…or, “What I did with my lunch hour yesterday that made my arms sore.”
I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a fan of low-horsepower socialism. The province I live in is one of the more socialist places in North America, is in fact where the notion of government-run healthcare came from, and yesterday’s innoculation experience is apt to confirm just about any preconception you care to name regarding that kind of a system.
The clinic was set up in a disused school (my wife’s high school, coincidentally enough). As one passed within, one received a form on which to print name and government health number, with a place to check which essentially declared you were aware you were having needles shoved into your arm and might not feel entirely well later, and whether there was some reason you might not want the shot (egg allergy is a big one).
Passing along the hallway, there was a room designated as pre-screening, where the poor misfits who couldn’t fill in the form properly got help, then another room with a sign saying “Screening.” The use of this word is not what context leads to believe, so I’ll return to it. Past the screening room, the school’s gymnasium had a dozen vaccination stations set up, and a half-dozen nurses occupying them (the other six were, I expect, off for lunch), and a few beds for fainty types. March over, hand the nurse the form, get the jab, two if you feel like you want the standard seasonal flu shot as well, and away to a waiting room where you’re asked not to go anywhere for fifteen minutes in case you discover you are in fact allergic to eggs.
The cost to me– the gas it took to get to the clinic (about eight blocks from work), the ink it took to fill in my form, and about forty minutes because the place was a little busy. Plus a slightly higher tax burden than someone in a more laissez-faire part of the world. I am entirely happy with that. As a bonus, my wife had taken my son for his second shot (infants get two spaced half-doses) so I got a mid-day cuddle. Because the vaccine was entirely in government control, I could no go in any sooner than yesterday, because I’m generally healthy and not of an age where H1N1 is as threatening as it is to some. My wife got hers early for health reasons, my son because he’s an infant. I’m a little less OK with that, since I was in a bit of a fidget over contagion the past couple of weeks, but I understand the need to keep the clinic from being swamped with robust pushy people while the chronically ill and otherwise susceptible are pushed aside by them.
The one thing that really struck me as odd is the thing that would get the strongly right-wing sort shouting, “See?! I told you it would be like that!” The screening room was nothing to do with deciding who should get the shots. The screening room had a fifteen foot screen at one end, with seven ranks of chairs set up facing it, each rank twelve seats across– a theatre. This was a flow control. Each rank would in turn be taken in for shots, so those who had got there first were known and given correct precedence. The weird thing was what was being screened– a loop of a woman explaining what we were there for, what was about to happen, what the side effects might be, and why it was a good thing to get vaccinations in general. It was Orwellian, to be honest, but a very low-grade and not particularly threatening form of Orwellian.
Of course, I’m on side. The rightist might well flee such indoctination. He might also, as a result, catch a nasty flu. Carrots and sticks, I suppose.
Today’s pen: Sheaffer Statesman touchdown
Today’s ink: Pelikan blue-black