Fustercluck

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

EVERY YEAR, SAN GERALDO AND I buy our flu vaccines at the pharmacy and take them around the corner to a private clinic where a nurse does the injection. It’s always been very convenient and, once we received our national health cards a few years ago, we didn’t realize we could get this done for free at the health center.

There’s a shortage of flu vaccines this year and the pharmacist generously offered to make appointments for us at the local health center where, thanks to our age, the vaccine is available. San Geraldo’s appointment was this morning at 9:42 (no, that’s not a typo). My appointment was scheduled for Thursday at 6:16 p.m. (18:16). The printout from the pharmacist indicated that we needed to go to the health center. But she said that wasn’t correct, the shots were being given at a caseta in the fairgrounds. I confirmed with neighbours that we should go to Caseta de la Juventud for the vaccine. I’ve walked by the caseta dozens of times, so I knew exactly where it was — kind of. Besides, it would be easy to find because a line of people would be waiting outside for their flu shots.

We walked the 15 minutes to the fairgrounds and couldn’t find the caseta. The Tuesday market was setting up. I suggested we walk over to the health center two minutes away. I was stressing that San Geraldo was stressing. I took us in the wrong direction. We had walked about 7 minutes when I finally woke up. We turned back to the fairgrounds where we still didn’t find the Caseta de la Juventud. We walked over to the health center two minutes away.

I waited outside (the pandemic makes everything more complicated) and finally was able to talk to the person managing the line. He said the vaccine was given at the fairgrounds at Caseta de la Juventud. I said we couldn’t find it and asked where it was exactly. He said gruffly, “To the right!” Every caseta was to the right.

We walked back to the fairgrounds, where the Tuesday market was in full swing, and found someone who looked like he knew some things. He told me where the caseta was and that the vaccines were being given through the back door. We walked around front and found the caseta, walked around back and found two locked doors. We walked around front again and tried the gates leading to the front doors. Some vendors set up opposite the doors called out that they didn’t give vaccines Tuesday mornings. I then spoke to a man who said he had an appointment for the afternoon, but it was done via the back door. Somebody help me!

San Geraldo went to a nearby café. I walked back to the health center. I told a different staff person my problem. He said he would ask someone else. He didn’t. I waited 10 more minutes until the over-worked and stressed guy came back outside after dealing with a problem for someone (the line was about 30-people long by then). I explained the situation. He went inside and spoke with the woman behind the desk. I showed her my appointments and she told me the pharmacist didn’t make them correctly. San Geraldo’s appointment wasn’t for the flu vaccine but to see our doctor. She said she could make two new appointments for us for tomorrow (Wednesday) and she did.

I phoned San Geraldo with the good news (I knew he was stressed about not having his flu shot) and a few minutes later I joined him for coffee. He was relaxed. I sat down and laughingly muttered, “This was one big fustercluck!” I can assure you, that’s not what I meant to say. Today’s sunrise, at least, was splendid.

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CADA AÑO, SAN GERALDO Y yo compramos nuestras vacunas de la gripe en la farmacia y las llevamos a la vuelta de la esquina a una clínica privada donde una enfermera hace la inyección. Siempre ha sido muy conveniente y, una vez que recibimos nuestras tarjetas nacionales de salud hace unos años, no nos dimos cuenta de que podíamos hacerlo de forma gratuita en el centro de salud.

Hay escasez de vacunas de la gripe este año y la farmacéutica se ofreció generosamente a concertar una cita para nosotros en el centro de salud local donde, gracias a nuestra edad, la vacuna está disponible. La cita de San Geraldo fue esta mañana a las 9:42 (no, eso no es un error tipográfico). Mi cita estaba programada para el jueves a las 18:16 (6:16 p.m.). La impresión de la farmacéutica indicaba que teníamos que ir al centro de salud. Pero ella dijo que no era correcto, las vacunas se estaban dando en una caseta en el recinto ferial. Confirmé con nuestros vecinos que debíamos ir a Caseta de la Juventud. He pasado por la caseta docenas de veces, así que sabía exactamente dónde estaba — más o menos. Además, sería fácil de encontrar porque una fila de personas estaría esperando afuera para recibir sus vacunas de la gripe.

Caminamos los 15 minutos hasta el recinto ferial y no pudimos encontrar la caseta. El mercado de los martes se estaba instalando. Sugerí que fuéramos al centro de salud a dos minutos de distancia. Destacaba que San Geraldo estaba estresado. Nos llevé en la dirección equivocada. Habíamos caminado unos 7 minutos cuando finalmente me desperté. Regresamos al Recinto Ferial donde todavía no encontramos la Caseta de la Juventud. Caminamos hasta el centro de salud a dos minutos.

