I spent the weekend with Jessica while Mom stayed in the mountains and ate Bon Bons. I did “Dad” stuff like rearrange furniture, help her move some stuff into storage, and watch the delivery guys deliver a dresser and nightstand for the nursery. She then spent the afternoon with two of her buddies in the nursery, laughing and cutting up. We took Regan, her dog, on long walks and wore the old pup out (she’s now an eight year old). A fun weekend. Mom is visiting next month for the “real fun” such as shopping for maternity clothes and baby stuff. I will then eat Bon Bons here in the mountains. I will not miss shopping.
The highlight this weekend was Jessica getting her H1N1 shot, complete in a lesser-served neighborhood on Sunday AM. The Denver Health Department was holding an H1N1 Clinic, so there we go. Her OB/GYN and GP were not in “large enough” practices to sign up to receive the vaccine directly, thus Jessica’s dependence on the Public Health Delivery System. It was a very Kafkaesque and Orwellian experience.
In line at Seven AM for the “Doors Open” at Eight AM, eight police cruisers with two officers per cruiser, Clinic security, Hospital security, Health Department security, Hired Security......But no SWAT Teams with Attack Dogs (unless they were hidden on a side street). They obviously expected the pregnant women and children to riot, or maybe raise their voices. There was even an area roped off for the media. The “Media Staging Area”. It was empty. No cameras, recording devices or the like were allowed inside the clinic.
So, we’re in the “Five-Points” or “Five-Corners” residential neighborhood of Denver, never a great area, even when brand new in the 1860’s, and once the center of jazz in Denver...............at a Level One HC Clinic run by a local hospital, to help keep the lesser served and uninsured away from their “Cake Walk” hospitals and Level Four Facilities, in a line that stretches around the block. The line is comprised of a very diverse group: Pregnant women with their husbands, boyfriends or parents, and a whole passel full of urchins of all ages and all colors except white (generally, to avoid a charge of racism) and whole cities full of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth cousins............first cousins once removed, twice removed, trice removed.............all of who, for all urchins, were the requisite care-givers of a “Priority One” vaccine recipient. Pregnant women of color also had entire cities of caregivers for them. Even a couple of husbands. Now, mind you, Mom and I had our H1N1 as a two-category “Priority One” patients from our Internal Specialist in the previous week, so I didn’t want another H1N1. So, about every 15 minutes an “Official” with a fancy lime green or day-glo orange security or safety vest comes by with a clip board and nods and keeps walking, or maybe hands out forms (“Official Paperwork”) to fill out with pens on a clip-board, or collects the clipboards and pens, all the while we’re washing our hands with antiseptic hand crème.........Jessica does not allow me to tell Obama or Biden jokes. Jessica is narrow minded. Jessica is also smart, so I am alive to tell this story.
As a matter of interest in popular culture, in the Krazy Kripples episode of South Park, Timmy and Jimmy go to Five Points and join the Crips. We did not see Timmy or Jimmy or any Crips.
Occasionally a real geeky cute little Jewish looking fella with wire-rim glasses and thinning curly hair in a long white lab coat walks by (“Where is your Yarmulke, Sir?”), with an entourage of “bouncers” in lime green traffic control vests labeled “Denver Health Department Environment Control”.....they look real serious and never, never, stop to speak with anyone. “Environment Control”?................Really?...........***?... .....You control the environment, in your cute little lime green vests?..........The line never moves, sometimes a clip-board comes by, talks to someone, and then they are required to leave. No one with a clip-board talks, unless someone leaves the line. Please do not stop and talk to us. It is like The Trial
. No progress, no explanation. Sometimes folks with Orange Vests come by with clipboards looking real serious. No smiles. I want to slip back to the Suburban and slip on my shiny silver Bio-Hazard Suit and Stainless Steel Fogger and run up and down the line misting everyone in line.................That might make the line move.
The line begins to move. At a glacial pace. More vests, funny looking lab coat curly haired yarmulke free Jewish Doctor, security folk drift past. The sky is a somber gray, low, but non-threatening clouds drift past. Although the line now moves, we never see anyone leave the clinic. No one leaves. Soylent Green
. Charlton Hesston. It is organic, and it is green. Al Gore would be proud of Soylent Green. Al would probably sell Soylent Green. He’d be the TV “Pitch Man”, although Billy Mays might have been better, he’s dead. Poor Billy. Lucky Al.
We’re finally to the doors. Inside. More rules. We hear kids crying, screaming. Jessica moves to a Vaccine Station. Young man reviews the Official Paperwork. Complete. Smiles. Dispenses vaccine. Jessica does not cry or scream. Jessica does not get a smiley face sucker. Jessica needs to pee. We skip the bathrooms in the Five-Corners Health Care Clinic. One hour and forty five minutes later, we have removed ourselves from the land of Kafka, Orwell, Charlton Hesston, Obama and Socialized Medicine. We go get breakfast downtown. Jessica pees. She smiles. Smiles all around. Young folks. Old folks. No kids. No crying. No lime- green or day-glo orange vests or clip boards. We do not have Soylent Green. Life is good.