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Adventures of Getting a Covid-19 Vaccination

Many people have been waiting for Covid-19 vaccinations, and a number of people have been able to get them. I know a few people who have got “the jab” as people call it. I know a few people who have even been fortunate enough to get both doses. There are many people who ought to get it, and it is hard waiting for it to be your turn. Of course, when my family qualified to get the vaccine, we wanted to receive it as soon as possible.

My family getting the first dose was an adventure from the start. It’s well known, that it is difficult in at least parts of Pennsylvania, to find a place to get the vaccine, even if a person qualifies. There are waiting lists, and if people are tech savvy; it is a big help. It took a lot of detective work on my mom’s part, along with networking (Facebook, and talking to people) and reading the news, to learn the most effective way to sign up. The Good Neighbor Pharmacy was the first place she checked. They had a sign-up form, but no vaccine available. My mom then found out about using the Well Span Patient Portal to schedule appointments by seeing it on an Adams County Facebook group. Initially we were able to book February 17th. This seemed good, but Mom discovered that sometimes if you were willing to travel farther away, you could get in sooner. My family was able to get appointments for the 1st of February by getting them at the hospital in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. We were willing to drive a distance to get the vaccine. The difficulty was that a few days later, the Weather Channel forecasted snow for that day. We weren’t sure if we would be able to get the shot due to road conditions, and we feared there was a possibility that the appointments would have to be rescheduled.

The next hurdle was that I ended up getting sick for several days, which might mean not being able to get the vaccination. The fear was losing our place on the list. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted to get it while sick. I had a low-grade fever of around ninety-nine degrees

Fahrenheit. Mom monitored my fever with a thermometer, and continually did so after I felt better, up until the day of the vaccination.

Closer to the time when it seemed like the snowstorm was likely, we decided we’d board the pets and make reservations for a hotel in Waynesboro. We were planning on going down the night before, and staying two days and coming back on the third. As long as the hospital kept giving shots, we knew we’d be there to receive them.

On January 31st, we boarded the animals. Seem easy? Think again. Boarding them was a worry of its own. It was done last minute (since we didn’t know if we could finagle the trip or not), it was a weekend and we have three pets. Also, when calling the kennel instead of talking to a person right away, one would have to wait for them to call back or email. On Sunday the snow came, and the roads to the kennel weren’t in the greatest shape, but the kennel could take our pets. From there we then had to drive home, and switch to our other car where we had everything for the trip loaded, and then we drove to Waynesboro. The roads seemed better over towards Chambersburg.

The hotel was an interesting story of its own. Dad did research online to find a hotel. Waynesboro being a small town had very few hotels in the borough. The purpose for staying in town was to be close by the hospital. Mom checked the hotel reviews and it looked okay, but it had a caveat. According to reviews, people thought the lighting in the rooms was dim. From past experience, we didn’t like hotels with poor lighting, so to remedy this we brought our own light bulbs from home to temporarily trade them out.

When we got to our hotel, we discovered we had been given some misinformation. When the hotel was booked, my parents thought it was next to a Long Horn Steakhouse and a Cracker Barrel. In reality, neither of these restaurants were there. It is believed that the information about the restaurants came from the Chambersburg location instead of the Waynesboro location. Since we wanted to get lunch first, we decided to find a restaurant and scope out the hospital so we knew where we were supposed to go the next day. We then tried to go to Pizza Hut for lunch. We weren’t able to unless we took the food back to the room because the dining room was closed. They also said they thought they’d be closing early due to the weather and wouldn’t deliver. So, we headed back towards the hotel looking for other restaurants. Nothing excited us and upon coming to the hotel, we decided to check in and take our belongings to our room.

The room was supposed to be non-smoking, but it smelled like stale cigarette smoke. It wasn’t that strong, but noticeable every time we would enter the room. We did notice the room had a microwave, and we knew of the refrigerator ahead of time. Mom had brought disinfectant, and cleaned all the light switches, door handles, and the refrigerator door before we headed out for lunch, just in case. We were glad we had brought lightbulbs.

I suggested driving to nearby Rouzerville, Pennsylvania for lunch as they have an Appleby’s, and it would be a pleasant place to sit down for lunch. We enjoyed a nice meal there. While there, I made a suggestion to stop at a drive-through to get supper to take back to the room. We could refrigerate it, reheat it, and then have it when we pleased, and wouldn’t have to worry about going out into the weather until the next day. Great plan!

After returning to the room, I texted with an old high school friend for a while, before settling down on my computer. One of my parents checked with the hospital to make sure that they would be still giving vaccinations the next day. They were, but would be closing early. Any appointment after 6:30 PM would be rescheduled. Ours were in the early afternoon so we were fine. My dad checked the weather, out of concern for getting up our driveway back home when it became covered in snow. He discovered that there would be a break in the snow from between 3:00 and 5:00 PM, and decided that if the roads weren’t bad, we would head home after the vaccine instead of staying the extra night.

The next morning Dad decided it would be okay to head home after we got our “jabs”. We grabbed lunch at the McDonald’s, and ate lunch in the parking lot of the hospital. We went in to the hospital early. Check in was smooth, and they took us early for our shots. We were given an information sheet, and found out that we were getting the Pfizer vaccine. The good thing about getting this vaccine, is that it only requires three weeks between the two doses compared to Moderna which requires four. We were asked a few questions before getting our jab in the upper arm. (People were told to wear short sleeve shirts on the day of the vaccine.) Before giving the shot, they put a “band-aid” on our upper arm. They were circular in shape, and had a clear center. They were put over the spot where the shot was administered right through it. The shots were quick and painless. The nurse that gave my parents their shots came in on her day off to help with fighting the pandemic. We were given an official card and a sticker, and were told to get our booster shot in three weeks, during a window of five days. We were required to wait fifteen minutes afterwards during which time Mom scheduled the appointments using the Patient Portal, and took our photos. What a relief it was to have our shots!

The trip back home wasn’t so nice. We had to wait quite a while in a traffic jam caused by an accident on snowy Interstate 81. While stuck in traffic, an impatient driver drove his truck over the shoulder of the road, and down a hill to try to get ahead. He seemed like he would get stuck as he was having trouble driving on the snow-covered grass below the highway. Eventually he drove out of sight. Later we saw him again; this time stuck in the snow and facing the fence that separated the grass between Interstate 81 and the side road running parallel. Some of the other roads weren’t in the greatest condition either. Closer to home, we also were faced with a few hills and poorer visibility. Fortunately, when we got back home, we were able to get the whole way up our driveway, and into the garage. This was one of Dad’s biggest fears. We were well-pleased with how the all-wheel drive on our new car handled in the snow.

Once at home, Dad and I cleared the driveway and walkways while Mom unpacked the vehicle and baked cinnamon buns for us. Snow was also cleared from the steps leading to the dogs’ outside area.

Tuesday, February 2nd, we picked up the dogs and cat. The roads weren’t spectacular, but were better than they would have been the day before.

This week’s Covid-19 trip is the kind of trip that inexperienced drivers would make when they were younger and didn’t know any better or that people would make who had a job and had no choice. Of course, with a giant motivator, the Covid-19 vaccine, and careful planning, we were able to go to the hospital in Waynesboro, and get the first part of the vaccination. On February 22nd we will be getting the booster shot and then by around March 4th we should be fully vaccinated. The process to get the vaccination started seemed difficult, but I am very glad that we were able to do it. This shows the importance and value of the vaccination that we went to such extremes to get it!

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