Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Covid vaccine.’ I ask my Dad if he wants one and he practically jumps out of his Lay-Z-Boy. (Not an easy task.)

ABSOLUTELY he wanted one!

So I call the number back, have to complete a 15-minute auto-response survey pressing buttons 1 or 2 before being transferred to an actual human being who sets the appointment. They tell me the Elkhorn and Burlington hospitals are way backed up and he’ll be dead before they can fit him in
; however, there is a new site in Milwaukee at the Advocate Aurora Health Care Center in Walker’s Point like THE. NEXT. DAY! I think to myself, 'huh. Walker’s Point. An hour away – how bad can it be?' and sign him up.
I announce he has to wear a t-shirt and bring his ID and face mask and that we're leaving at 8:00 am today to get his Covid vaccine. The man is absolutely giddy with excitement.
Until this morning when he asks which hospital we're going to. For the next 55-minutes I listen to him repeating over and over what a stupid waste of gas this is and how I should’ve told the lady working in the scheduling department that there would be space in Elkhorn if Biden didn’t let the god damn illegals in because that’s whose getting all the vaccines.
I grip the steering wheel a tad tighter.
We get to the clinic and park. It’s an old converted warehouse that is gorgeously remodeled. However, he’s commenting on the “trash” on the side of the buildings surrounding us. “Some people refer to that as commissioned street art, Dad.” “Well, it’s stupid!” he declares.
Walking out of the building as we come shuffling up to it is an elderly man with a cane and the cutest hat I’ve ever seen, accompanied by his tiny, 80-pound elderly wife. The man lifts up his hand in a wave and says to my Dad cheerily, “go get your shot!” To which my dad angrily spits back “that’s what I’m doing!”
Undeterred, the happy stranger asks my Dad if this is his first or second shot. My Dad spits back, “first!” Like he’s accusing the guy of being a thief. Happy stranger says congratulations and good luck, my Dad ignores him (as he was the entire time) and I follow-up with a sweet congratulations of my own, telling the happy stranger I will pray he has no side effects and that I am so happy for him! (See Dad, that’s what being nice looks like.) The happy stranger waves and tells us to have a great day! I wonder how much wine I'd have to give to the workers in the nursing home if God forbid my father ever needs to go there.
Anyway, we get inside without any further hassle (i.e., happy people) and have absolutely no wait. Dad is shown to a chair where two nurses sit. They check his ID and begin their spiel, at the end of which the sweet nurse asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”
And my father responds: “yeah, why'd they rename the Brewer’s Stadium? That’s just stupid! No one’s going to call it the American Family Stadium!”
“Dad! They aren’t in charge of renaming the stadium!”
Nurse: “Oh! Are you a baseball fan?”
Dad: “No.” (As if that is the most asinine assumption anyone could ever come up with. He would have handled being asked if he was a drag queen with more decorum.)
I start laughing – because what else can I do - this is what I have to contend with. “Are you ready for your shot, Dad?”
After the shot you’re supposed to wait for 15-minutes to make sure you don’t die. But none of the chairs in the place have arm rests which he needs to help push himself up from in order to get out of the chair. The average age of the vaccine recipients are 87-years old and none of them can get out of the chairs. Instead of sitting he walks.
WE walk.
Around the entire perimeter of the waiting area.
Step. …
Step. …
Step. …
Step. ...
In 15-minutes we took only 47-steps.
The entire time he’s bad-mouthing the converted warehouse we're in (which looked amazing, by the way) because they have to raise prices at the hospital to cover the cost of what it must be to heat the place and there should be a law that doctor offices and insurance companies are only allowed small buildings. (Okay; I confess, I'm with him on the insurance companies. Some of those office buildings are ridiculous!) And then we're back on to the subject of the idiotic renaming of the Brewer's Stadium.
I finally get him shuttled back to the car and we’re on our way back.
At this point I am emotionally exhausted.
I need to stop for gas. I figure that at least gives me a few minutes to breathe in the fueled aroma. Maybe I even have a chance of achieving a slight high. I could use a little relaxing. As I’m headed toward the highway exit (read: going very, very fast) my dad is attempting to dig into his back pocket for his wallet. His arm is about to break off, the seat belt is threatening to choke him and I’m like “Dad! You don’t have to give me money. I have enough money! What are you doing?" but he’s insisting and I’m all “stop moving! You’re making things worse and I’m not going to be able to untangle you!”
For the love. I just want to go home.
We’re back on the road and I'm practicing the breathing techniques I learned in birthing class.

About 15-minutes from home, cruise control set to 75, he opens his coat and pulls out a white plastic envelope thing from the breast pocket on the inside of his coat and hands it to me saying “we have to stop at Poplar’s.” (His local doctor.)
Holding the envelope I say, “Okay. What is it?”

"My stool sample."

2 comments:

Theresa said...

Bah! I'm dying, too funny ( I mean reading that is... hats off to you for being such a patient daughter!)

Christa S said...

That makes me laugh for REAL, my grandpa was, I swear, the same man. You are awesome, and love that you showed him an example of what nice looks like. May you be blessed for your understandably strained efforts ;)

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...