, where we normally shop for groceries.

Clicking on See Availability sends you away from My Turn to the individual sites for vaccination appointments. On the day that I looked, I found an appointment less than a week away at a satellite office of Kaiser Downey Medical Center. (You do not need to be a Kaiser member to be vaccinated by Kaiser.)

A few screening questions later, and I had an appointment for 9:20 a.m. yesterday morning.

My cynical crankiness began to weaken.

Waiting in line

My husband had already visited the same facility for his first shot, so he offered to drive.

We arrived at about 8:45 a.m. and were handed paperclipped forms to fill out, quickly done once a parking space was found. A smoothly managed check-in followed, with a temperature check.

Then I stood in line (six feet apart), moving forward in six-foot or twelve-foot jerks, as those at the front of the line were waved inside. The line was outside, but canopies provided shade.

Once inside, I was directed to a numbered station where the clerk on the other side of a plastic shield processed my forms. The clerk scheduled a second appointment (I was to receive the Moderna vaccine) then waved me on.

Another person (with a handful of small flags for easy identification) directed me to a chair among a field of chairs (spaced six feet apart). I could see that the chair in front of me had a timer rubberbanded to the back, pre-set to 15 minutes. Nurses with mobile medical carts were going up and down the columns of chairs confirming identity, administering shots, and starting timers.

My nurse was named Bethany. The waiting period after receiving the shot was actually longer than the time it took to be processed once inside the building. Fifteen minutes was the time to wait in order to see if you have a bad reaction to the shot. Some people who admitted to allergies had to wait for 30 minutes.

The actual vaccination was anti-climactic. Bethany swabbed my left arm, squeezed the upper arm, injected the vaccine, and stuck on a fabric strip. Done.

I had no adverse reaction immediately after receiving the shot. This morning, my arm is a bit sore near the injection site.

My cynicism and crankiness are somewhat tattered. To rehabilitate them, I focus on that second shot. Maybe something bad will happen!

Meantime, I recommend to everyone who has not yet scheduled an appointment that they do so. If nothing nearby shows on that list (scroll down!), try tomorrow. Appointment availability depends on vaccine availability. When more vaccine is delivered, more appointments open up.