Monday, October 26, 2009

When the Rain is Blowing in Your Face. . .

And the whole world is on your case, I would recommend NOT trying to go to East Aurora High School to get the H1N1 vaccine at the free Kane County Health Department clinics. A friend at work warned me before I left, suggested what I will be getting into by trying to get one. She followed up the comment by letting me know it would be nothing compared to government run health care. I laugh now after today's experience. Jeremy, the kids and I loaded into the car and headed over to the high school to take care of business. What is normally a 4 minute drive took nearly 20 minutes. Once we got within viewing distance of the high school, it was made clear that there would be no parking allowed in the parking lots, or within a block of the school. So Jeremy dropped Miles and I off at the first place he could, and left with Maggie to park the car. Miles and I walked nearly 2 blocks, trying to figure out where we were supposed to be. With consent forms pre-filled out and signed in my hand, I wandered in the cold rain with my asthmatic baby, thinking I would be doing what was best for him. When we finally made it around the building, to what appeared to be the line, we stood in it for five minutes before finding out that we were in the wrong line. This was the second line. First we were to go to the Field House building and stand in line, in the rain to possiby receive a bracelet. I walked halfway through the lot we were in, headed toward the Field House line before I realized that the line was at least a block long. At that point, I gave up. I figured that I was more likely to get sick standing in the rain with my asthmatic self and my asthmatic baby, than I was by not getting the shot. I left the chaos of this "health department organized" shot clinic discouraged and upset by all involved in this shoddy plan. Here are a few tips for the Kane County Health Departments Future Clinics:

1. Signs are helpful -
People are like cattle. If you give them a little direction, they will go where you want them to.

2. Indoor waiting is acceptable -
Just a thought, but everyone in the high risk category is also put at risk by being out in the cold rain. For example, people with health problems such as mine, should probably try to keep warm and dry.

3. Assign parking lots -
Parking lots are for parking. Or at least thats what they used to be for. Trekking 2-3 blocks in the rain on top of standing in line is even harder for people with asthma.

4. Perhaps take a cue from DuPage County -Appointments ease chaos. If people can stagger their presence, it will make things easier for everyone. This survival of the fittest business is for animals.

5. Don't have clinics - If you make the shots available through doctors' offices you keep better control over the dispensal of the shots, ensuring that people getting them genuinely are in the high risk categories. Its a lot easier to lie to a questionnaire and get away with it, than to your doctor.

I am highly displeased by my experience with the Kane County Health Department, or better put, my lack of experience with them. As someone with a need for the shot, I walk away feeling let down by the health department and the government.

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