Esperé afuera (la pandemia hace todo más complicado) y finalmente pude hablar con la persona que maneja la línea. Dijo que la vacuna se administró en el recinto ferial en la Caseta de la Juventud. Le dije que no podíamos encontrarlo y le pregunté dónde estaba exactamente. Dijo con brusquedad: “¡A la derecha!” Cada caseta estaba a la derecha.

Caminamos de regreso al recinto ferial, donde el mercado de los martes estaba en pleno apogeo, y encontramos a alguien que parecía que sabía algunas cosas. Me dijo dónde estaba la caseta y que las vacunas se estaban dando por la puerta trasera. Caminamos por el frente y encontramos la caseta, caminamos hacia atrás y encontramos dos puertas cerradas. Caminamos por el frente de nuevo y probamos las puertas que conducían a las puertas de entrada. Algunos vendedores instalados frente a las puertas gritaron que no daban vacunas los martes por la mañana. Luego hablé con un hombre que dijo que él tenía una cita para la tarde, pero que se hizo por la puerta trasera. ¡Que alguien me ayude!

San Geraldo fue a un café cercano. Caminé de regreso al centro de salud. Le conté mi problema a otra persona del personal. Dijo que le preguntaría a alguien más. No lo hizo. Esperé 10 minutos más hasta que el tipo estresado y con exceso de trabajo volvió afuera después de lidiar con un problema para alguien (la línea era de aproximadamente 30 personas para entonces). Expliqué la situación. Entró y habló con la mujer detrás del escritorio. Le mostré mis citas y me dijo que la farmacéutica no las hizo correctamente. La cita de San Geraldo no era para la vacuna de la gripe sino para ver a nuestra médica. Dijo que podía hacer dos citas nuevas para mañana (miércoles) y lo hizo.

Llamé a San Geraldo con la buena noticia (sabía que él estaba estresado por no haber recibido la vacuna de la gripe) y unos minutos después me reuní con él para tomar un café. Estaba relajado. Me senté y murmuré entre risas: “¡Este fue un gran fustercluck*!” Les puedo asegurar, eso no es lo que quise decir. El amanecer de hoy, al menos, fue espléndido.

*NOTA:
Fustercluck es el reverso — un lapsus linguae — de la palabra clusterfuck que significa algo como “racimo de joder” (como un desastre, solo que peor).

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

40 thoughts on “Fustercluck”

  1. OMG…. Things to do ain’t easy this days. Lucky we don’t have it like that here where we live. Still the same old way to do it. 🙂 Miss you 🥰

    1. sillygirl:
      It all caught up with me in the evening! THIS evening, back to Caseta de la Juventud for our shots. To the right. Back door!

  2. Ya, I can imagine what I would have been saying at that point. I hope it goes well the next time. The pharmacy here had flu vaccine, and someone qualified to administer. Easy peasy

  3. Must have be the day for it. Yesterday, my DH had to go to several pharmacies (all displaying “Free” flu shots–with tiny print indicating ‘free’ meant ‘with insurance’). Three pharmacies later, he finally got one. Each claimed our insurance wouldn’t pay for it when I know it does. I had mine at my doctor’s office (should say, outside the door of my doc’s office) a month ago. DH has a different doc and never seems to be able to reach a live body when he calls–the practice has been taken over by one of the big medical conglomerates. So Fusterclucking is alive and well here, too. Hoping all goes well for you today.

    BTW–while he was waiting in line, he heard the fellow ahead of him being told that his co-pay for a prescription he had brought in would be $749.00…now that is an obscene clusterf*ck.

    1. Mary:
      Yes, I wouldn’t get the word wrong if I had to pay THAT co-pay. Appalling. Before we moved to Spain, my insurance always covered the flu shot with a co-pay (of $5 or $10). The last year, I got my flu shot, paid a $10 co-pay, and then received a bill from the insurance company for $39. I argued for 2 months and then simply gave up and paid.

  4. How aggravating! Here in Canada, pharmacists can actually administer the (free) flu shot. So I got mine nearly a month ago at the pharmacy in my local grocery store.

