I half expected what would happen. Less than twenty-four hours after booking an appointment on line for my first Covid jab, my GP surgery telephoned to offer me an appointment there on Saturday. What did I want to do?
the caller asked me.
I do hate having to make decisions over the phone at a moment’s notice. Whatever decision I take, I know I will spend the rest of the
day worrying whether I have come to the right conclusion, whether the reasons for said decision are sensible and based on fact or fiction, whether I will come to regret it. Which was completely ridiculous in this case because, whichever appointment I plumped
for, I would end up with my jab jabbed.
Reader, I decided to stay with my already booked appointment, which was this afternoon at the Brighton Centre. My
reasoning (such as it was) included the fact that it was two days earlier, giving me a weekend to get over any adverse effects before Mr B (every finger and toe crossed) comes home on Monday. I’m not planning to have any adverse effects, you understand,
just playing safe. At the back of my mind I was also not exactly sure how I would cancel my Brighton appointment and didn’t want to inadvertently become one of those people who waste the valuable time of medical professionals by not turning up to appointments.
There was another reason which you may, or may not appreciate. Had I attended the appointment at my GP surgery on Saturday, it would have been a bit like having my annual
flu jab, or ten weekly B12 injection. Attending a mass vaccination centre felt more like being part of history. Fanciful, I know - but that’s how it seemed to me.
Having taken the first decision, I was then presented with another question - how to get to Brighton. The choices seemed to be (i) by car; (ii) by bus; or (iii) by train. I dismissed the bus idea as taking far too long there and back and worried whether
my Grand Old Lady might play up, given that she seems to object to cold, wet weather. The train it would be, I determined, and having made up my mind started to feel quite excited about my Jolly Jaunt. You can tell that (like the rest of the nation) I don’t
get out much these days.
The train journey wasn’t quite as thrilling as I thought it would be. There were no other passengers, for a start, which was
A Good Thing in many ways but meant there were no conversations on which to eavesdrop. Plus having to wear a mask made my specs mist up so I couldn’t read my book properly. Was it such a good idea to let the train take the strain?
The Brighton Centre had been transformed into a mass vaccination centre run like a military operation. There were so many smiley volunteers, welcoming us, handing out explanatory
leaflets, sanitising any seat which somebody might have so much as hesitated by, directing us which way to go. I started off by thanking each one for volunteering but they were coming at me, one after the other, in droves and I ran out of steam in the end.
Next to one of around twenty desks, staffed by nurses taking down details and checking medical information. Then into the “Jab Centre” where my injection, administered by a friendly member of St John Ambulance, took no time at all. I was through
and out of the exit doors in not much more than twenty minutes, making my way back to the railway station. “That’s my jab jabbed!” I messaged the family. I knew they would all want to know.
On the train home, a message from granddaughter Eleanor, fresh from her day on placement at Worthing Hospital and on her way to East Worthing station. I was just two stations away - maybe we could wave at each other, her from
the platform, I from the train?
My train drew in at East Worthing and for a moment I thought we’d missed each other - but there she was, at the window, giving
me a thumbs up and smiling under her mask (the eyes have it, don’t you know?) “Love you, Nanni!” she called through the open doors, just before they closed. It was the very briefest of encounters but so very, very sweet.
A stranger who had entered the train appeared, socially distanced, at my side. “I have to tell you,” he said, “that I just watched her running uphill as fast as
she could - I thought she was worried that she’d miss the train, then I realised she was worried she would miss you!” You won’t be surprised to hear that I came over all unnecessary...
I’m so very glad I decided to take the train...