I to0k initiative yesterday and booked the day off work, to drag my son and I down to the closest vaccination clinic to stand in line and get his first of two shots for the H1N1 virus.
I was prepared with sippy cups, toys, books, blankets, and warm clothes. I was determined to get my hands on a wristband so that my son could begin the slow march to being protected from this new, and scary, virus. I wasn’t going to let another winter of day care sniffles and sickness get the better of us this year, and this was the first step.
Let me preface this by saying that I was expecting the chaos reported the day before all over the news, of long waits, dwindling supplies, and disgruntled people to be in full force as everyone panicked and crowded the clinics. I was expecting to wait outside the building, since the line would not be contained inside, and I was prepared mentally to be turned away if they ran out of wristbands. I would not get angry. It would not be the volunteer’s fault. I would be gracious and understanding.
Ten minutes after arriving, elbows sharpened to do battle with hassled people, and a cranky toddler bored-to-tears, I left the building, a wide band of orange around my wrist, one for my son and two more, one each for my husband and I. I was smiling, my son was smiling, the volunteers were smiling, and the sun was out.
Starbucks was bought, and brought home to my husband, at home for the day as well. Celebrations were in order!
We came back as a family at five that evening, again armed with all manner of Toddler-taming toys and our stroller. I treated myself to a rarely indulged treat of poutine, my husband to a hot dog, and our son ate Cheerios (also discovering that the taste test he had of my poutine was very yummy), ran all over the crowded waiting area, and read a Dr. Suess with my husband four times. In our walking, he plunked himself down with a large group of congregated toddlers like himself, all in boots and sweaters, some with bright red teething cheeks, some with soothers in their mouths. It was an impromptu play date.
They all stared at one another with an eery calmness, that had parents wondering why the noise had stopped and peering over. Then, as if cued, the entire lot began to babble at once. It was strange, indecipherable language that they understood perfectly. My son being, of course, one of the loudest, pointing and giggling, looking at me every so often with the widest grin possible.
He had so much fun, oblivious to the real reason he was there. Grand times could be had watching the Zamboni on the rinks, or the hockey players, or grinning at an old man who was making funny faces, or watching a young girl practice her leg holds in her sparkly figure skating outfit. He was entranced by a woman in a wheelchair, and made countless people laugh by running and making an “ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!” giggle noise with each step, his arms swinging like windmills, doing laps around the room.
Forty-five minutes after we arrived, we were ushered into the vaccination area to ensure our forms were filled out properly. Five minutes after that, all three of us had our needles. My husband even held our son while he got his own. My son cried for all of two minutes, then began busily taste-testing the sticker he got for being a good boy.
Twenty minutes after that we were walking out of the building, my son’s memory of the nasty needle forgotten, babbling away to my husband, who’s memory was a bit fresher, as evidence of his pale face.
I was relieved, and amazed at the cheerful nurses, smiling volunteers, speed of service, patience of paramedics, and non-melting-down son.
I was thankful for this anticlimatic adventure for all of us.