Blogs » Quixotic Quicksand » Calling the Shots


There’s probably only one time in a diabetic and/or asthmatic person’s life when he or she can actually benefit from having these chronic illnesses. That bittersweet time is the very beginning of flu shot season, when he or she is considered a high-risk, and therefore high-priority, vaccine recipient.

To reap the so-called benefit of having both conditions, I went to Walgreen’s on Friday to wait in line for my shot in the arm. From the moment I pulled into the parking lot, I knew I had a vexing time ahead of me: Cars were parked in the fire lanes. Cars were circling the lot like sharks, waiting to attack the next open space they smelled. Cars were, well, everywhere.

I found a space—although it was across the street at the Pattie Dodson Health Center—and apprehensively walked into the store. Armed with a textbook, I took a number and found a relatively uncrowded space to stand. I glanced down at my number, 250, and heard “Number 113, please come to the front for your shot.”

Sigh. It’s a good thing I brought some reading material…

Within moments, it seemed, my personal space became compromised by others who felt like standing close to me. Too close for my mental comfort. My germ-o-meter was pegging out with all of the coughing and sneezing that was infiltrating my breathing air.

Regretting not having taken a Xanax before embarking on this quest for better health, I watched people, listened to them, and tried my best not to take part in the mob psychology experiment that was transpiring. Strangers talked to strangers about their myriad health problems, their homes, their lives.

Over the course of the afternoon, people exaggerated the amount of time they’d been waiting. They panicked over unfounded reports of nationwide vaccine shortages. They incessantly pushed the buttons on the noise-making toys in the Halloween display. I winced.

Three hours later, I took my number to the front after being summoned and faced tired and frustrated healthcare personnel who were ready to go home. Even though they had suffered from the backlash of mob psychology more than I had, they patiently handled my paperwork and gave me the least painful flu shot I’ve received yet.


Now that that’s over, I can go back to abhorring my chronic illnesses. But at least I can do it without having to worry too much about coming down with yet another potentially fatal illness.