A SHOT IN THE ARM
A long time ago, doctors made house calls, meaning it was fairly common to roll up your sleeve and receive a shot while hunkered down at home in your pajamas. When we were kids, our family physician was Dr. Seidenstein, an affable neighbor of my grandparents. “Doc” had a home office, but was more of a frequent visitor to our house where four children traded germs and malaises with abandon. It seemed that as soon as one of us was recovering from the latest ailment, someone else was coming down with it. My mother was in charge of temperatures, dispensing chewable aspirin as needed or simply placing a cool hand on a feverish brow. She doled out Smith Brothers cherry cough drops, Aspergum, and Sucrets in moderation and opened fresh boxes of Kleenex with calm precision. You knew you were really sick when the black and white television was wheeled into your bedroom so you could watch cartoons, or Captain Kangaroo, or I Love Lucy. Doc was a nice enough fellow, but the sight of him and his black leather medical bag making his way down the sidewalk sent me hiding beneath the covers. I always assumed his visits would culminate with a dose of penicillin administered via hypodermic needle followed by a chalky, cherry-tasting prescription. I was rarely wrong.
House calls have been replaced by urgent care centers and routine vaccinations are often in full view of a pharmacy check-out line; the one that sends you home with miles of receipts. Doctor’s visits have been forever changed by the pandemic and are more commonly conducted via a computer screen rather than in person. My long-awaited, highly coveted first dose of the Moderna vaccine recently became a reality. Keeping a respectful distance, I meandered through a now defunct department store that had been revamped into a vaccination site, repeating my pertinent information to a series of enthusiastic volunteers. Weaving in and out of makeshift barricades, I arrived at the final checkpoint where I was ushered into Cubicle Number 6 and asked to roll up my sleeve. In four weeks I'll be back for the second dose, because hiding under the covers is no longer an option.
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm