Monday, 1 February 2010

It’s up to you not to hear the call up

A couple of weeks ago I got a notification through the post informing my that it was my duty to go and have my Grippe A (swine-flu) jab, sometime within the next 10 days.

The piece of paper helpfully told me where I was to go to get my injection. Luckily it was in town, so I could walk there.

I set off on Friday morning, aiming to get there for 10am, giving them time to deal with the initial rush of eager dart boards.

It was a bitterly cold day, so I had a hat, gloves and a scarf on to supplement my big coat.

Of course the grippe A clinic was closed all day on Friday. I did my best Gallic shrug and headed home again.

Saturday morning saw me off up the road again. There were people milling about, so I thought that I was probably in for a wait.

I entered the building and followed the signs to the temporary clinic.

No one was at the reception desk, but I heard a whispered, “There’s someone there” and a young lady came to the desk and checked my paperwork.

I was given a form to fill in, a sheet with the properties of the drug which was being used, and a questionnaire which asked me questions like, “Have you read the information sheet on the drug” , “Did the nurse answer any questions that you had about the process”, do you give your consent to be vaccinated” etc etc. Sure enough I had a nurse appear at my side with a pen for the filling in of the form, and she hovered whilst I completed my form.

She tried out her English, which she had not practiced since she left school 40+ years ago. She liked the English language, but also spoke Spanish.

My next stop was to see the doctor, who asked me questions like, have you been ill recently and who also tried out his English.

I then met up with my nurse again and she duly injected me in my left shoulder, once she found out that I was right handed. She told me that only 10% of people had a reaction to the drug, and most experienced only minor discomfort.

On my way out, I handed over my paperwork again and received a vaccination certificate. I was the only member of the public in the clinic while I was there.

The clinics have now been closed and local doctors are taking over the vaccination program.

In the afternoon I went to the cinema to watch a film set in the early 1900’s about the rail service that ran between my town and St Girons. This railway line was later sold to another country and workmen from that country came, lifted the tracks etc and took them away.

It is now a cycle / footpath, under which the new highway, the information highway fibre optic cable runs.

No I am not in to trains, but the proceeds were to go the the Haiti relief fund.

I trundled along and took a seat towards the front of the cinema.

A sheet of wood, covered with a red cloth had been placed on top of some of the chairs and a small DVD player and digital projector perched there, waiting for the off.

It turned out that the actual film was just over 2 minutes long, and had been taken by his great grandfather in law or some such on a day trip on the line.

The film would therefore have been too short for people to come and see said the man, so he had interviewed people who had lived near, worked on, travelled on the line and spliced in their reminiscences to make a 55 minute film. This labour of love had taken 500 – 600 hours.

After the showing which was tough to follow at times as most of the octogenarians were speaking Ariegeoise, some people were asked to comment on the film, so the showing lasted one hour and 5 minutes.

Perhaps this will finally lay to rest the fiction that I don’t know how to have a good time?

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