Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes

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Vying For The Needle


The race is on! Our salvation, inoculation with the COVID-19 vaccine, has finally come. After ten months of quarantine, one of the weirdest chapters in my life, there is hope for a future.

Of course, it has become political. Damn politics, inserting itself in every breath we take. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined the rank order of who they thought should get the vaccine first. There were physicians, ethicists, and heaven knows which other specialists who met and hammered out a recommendation. They gave it to the states and surprise, surprise, the states changed the criteria.

Now, I have to say, I benefitted with the state change in Texas, so I am not railing against this interference with common sense. Doctors, nurses, and other front liners were supposed to receive the shot first. Hospitals were allocated the doses. Next would be the l(b) phase comprised of those sixty-four and older and those with high-risk conditions.

The city directed users to an interactive map showing fifteen locations in my area offering the desired serum. I began trying to get in to one of them. One site was a dermatological clinic (go figure). They assured me my category was up for scheduling, but I was not a patient of theirs and existing patients had priority. I was added to a wait list.

I rushed to enter other sites. I was on hold once for fifteen minutes and didn’t advance one position in that queue. Two sites were still inoculating front liners. I wait listed again. After two hours, and development of a fierce headache, I gave up.

The plot makes a jog here. I woke the next morning to an interesting text. A knowledgeable, streetwise friend sent me a link to schedule the shot. I have been online shopping for groceries, meals and holiday gifts for ten months. I have become masterful at working sites and understanding the importance of timing.

I hopped on that site like a rabid bat seeking a host. The site was complex, and the required data had me sprinting all over our condo looking for critical numbers on insurance accounts.  Nomenclature of what was required did not match what was on cards, so I played roulette, guessing what the system needed. Critical health questions were answered as fast as I could type.  I was doing this in early morning darkness, as other citizens slept soundly in their beds.

When I told my husband I had an appointment, he begged me to run a second heat and get him one. He doesn’t have my practice with navigating these systems, so I obliged him and got him in too. We were euphoric as we printed our confirmations.


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