A shot in the arm, bodily elimination and a mask upgrade

So much to report.

Not really,¬† yet I’ll give it a go because…why not?

I got my first shot yesterday afternoon at a Duane Reade in the theater district. I was greeted by a jolly large teddy bear type of guy who reviewed the forms I’d brought with me, OK’d them and had me sign something. He told me he was sort of “the bouncer” for the vaccination. I informed him he was the nicest bouncer I’d ever met.

Now I’m feeling a little guilty because I don’t think I’ve ever met a bouncer. Did I overdo it?

Back at the pharmacy area where the shots were being given (in a private room), I joined a small collection of elderly people some of whom had younger relatives as escorts, although nobody seemed feeble or demented enough to require an escort. The younger escorts made sporadic shows of their care-taking efficiency, bustling around and saying things like, “Dad, sit down!” while Dad said, “I don’t want to sit down.”

Hey ho. Without an escort’s command, I sat in a chair and looked around. A series of nearby shelves had products concerned with the lower parts of our bodies dedicated to waste disposal: large boxes of adult diapers (including several addressed particularly to males), colon cleansers, gas, diarrhea and constipation considerations. So many of them —¬† and so many, as you’ll observe, at cross-purposes with the others.

When I told my sister, Doctor Deb, about it she said the store probably specifically stocked the shelves nearest the shots to poke elderly shot seekers into a “while you’re here, let us remind you about your need for adult diapers.”

I transferred my amusement to some cute little packages with colorful emojis, although¬† never looked close enough to learn what was in them. The store’s PA system once asked for a manager to come to housewares; then it asked for a manager to come to “liquor.” Duane Reade does sell wine but does wine count as “liquor”? (No announcement was made regarding Krispy Kreme Donuts. They are more or less self-help.)

Shot One (Pfizer, which was a surprise; I thought it would be Moderna) was administered by a man in a white coat. “Do you need me to stick around for a while?” I asked him post-shot; that was the rumor. Or, as my brother described it, “In case I pass out.” “Oh, you could sit down for fifteen minutes and then if you’re feeling OK, you can leave. If you don’t feel OK, just raise your hand and we’ll come to help.”

“Or,” I offered, “I could scream.”

I didn’t need to stay for fifteen minutes. (Nor did I scream.)

Yes, my arm aches, less because of the vaccine itself than because the man brandishing the syringe was not as experienced as are the RNs in my internist’s office. Which reminds me: when my niece, now a doctor, first got a job in a medical clinic years ago, she and the other newbies were immediately taught how to give shots. They practiced on oranges. The oranges did not offer critiques and within a day or so, the newbies were out there shooting people up.

Now, a mask improvement recommendation. I have a lung condition unrelated to COVID (although I’m cheering the vaccine on, in case it felt like supplementing its efforts against COVID with tinkering in my lungs), because of which wearing a mask has become really troublesome.

Then Hammacher Schlemmer came through again, as it has many, many times over the years. Its catalogue just introduced the Easy Breathing Under Mask Support (yeah, it’s not a zingy label but HS has a habit of naming products what they actually are and do). A small, light plastic cone, it clips inside your mask, pushing the mask out around your nostrils and mouth, thus giving your nose more breathing space.

At $20 bucks for three of them, I felt it was worth a go. And it works. I am now comfortable planning a walk further than four or so blocks, confident I won’t be passing out on street corners.

Now, half-vaxxed and re-masked, I’m thinking about an adventure. Maybe to Zabar’s?



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