Photographs and vaccinations

Today is odd. I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I’ve secreted the specially ordered photographs I printed via Boots online for my USA visa. Don’t do it, they’re printed remotely and shipped to your nearest store at great postal expense. I hurriedly copied the same photograph to my victualling USB and set off to have them printed in store at the self same Boots.

Money was needed in cash to pay for the Hepatitis B vaccination, the real reason for going into town. As I queued behind a gent who was very deliberately operating the self service photo kiosk; one of four that hadn’t crashed or run out of “printer ribbon”; I watched as he navigated the machine, learning the process in so doing. He printed two each of five photos and finished with a single copy of the sixth. Odd it seemed to me but no matter, he’d shown me how to drive the machine after all. When asking him to confirm his selection of photos to be printed he seemed puzzled and I noticed the single one not displayed on the page. He found the scrolling trigger on the touch screen and seemed satisfied when it showed him the next page in the itemised list. He agonizingly found the confirmation button hidden in the bottom right corner, coercing the printer into action. Out popped pictures of what might have been his granddaughter. He then proceeded to hog the machine while he checked the quality of each and every print. By this stage I’m done and asked him whether he was finished. He could only have been an accountant in a previous life.

Getting to the surgery, I dodged the queue and went straight for the check in computer. Remembering not to confuse my month of birth with day of birth on the second attempt it directed me to the “C” waiting room. This was navigated to via a full waiting room “A” within the labyrinth. Being the only one waiting in this room I turned to the only thing of interest, a poster on starting exercise. Getting only halfway down this comic book educational message Ali, the district nurse interrupted calling out my name. I spun round and greeted her explaining that I had only followed computer orders as she needed the vaccination paying for at the front desk and she led me there, she hesitated at seeing the queue but asked me to join it’s tail anyway, before going back to her with a receipt. The queue miraculously evaporated and found myself stood before the receptionist. I asked whether I could pay by card. The answer was cheque or cash only. I watched as she filled in a receipt in triplicate and rubber stamped my copy. When asking my name, she remembered that I was sailing round the world from a call I’d made a month ago booking the appointment. Me, now well impressed, couldn’t help but compare this service to that which I might receive in South Africa.

Back to waiting room “C” still alone I waited but a moment as nurses flitted through, one of whom had stabbed me three times with five vaccines. As I said “Hello”, Ali was back and led me into her chamber of torture. She quickly explained the course of three, a month apart under the accelerated protocol, and booked me for the next. The third to be done six months after that under normal conditions. She wore a tightly shorn hairstyle all white and spiked which conflicted with her dark eyebrows and smiling freckled face. I rolled up my sleeve as she unpacked the jab, knocked out the bubbles and asked that I present a shoulder. “No, not up but down,” against my body, “relaxed.” She warned that I should wait 15 mins before leaving. I asked whether I could drive and why the wait? Drive I could, and the wait in case of allergic reaction. I told her, I’d go and if anything happened I’d be back. To which she replied “If you get back before 12 we could do lunch.”


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