A VACCINE CALL

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual notebook.

Browsing the Christmas mark-down aisle of ALDI’s during the 8:30 A.M. “senior time” on Thursday morning, I was not completely surprised when my phone rang.JK must have remembered something I should buy. Answering it, I heard a woman’s voice instead.

“Is this the phone number of JK…?”

I paused, “Well, yes…”

“I’m calling from the Gainesville Health Department about the COVID 19 vaccinations. Can I speak to JK?”

I paused, “He’s not available at this time.”

The woman paused. “Is this his wife?”

I smiled. “Yes!”

“What is your name?”

I smiled at the request. “Frances Fritzie. I am a modern woman. I didn’t take my husband’s last name.”

The lady chuckled. “Neither did I!” She got back to business. “What is your name again?”

I spelled it out.

She continued in a methodical manner. “And how old are you?”

“Seventy-six.”

The friendly-sounding person asked, “Would you and your husband be interested in taking the COVID 19 Pfizer vaccine?

My eye widened. “YES!”

“Can JK come to the Martin Luther King Center tomorrow at 2:45?”

“YES!”

“And,” she paused, “How about I give you an appointment at 2:50?”

I grinned. “GREAT!”

As the lady recited the address of the center, I pulled a pen from my purse and wrote on the back of an envelope that held Pepto chewables. I said, “OK.” I’ve never heard of the place, but I’ll FIND IT.
She went on. “Do you have Internet access?”

My spirits sank. I am not good at web sites. “Y-e-s…”

“We’d like you to print some information.” She gave me a website address and I scribbled it, too.

“It’ll go faster if you can print and fill out the eight pages.” She paused. “But, if you can’t, you can do that here.”

“I’ll give it a try!”

“Alright. We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at 2:45 for James and 2:50 for you.”

Though she could not see me, I nodded, “Thank you!”

Fifteen minutes later I pulled into our garage. Carrying in two cloth grocery-filled bags, I met JK at the front door. He was headed out to carry in the rest. Once he returned, I bubbled over with glee. “Guess what!”

He set the gallon of milk he carried on the kitchen counter and looked at me. “What?”

“We got appointments for COVID shots! Tomorrow afternoon! Both of us!

Without raising an eyebrow JK asked, “Where?”

Looking him in the eyes and standing close so he could hear I said, “At the Martin Luther King Center. Do you know where it is?”

He shook his head. “Never heard of it.”

Heading for the computer which had a large screen, I called over my shoulder, “I’ll check Google!

Google didn’t show it. Oh-oh! I walked back to my purse and picked up my scribbled notes. I’ll have to use Mapquest. That program located the MLK center and I copied easy directions. Next, I took a deep breath and typed in the suggested web site. It came right up. Hooray! I clicked on the yellow box she had mentioned and the pages also appeared. The first two were information about the person getting the shot and a signature line. The other six pages were Pfizer vaccine information. I printed all eight for JK us both.

Grinning with success, I carried a set to JK. He was (Next.) sitting in his place at one end of the couch wearing his close-up glasses, studying a sudoku puzzle. “Here’re some pages to fill out and others to read!”

My husband nodded, laid them down and returned to his puzzle. Luckily, there’s no hurry!

On January 8, 2021, I recalled TV news images of older people bundled against chilly Florida nights waiting in line overnight for their shots. However, everything happened easily for us. I drove to the Martin Luther King Center. Across the street, two uniformed policemen stood talking.

JK sat in the car while I went in to check how long the line was. A masked blond gal at the door asked my name and I also mentioned JK. Holding a clipboard, she crossed off both our names and waved toward the doorway to a huge gym.

“Is there a line?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No line. You are next!”

I turned and called over my shoulder, “I have to get JK.”

I did a run/walk to our Honda, waving. JK opened his door and peered at me over it.

I panted, “We’re next!”

Closing the door, he joined me on the sidewalk and we hurried toward the center.

Inside at the clipboard woman, I pointed to my husband. “This is JK.”

She nodded.

The center’s highly polished wood basketball floor gleamed as I paused at the door-way wondering where to go. Across the floor at the opposite side, two women waved at us. Behind us the clipboard blond spoke. “Go to those nurses who are waving.”

Two men were seated in chairs at each end of a long table getting shots. Before we were half-way across the wide floor, both stood, pulled on jackets and left.




Nurses give shot at both ends of a long table.

Arriving at the two-nurse table, JK sat at one end and I sat at the other. My twenties-looking nurse with a ponytail asked, “Which arm?”

“Left is best.” I pulled off my windbreaker and sweat-shirt jacket then drew up my lose knit long-sleeved “shot shirt.” Before I could even prepare myself, it was over.

“Good job!” I told the woman, “I’ll give you an “A!” She smiled. “That’s good to hear.” She handed me a white index-sized card. She pointed to a sticker. “This is the vaccine you got today.” Flipping the card, she pointed and added, “Here’s your appointment to return in three weeks. Come back here at the same time you did today.”

From the corner of my eye I saw JK walking toward me. I tucked my card in my purse and gathered up my jacket and sweatshirt. As I stepped toward JK, another man started crossing toward these nurses.

As JK and I took a few steps he said, “We have to wait fifteen minutes.”

Right! I nodded. He pointed at white stacking chairs set in socially-distanced twos and threes. (I had seen those chairs and people sitting in them, but only now realized what was happening there.)

JK waits after his shot.

We chose a pair and I plunked down. Suddenly I recalled I had only one photo to document this adventure. I stood and snapped a shot of JK. I felt barely settled, when JK said, “Let’s go.”

As we drove away, I waved at the policemen were still at their post. I’m glad they were not needed to keep order. At least this vaccination site was prepared “just in case…”

We are blessed.

Frances Fritzie
  • CORRECTION: The CVS “shot shack” I mentioned in January ‘21 now has a sign on it stating it is for COVID 19 TESTING! <Sigh> Maybe it will also be used for later vaccinations. Only time will tell!

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