Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flu Shots in the Information Age

I admit it. I'm a queasy, uneasy traveler. I slam Airborne and Immunocomp before and after any plane ride. And my impending trip to Baton Rouge, being cooped in a tin can for strangers for hours on end is making me extra nervous with all the Swine* flu and the regular flu being so bad this year. I've had several friends hospitalized with one or the other variety and my little cousins in Denham Springs, LA have the Swine.

I got my flu shot back in September but have been really upset over the lack of Swine shots available here. When you could find them, the lines were 8 hours long! Not with my feet! Plus standing line with that many people is enough make you sick!

Then the other day, I heard on Good Morning America that Google was working with health departments across the country to help people locate whichever type of shot they required. The doctor on the show used California and Arkansas as an example. California communicates well with Google and there are lots of locations and information online. Arkansas does not...

So I tried the link Google.com/flushot and was amazed to fine a Swine flu shot clinic in the park nearby last weekend. I called and yes, it was happening.

I decided to try and find one for my mom in Baton Rouge. I googled her zipcode and there was one going on that day...for another 54 minutes!I got on the office phone and told Mom where to go and used the home phone to find out what info she needed and how much, etc. She needed her doctor's address and I phoned her in the store and she got her shot. Whew!

My experience here in town on Saturday was not so pleasant. I somehow got it in my head it was at the Senior Center. I drove there and parked in front, noticing lots of cars around the park. As I got out of the car, I noticed the line across the park at the rec center... It went down the center of the park and wrapped about 50 feet down the sidewalk toward the post office! NO FREAKING WAY! I left.

After a long coffee with the BFF, I drove back by. The line was maybe 10 feet shorter. So I ran some errands...and it was 30 feet shorter. I came home, worked on the pool (forever out of something since the Station fire!), ate lunch and fell asleep on the sofa. I awoke with a start around 1:20. I sat straight up and yelled at myself, "GO NOW!!!"

The line was maybe 10 feet long and moving fast! I was amazed at the operation the LA County Health Department had put on... people directing traffic throughout the park. Several handing out the forms to fill out. A table of 20 or so that double checked the forms, another table of 20 making sure people understood their forms. Lots of hand sanitizer everywhere. More people directing us to one of 20 nurses stations filled with the Swine injection and nasal spray, band aids, alcohol, cotton balls and sharps containers. Wipe, prick, band aid, done!

My left arm did hurt the rest of the day...never had that reaction before. But it was fine on Sunday.

So, I'm de-swined and ready to travel.

*Note to the Federal Government: If you want to change the name of something...make sure the new name is no longer than the old name! Economy of words, people!!! H1N1 is FOUR times longer than the word swine in conversation.


Becky said...

No H1N1 available here and they told me it would be another 30-45 days. Maybe I should fly out to see you.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

we have another clinic this weekend!

Snowbrush said...

I got vaccines for pneumonia, swine flu, and shingles on the same day and had no ill effects from any of them. I'm glad you were able to get your swine flu shot too.

Anonymous said...

I had a mini-flu about three days after I got the regular flu shot, but felt better the next day. We haven't gotten swine flu shots yet because here they're still giving them out to the high-risk people first.

Take Vitamin C! that's helped me, I think.