Saturday, October 11, 2008

Goldfish Shoals Nibbling At My Toes

Topaz and Drusy cannot believe their sensitive ears!

Thursday, Pete went to the doctor and discovered that though he works in a toy store with children his insurance does not cover a flu shot. When I got home, he told me his doctor said it would be cheaper if he went to Costco. I stared at him like he was speaking Urdu, certain I'd misheard. Costco? What? On Thursdays, Pete and I work evening hours at the family stores, so figuring out what was going on took on a certain urgency. I had 90 minutes.

I called Costco and asked about flu shots. The woman who answered said there was a line by the pharmacy, it moved quickly, and though there were no guarantees we should be able to get a shot within half an hour. Pete and I looked at each other, gathered everything we'd need for work and jumped into the car, despite the feeling that we were driving into Bizarro Land.

At Costco, we marched with great purpose to the pharmacy and ran down almost zero little old ladies. I mean, they had it coming. Anyway, at the pharmacy, I didn't see anything that made sense to me, so I made eye contact with a person waiting in line and said, "Are you waiting for a flu shot?" She pointed behind her to the intersection of dog food and fabric softener. Pete and I turned the corner and found three tables, six workers, buckets of needles and the deadest of dead-end Costco customers in a blessedly brief line. A blue-haired lady at a table parked in front of bales of kibble squawked, "It's $20 unless you have Aetna! Do you have Aetna?" over and over.

Pete does not have Aetna, but he did have $10. I rummaged through my book bag until I found ten softly rumpled singles. Pete took a clipboard and filled out a form that asked little more about him than where he lived or if he'd ever had a fatal allergic reaction to drugs. Reading over his shoulder, I frowned. He sat down and got a shot. The blue-haired lady who stuck him made him promise he'd walk around the giant warehouse for 15 minutes, so if he had one of those fatal allergic reactions, we could all learn our lesson.

I now know more about bacon-wrapped scallops than I'd like to admit. Pete did not keel over, so we went to work and today, Pete has that touch of flu one gets after a flu shot. It's disappointing, but he doesn't fall asleep long enough for me to draw pictures on him with Magic Markers. The exciting thing is that I'm getting mine next week, lather, rinse, repeat. I'm hiding the Magic Markers.

It makes no sense to me that the bulk merchandise warehouse sells flu shots but doctors' offices can't administer innoculations because insurance companies decide who gets one by criteria that have little to do with the patients' needs. My doctor laughed at me when I said I never imagined I'd need a flu shot. The Stop & Shop three blocks from my house is holding clinics. What's wrong with this picture?

I can only guess what's going on but I don't like it, so here's a present. It's one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows Red Dwarf. The episode is called Holoship. The confusion feels ...familiar.



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