This was the stamp of approval I received Saturday while standing in line waiting to get the H1N1 flu shot. Sometimes it pays to have asthma.
I get a seasonal flu shot every year so it was a no-brainer to get an H1N1 shot, it was just a matter of when and where. None of my doctors’ offices are getting the vaccine so when I heard the city had gotten 5,000 doses for a free clinic this past weekend, I decided to go for it and wait in line first thing on Saturday. I’d heard stories about clinics in Chicago where people had waited two and as long as five hours to get a shot so I was mentally prepared to spend my entire Saturday waiting in line, hoping to be one of the lucky 5,000. (There’s no telling when the city will receive more vaccines and since I’m flying over Thanksgiving, I figured the sooner the better to arm myself before passing through germ central (O’Hare airport) and getting on a flying petri dish. Plus, I know someone who’s had swine flu and it was no picnic.)
Thankfully, on Saturday the weather decided to grant us a belated Indian Summer with warmer temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures in the 60s (where the weekend before it had been in the 30s and 40s) and a line filled with families and their small children made for an almost festival atmosphere. (Hint: all you sidewalk musicians busking at the Farmer’s Market? You should have been entertaining in the high school parking lot. You would have had a grateful (and captive) audience.) Considering we were all waiting to be infected with the flu, the atmosphere was light-hearted and friendly.
The 2-1/2 hours I waited in line passed quickly. I brought a book to read but never cracked it open. Instead, I chatted with a friendly couple waiting with their seven-month-old son. I saw a few old friends and we killed time catching up and there was a handful of friendly faces from JD’s school and Wiggleworms.
All in all, it was relatively painless–pun intended. I learned that the earliest folks in line had been there since 6 a.m.; I was out by 11, having only had to wait since 8:30 so I was glad for that. The process from door-to-door (checking IDs, stamping the hand for those okay’d to get the shot, filling out a simple form, getting the jab, and then outtake) took less than thirty minutes. Afterward, I spent a lovely hour walking home on an absolutely gorgeous fall day.