We walked to the pharmacy on Wednesday for my vaccine appointment. We scheduled it because the pharmacy in question is only a short 20 minute walk from us. And I figured I also needed the exercise. You see, I haven’t been outside our apartment since Sept. 1, last year. Yes, that’s right. I have been shielding for the last eight months and, prior to that one trip out to see the doctor, I had been shielding for the previous six months as well.
First up, there was no way, given I’m in a high risk group, that I was going outside last year during the height of the pandemic when people were even more defiant about following protocols than they are now. And I had no desire to find out firsthand whether I’d survive COVID, or not. Add in that my partner was, by then, working from home, and we didn’t really need to go beyond our balcony or front door. We could order in most of the things we needed, including our groceries.
So, going outside for the first time in eight months, but knowing it was for a life-saving vaccine, made me quell most of my fears and use them instead as momentum. I double masked just to be safe, wore disposable gloves, carried a small bottle of hand sanitiser in my jacket pocket, and with my partner making sure I didn’t have an anxiety attack, we set off.
We were happy to see that most people (around 85%) wore masks, while the rest didn’t—more fool them taking that chance. What I was shocked at was the sheer number of people out and about, it was like we were all back to normal, and the traffic on the road? Where was everyone going? We’re in a red zone, in lockdown (again) so why were there so many outside? Needless to say, I have no idea.
At the pharmacy, appointments are in 15 minute blocks, not only because the nurse has to do all the paperwork first, but also, I assume, to stop people queueing or milling around. But that was beside the point given we were inside a large busy pharmacy where no one kept their distance, and we had to walk right through to the back to get to the tiny office being used by the nurse.
Not, IMHO, an ideal set-up. But still, they had set up spots on the floor, a waiting area with chairs 6 feet apart, and as the patient before us exited (as we arrived) we did see the nurse squirt cleaner on the chair the woman had been sat on.
All good so far. We were the only ones there then, with the nurse. I was happy with that.
What I wasn’t happy with was the fact she insisted that before I could get my short, I had to REMOVE my TWO MASKS in order to put a new one on.
I had a WTF moment and, sorry to say, wasn’t too polite in telling the nurse that was the stupidest idea I’d ever heard. Why take my TWO MASKS off in a busy area, thus exposing myself for however brief a few seconds it might be. In order to do what? Protect the nurse? Me? Seriously?
I did take the mask she offered and, defiantly, put it OVER the two I was already wearing and dared her to say anything as I took my seat.
Maybe I acted badly, maybe I over reacted, but she didn’t know me from Adam, and I certainly didn’t know her from Eve. And to ask me to change masks seemed, well, redundant.
Add to that fact my partner had to remind her after she had done all the paperwork, and asking me about any allergies, she should SANITISE her hands before picking up the needle and Moderna vaccine. Given all the surfaces she’d just touched, including an iffy keyboard. Then, after giving me my injection, she put a plaster on my arm and yes, I know, it’s standard practise. But I had just told her and emphasised the fact, I am allergic to plasters. They give me hives. But she went right ahead and stuck it on as my partner waved their arms franticly saying not too.
Even though it was only on for 30 minutes, the time to get home and take it off, I had a nasty rash all around the injection site. I had to slaver cortisone cream on and, even now, a day and a half later, still have a nasty red itchy arm. So much for this woman being a trained nurse who should know better. I doubt I’m the only person allergic to normal plasters.
I’m guessing we were not her favourite clients of the day. And probably hopes when we come back in August for my second shot, that she’s not on duty that day.
Well, I hope she isn’t either.