You know the stories about hard city streets where dealers sell drugs next to kids on the playground?
I kinda feel like I scored at the playground yesterday.
The dope? A swine flu shot.
For weeks, I've been checking the web site at my pediatrician's office for updates on H1N1 shots but every time I look I find the same answer: No word on when we're getting the vaccine.
And when they do get it? They're only giving it to kids ages 12-24 months.
Let's see.... that leaves five of the six members of our family unprotected.
Not liking those odds.
I got good news when Esme's school sent word they'd vaccinate her but at the same time I learned Josephine and Desmond's preschool won't.
Health officials declared H1N1 a pandemic months ago, the President declared it a national emergency a week ago, and friends and family talk in hushed whispers about the people they know laid flat - or worse - by this flu.
But I can't find anyone to vaccinate my kids - or me - and the clock is running.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Enter the Ladies of the Playground. We head to the school park every day because if my children were furry and four-footed they'd be Australian Sheepdogs. In other words, they need to RUN. Parents who don't know them frequently watch them run, jump, climb and play and say,"They'll sleep well tonight."
Not true. The only way they'll sleep well is if they run, jump, climb and play first thing in the morning, then after lunch, then at the park, then again when we get home. THEY. DO. NOT. TIRE. EASILY.
Anyway, we head to the park for their sanity, yes. But also for mine. I need to get out of the house and talk to people taller than three feet with something more interesting to say than "SHE WON'T SHARE! HE PUSHED ME! THAT'S MY TOY!"
In addition to good company and friendship, though, I also find information: New restaurants. Local politics. Fun classes. Preschool openings.
And on Wednesday, I learned about a clinic next to the local hospital giving out free H1N1 shots to parents and kids. No restrictions.
You mean I don't have to wait indefinitely until my pediatrician's office finally gets the supply? I don't have to wait hours on line outside our city health department like people are doing elsewhere in Maryland, Virginia and DC? I can simply call and make an appointment?
The mother told me 'Yes.' Another confirmed it. A third was incredulous. Just that morning she got turned away from a clinic in the neighboring county after they blew through their doses in less than an hour.
I made the call this morning and got a same-day appointment. I made a separate one for Kent next week when Esme gets hers.
This weekend, there's a free clinic planned at the local middle school and I bet - I KNOW - the demand will outstrip the supply. By a lot. Based on experiences elsewhere, I'm pretty sure there will be countless people left standing on a line wrapped around the building who are turned away without protection from a pandemic flu.
I'm sickened for them. But I'm also incredibly thankful we're not them.
I thank my playground drug connection.