DY: In Just a Few Words (#13)
Today is a very, very good day.
I want to share a very important experience I hope will inspire every reader of this blog.
Today is like Christmas with a touch of Thanksgiving and an early birthday celebration added for good measure. My Christmas gift is that I got my first COVID-19 vaccine shot this morning. Representing Thanksgiving is the fact I’m scheduled and all set for the second and final shot in four weeks. And, the icing on the birthday cake is that my arm feels fine. Is this a great day or what?
As I celebrate my good fortune, I remember with sadness and respect that more than 400,000 of my fellow U.S. citizens have died from COVID-19 and that right now more than 120,000 are hospitalized, many struggling to breathe and all fighting for their lives.
I’m going to work very hard not to get over-confident. Shot #1 is not a cure-all. It’s the opening salvo against the pandemic. And even Shot #2 doesn’t guarantee total immunity forever. It’s a huge step forward, but there’s work still to be done -- especially continuing with social distancing and wearing a mask for the foreseeable future. I will continue to mask up and avoid hugging you. Please control yourself and avoid trying to hug me.
Leading up to today, I thought a lot about the absolutely wonderful job our government at multiple levels has done to give everyone clear information about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine. Think about how difficult a pandemic would be if there was any confusion. In addition to providing us with clear, easy-to-understand, factually based information, the feds did something else that was spot-on. They off-loaded implementation to state governments. The states in turn delegated responsibility to counties. Next on the assignment list were cities. Then entities like hospitals, clinics, schools, churches and so on. All the way down the responsibility food chain at each level was the order to develop a plan to make it happen where you are.
America now has hundreds - if not thousands - of plans to deal with the pandemic. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one yet, help is on the way. An official COVID Attack Plan is coming to a theater near you. I don’t think you can ever have too many plans. The last thing any of us should ever want is one simple template with very few instructions and the same crystal clear information that everyone understands and uses. It’s sort of like raising children. If you give them everything they want exactly when they want it, they will never appreciate the value. On the other hand, making them work for what they want generates ownership and gratitude. I’m exhausted from the work, but I’ve never been more grateful.
Facetiousness aside, Karen and I lucked into someone who is doing it right - University Hospitals of Cleveland. As our search for a vaccine shot went on, we decided to put our name on as many lists as we could. You should do that, too. We registered with our county, a couple of surrounding counties where we don’t live, a drugstore chain, a couple of hospitals, etc.
Our regular healthcare provider (not UH) put out a communication a few days ago saying demand exceeded supply by just a little bit. At the time, they had about 3,400 doses for 80,000 people in our category. Their advice to patients is to be, well, patient. Loyalty aside for the very good care they have provided in the past, we moved on in this instance, rolled the dice and contacted UH. We got right through and were scheduled. Expand the search outside your normal comfort zone.
Fast forward to this morning and into a UH building we walked. We were greeted immediately by a friendly face who directed us to a check-in desk. We were about 20 minutes early for Karen’s appointment and 30 for mine. They took down some information, verified our age and insurance and whisked us right through to a large room surrounded by work stations that had been set up for the purpose of dispensing the shot. A few more questions, the medic gave us the shot and we were sent to another area with socially distanced chairs where we sat for 15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have a negative reaction to the shot.
We left the building at 9:19 a.m., nine minutes after my appointment and 19 after Karen’s had been scheduled. Everything from start to finish was well organized, welcoming and just the opposite of what we’ve been seeing on TV. This all happened in the first hour-and-a-half of the first day of UH dispensing shots to the public. University Hospitals had done its homework. The process was seamless.
Hats off to University Hospitals. You were totally responsive and I am eternally thankful for that. Did I mention my 81-year-old arm feels just fine?
I hope this story peps everyone up a bit. We all need to hear about positive experiences on cold and cloudy January days. Keep the faith. There’s light at the end of the tunnel and if you get yourself scheduled for the vaccine, that light will no longer be a train coming at you.
If this isn’t good news, I don’t know what is.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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