Chávez Ravine Needling

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For the fifth year in a row, I made a trip to Dodger Stadium, and every year seems a little different.

The first year, I watched the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers.

The second year, I watched the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers, but with a far more embarrassing result.

The third year, the Dodgers lost, just not to the Brewers.

The fourth year, I didn’t even leave the parking lot. That was last summer, and I went there to do the merry-go-round that was COVID-19 testing.

Last Friday marked year five. Again, I didn’t leave the parking lot, but this time I knew the outcome.

On Friday, I received my first Modero COVID-19 vaccine. Two days removed, and I am feeling no ill effects except for a little bit of soreness at the injection site. With the current Modero vaccine, I will have to get a second shot which is tentatively scheduled for April 16th. I got the first shot just five days after I became eligible for it. Los Angeles County has progressed to allowing people with pre-existing health conditions, so maybe there is some good to my lifetime of bad choices. I wasn’t nervous about getting vaccinated, until three in the morning of the event. I made the dumb move of having a peanut butter sandwich before heading to bed – and it gave me massive acid reflux. I woke up and found myself coughing stomach acid out of my lungs. What I didn’t need was a a wet hacking cough while in line to prevent a pandemic in my house. That, and I forgot to take my meds that morning. So by the time I got home, I was miserable, and I didn’t know if it was my PB&J, forgetfulness, or my ounce of prevention to blame.

I chose Dodger Stadium as my vaccine site, because it was a relatively close drive-thru site with easy appointments. After I became eligible, appointments filled pretty fast, so it wasn’t until Wednesday before I could access open times. I grabbed Friday at 10am, working around my work schedule and not getting caught in traffic.

When I got tested there the year before, it was about 1-1/2 hours to work through the line that started a good mile outside of the ballpark, even when I had an appointment. So I was expecting something like that. My hopes were up when I passed a hand made sign that said “2 hours from this spot” and I saw no line in sight. In fact, I was flagged into the parking lot without even a hint of a wait. They were set up for it, however, because upon entering the parking we started the “Dodger Stadium Obstacle Course.” Intended to be a staging area on a busy day, an entire section of the parking lot was filled with pathways created by cones segmented out into two lanes. There were temporary lights and port-a-johns stationed at regular intervals in case folks get stuck in the area too long. The paths weaved back and forth reversing directions and turning corners. There was no wait in this area, so cars just continuously moved through. From outside, all you see is a sea of orange cones, and an occasional slow moving car somewhere deep into the mess. By a sea of orange cones, I mean hundreds and hundreds. Illinois road crews would say “that’s a lot of cones.” Just as the two lanes back back together as one, we crossed a street and entered the last staging area. At first, cars were broken into a two or three lanes. Then rows of cars were filled with about 10 cars. There it was suggested we shut off the cars, because we would be sitting there for a bit. About twenty minutes later, we were allowed to drive forward under a large tent, and again it was suggested that we shut off the cars.

In this ten was where the staff made their rounds. One by one, they verified our ID, check off that we made our appointment, and gave us the social media famous vaccine cards. Then a nurse with a car came up and did the sticking. After the last car in the row got the job done, we were on a 15 minute clock. At the end of that time, they asked us if we had any issues – and we were sent on our way.

I’m sharing all this in part because it was the most interesting thing to talk about in my life right now (because Fox Sports hasn’t worked out a contract to get Aussie Rules Football in American yet). Also, if you have any concerns about the vaccine, I wanted to share my positive experience. I know that some of you face real concerns with the vaccine, and had deep talks about the subject. If you don’t have real medical history with bad vaccines, I’d really recommend you get vaccinated. Experts with actual degrees in this sort of thing have said that the only way to make the virus go away is to make the world immune. It worked for Small Pox, it worked for Polio, it can work with COVID-19.

Let’s get back to normal, so I can go back to being disappointed at Dodger Stadium.

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