The Campbell's Take A Field Trip
We interrupt this tribute to unsung heroes of Abilene to detail the trip Elijah, Noah and I made yesterday.
It was recently announced that all children in day care or headstart programs must have a Hepatitis A vaccination on or before September 1. I called our pediatrician, the GREAT Tim Martin, who informed me they don't have the vaccine at the office -- I'll have to go to the Health Department.
So I loaded the boys in the minivan and we headed off to the other side of town for what I THOUGHT would be a quick visit. Uh............no. Instead, I began a two-hour journey into the Pit Of Despair (thanks to "Princess Bride" for that reference).
One would think that the HEALTH Department would office in a place that looks....well....HEALTHY! Instead, they office out of an old elementary school that could use a good scrubbing. But if it saves tax dollars, I can overlook that. As I coax the boys around the corner and up to the front door, we are accompanied by two Abilene Policemen and their "guest" -- a young, disheveled man, wearing an orange jumpsuit along with handcuffs on his wrists AND ankles. Nice! Elijah immediately asks, "Are you going to jail?" The only response is a slight chuckle from one of the officers.
As we walk in the front door (letting the convict in first), we are greeted by a nurse passing by the doorway who gestures with her hand and says, "Check in with her." Problem: There is no "her" to be found. So the boys and I stand there for a while when finally an elderly lady comes slowly from another room. She sits down at a chair behind a card table and asks how she can help me. "I'm here for a Hepatitis A vaccination for my sons," I replied. "Okay," she replied, "did you bring them with you?"
This is going to be a long morning.
I introduced my sons to her, and she gave me some paperwork to fill out. As I'm doing this, a blood-curdling scream comes from the room next to us...a scream that I would liken to something from a horror movie in which an unwary victim is being fed into a woodchipper feet first.
Elijah, already traumatized by the fact that he's getting a shot, looks at me with absolute terror in his eyes. I, too, am a little shaken up by what I've just heard. The nice lady senses the concern we are having and says, "Don't worry - it's just one of the people from the State School."
This is going to be a VERY long morning.
I finish my paperwork, take a number (we got "15"), and I'm directed to a waiting room. There are a slew of folding chairs scattered about the room, and people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds filling the room. In addition, there are (at first count) seven students from the State School, and (at first count) three chaperones. There's also a TV playing Disney Channel. Unfortunately, there is no sound coming from the set. I ask one of the nurses if she can fix the sound. She informs me that someone muted the sound, and now they are unable to unmute it. So the boys and I get to enjoy a stirring episode of Rolie Polie Olie with no sound.
About this time, I hear someone yell "THREE." Hey, that's great...we've only got 12 more to go! Fifteen minutes later, the same voice yells "FOUR."
I begin to contemplate the fact I may never see my wife again....
Somewhere between "NINE" and "TEN," Noah, whom I affectionately refer to as "Legion," becomes extremely antsy. So I go to get a stack of the registration forms and some pencils so he and Elijah can draw. While Noah is drawing, Elijah begins to engage in a staring match with some of the students from the State School. One of the "chaperones" nearby is also staring at Elijah. All of a sudden, the "chaperone" begins to flail his arms wildly, bob his head up and down, and giggle like a little boy. Elijah looks at me and says, "Daddy, there are some strange people getting shots today." As it turned out, two of the people I thought were chaperones were actually State School students. One chaperone for nine students?!?!?!? (As you'll find out later on, other people in the room were thinking, "They only sent one parent for those two little animals?!?!?!)
He then began to take an inventory of all the students in the room. "Daddy, why is that man wearing a football helmet? Daddy, why does that lady keep hopping up and down? Daddy why does that lady keep screaming? Daddy, why doesn't that man quit staring at me?"
I explained, "Sometimes people are born sick. And even though they have birthdays, and their bodies get bigger, they're always going to be two years old." So my 4-year old son, who is a great minister to me, said, "Daddy, we sure are lucky. Let's pray for mommy's baby to not be born sick like that." So we did...and daddy cried a bit.
Tomorrow (or whenever I carve out time to type), I will elaborate for both of you who read this, on our quest to actually GET a vaccination.