Taking the first step toward a new normal
I took the first step this week toward feeling more confident in an eventual return to whatever “normal” is going to look like. I got my first COVID-19 vaccine shot, and an appointment for my second in a few weeks.
From the beginning, getting my place in line — filling out an online form way before shots were actually approved for my age group; to the end, when a guy in a yellow rain suit waved at me as I left the parking lot, the experience included only one, quickly remedied hiccup.
Shortly after the date on which Gov. Mike DeWine approved my age group for shots, I received an email from the Washington County Health Department, which gave me the chance to sign up for an appointment. I chose a spot at the Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building.
I’m sure I’m not alone in having received a minor scare when an email accidentally went out telling me my appointment was canceled. But that was quickly remedied with emails and phone calls confirming it was a mistake, and my original appointment was still on the books.
I had not filled out my paperwork ahead of time, but when I arrived, I joined a line of cars. Two people were handing forms to those who needed them, and pointing them to where to park and where to enter the building. Already I began to relax. This was a well-oiled machine. Before I entered the building there was another stop to fill out my form at a picnic table where a gentleman checked to make sure everything had been done properly. Then another stop while a woman waited to let me in the door (to avoid crowding while people were having their temperatures taken and stopping at the registration table).
At the registration table, my name was crossed off the list and I was directed to another table where I received my vaccine card and a woman took my ID and insurance card to fill out the rest of my form. (Insurance is NOT a requirement, but because I have a card, the information was taken.)
I was reminded at several points in the process not to leave until I had an appointment for my second shot. Again, it was calming. They weren’t going to let me mess this up.
Then it was time. I was directed to a chair where a team was waiting to take my information and give me the shot. A little joking, a little encouragement to relax my arm and POKE, it was done. Aside from a teensy bit of discomfort — no worse than most other shots I’ve gotten — it was no big deal. The gentleman administering the shot did say something along the lines of “That one didn’t want to go in easy, you must have thick skin!”
Yes. Yes, sir, let’s call it that.
Then I was sent to a chair to wait 15 minutes to monitor for any reactions. (I had none). And while I waited another woman stopped to get my card and confirm the appointment for my second shot. When I was finished, she showed me the exit and — bonus! — said I could take a box of masks on my way out.
It was a seamless process. The best part, of course, is that now I’m halfway to being fully vaccinated. But the second best part was the people. Smiling eyes everywhere, laughter and joking, calm friendliness. These were people on a mission to save lives and give hope, and they knew it.
As from the beginning, it is these ordinary folks, bent on fighting a monster, who are getting the job done.
If you are holding out on getting a vaccine, there is nothing to fear. Get vaccinated, please.
There is a big, wonderful team of people just waiting to usher you through the experience. And when you have completed the process, the relief — like those volunteers — is priceless.
Christina Myer is excutive editor of The Marietta Times.