|The Kansas City Star news
Elvis better be at end of flu line
By Stacey Hatton
Saturday,December 12, 2009
Edition: METROPOLITAN, Section: JOHNSON COUNTY, Page 2
What’s worse than a three-hour car ride to Omaha with carsick toddlers, or your legs after running a three-hour marathon? What’s more painful than a three-hour root canal?
If you spent Halloween morning winding down the sidewalks outside the Johnson County Health Department, you know the answer: waiting in line for three hours to get your young children vaccinated for the H1N1.
Now, I am not bad-mouthing the department’s work. I truly believe the health department did a magnificent job. They didn’t have a Black Friday disaster. No one trampled anyone, which is a plus. It was a well executed event for approximately 1,900 of my now closest friends.
My only advice for any future events is maybe put up a movie screen and project Sesame Street episodes back to back. If you really want to win ‘em over, have Mr. Stinky Feet and Funky Mama singing in shifts in the parking lot. (Snacks and diaper stations would be fabulous also, but who would expect children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years would need to “use the facilities” while waiting in 46 degree weather for three hours?)
But really, I’m not complaining.
The morning started off with a bang. First crazy rumors started flying that a handful of perky mommies had started the line before 6 a.m. when doors weren’t to open until 7:45. I have no idea if this was true. I couldn’t even see the beginning of the line from my coveted place. At 6 a.m., I was trying to haul myself out of bed to pack my U-Haul wagon full of activities with the anticipation I would be waiting an hour. Major under estimation!
I did see others faring worse than I was, however. Several parents just pulled their infant up out of the car seat — maybe with a blanket, if they were thinking — with no stroller or diaper bag Can you imagine? Being stuck in line, holding your child in your arms, thinking it was going to be a quick affair and no diapers, snacks, bottles or line stand-ins?
After only a fraction of an hour, officials from a race said we had to clear the sidewalk for the runners to get through. Didn’t they know who we were? I’m pretty sure H1N1 groupies trump runners for sidewalk space. And, Mr. Race Man, have you looked at this line? No one has stood in a line like this since the Great Depression! I hope Elvis is behind those doors!
Then to make things even more interesting, nearby businesses started towing cars off their property. It wasn’t even 8:15 yet. Thankfully, police came around announcing on the bull horn we needed to move cars in various lots. I heard people saying they would rather have their car towed than risk the chance of not getting the H1N1 shot. I could see their point.
This brings me to the overall fear which slowly crept up on all of us. The question was, “What if I get to the front of the line, and the Seinfeld sitcom’s Soup Nazi was there dealing out the shots! “No flu for you!” How disappointing would that be?
Fortunately, we got immunized.
Later that evening when my friend and I were trick-or-treating with our kids, she disclosed to me she took her little one up to the same clinic 15 minutes before it closed that afternoon. She just walked through the doors, and within several minutes her kid was immunized.
“What?!” I nearly pulled a Black Friday on her, but lucky for her, she’s a good friend.
Stacey Hatton is a freelance writer who lives in Overland Park.
©2010, Hatton. All rights reserved.