    1. Debra:
      The process was surprising for us with our private insurance but it became very easy. Future years, NOW THAT WE KNOW HOW IT WORKS, will be even better. Not even a co-pay (although buying the vaccine and paying for the injection would run us around 13 euros).

  5. spouse and I got ours when we last saw our respective family doctors. we also got pneumonia shots from said doctors too. we could go to the pharmacy, but oy the lines! nice sunrise.

    1. anne marie:
      We haven’t SEEN our doctor since the pandemic began. I wonder if we’ll have the option of pneumonia shots today. Our neighbors did.

  6. Fustercluck (a good name for a pet chicken, or a pet drag queen) indeed! My Walmart pharmacist gloms me for a flu shot when I go to pick up my meds since I turned sixty. Good insurance, so “free” since then. I think I would’ve just risked getting the flu. Beautiful pictures, gorgeous even 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      I used to get hit with the flu every year. Terribly. Finally, SG and I had it together. We lived on the family room sofa for a few days because neither of us could make it up the stairs. From then on we got flu shots (that was 1989). I’ve still had the flu several times but never as bad as before. SG would love to have a pet chicken. If we get one, we’ll name it Fuster.

  7. Gosh, I hate that kind of clusterfuckness–I’ll say it–but I will add that I learned as a child that “every caseta was to the right.”

    Just sayin’.

    1. Bob:
      Well, if you already knew that, I wish you had told me before I went on my fostercluck of a search!

  8. This year was ‘easy’ except for the wait and our Walgreens was not very effective with their social distancing. A couple of years ago CVS took my insurance…then sent me a bill for over $100 because, while the vaccine was covered by my insurance, the nurse who administered it was not “in my network”. US healthcare is a tangled mess of private insurance. Now with Medicare Advantage “Senior Care” they won’t pay for the double-dose “Senior Flu Shot” so I got the regular one.

    1. Now that we’re in the open enrollment period for changing Medicare plans, the TV networks have been inundated with commercials touting Medicare Advantage. They trumpet all the supposedly great stuff you get with it (dental! eyeglasses! hearing aids!) and low to zero premiums. But it can have a limited provider network and the rules can change every year, so you would have to wait for open enrollment to come around again. I have the regular Medicare (plus Medigap) and I got my “Senior Flu Shot” for free at Walgreens like I have every year. Even if I had to pay for the double doseI think it’s definitely worth it. I had the flu about 5 years ago (the flu shot wasn’t as effective that year because the virus had mutated after the vaccine was developed) and I lost my hearing for two months due to acute otitis media in both ears and my hearing never did recover completely. Don’t want to do that again.

      1. TexasTrailerParkTrash:
        I had that flu 5 years ago, too. It was awful but nothing like I’d had pre-vaccine, which I’ve had every year since 1989. That hearing loss must have been frightening. I don’t know if you saw Frank’s comment, but he said Medicare Advantage won’t cover the Senior Flu Shot. Isn’t that priceless?!?

      2. Exactly. That’s why all the hype about it doesn’t reveal how you can get screwed on things that you’d expect it cover. Neither Medicare nor Medicare Advantage cover the shingles vaccine (Shingrix) unless you’re enrolled in a stand alone Part D plan. I had to pay for mine out of pocket (about $239 twice for the two shots, using a GoodRx coupon to somewhat reduce the cost) but again, it’s money well spent. I worked for an ophthalmologist for several years and we saw patients who had shingles near their eyes. Damn scary.

    2. Frank:
      Despite our morning yesterday, we’ve been grateful for and impressed by the healthcare we have here — public and private. I remember the nightmares of US healthcare. Medicare Advantage Senior Care not covering the cost of Senior Flu Shot. That says it all!

  9. We both have the same appointment for our flu shots from our GP/doctor on Friday. I hope to god that we experience nothing like you guys did! If we did it would not be pretty!! lol

  10. I am half expecting our shingles shot will be OK on Friday the 13th, but the flu shot could be a question mark because we just heard that the 2nd round of flu shots may be late in arriving.
    CLUSTER~FUCK oops!

    1. Ron:
      We read and read that there would be no shortage of flu vaccine this year. So much for that. Good luck!

  11. OMG!!!!!!!!!! i NEEDED a drink to get keep up and get through this clustercluck!!!!! Screw the shot, just drink gin like I. hell, I haven’t been sick in years. It may appall San Geraldo ….but I have yet ever had a flu shot. Don’t tell him.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      When I met SG for coffee, I looked at the water and said, “What I NEED is a bottle of gin, but I’ll have a cafe con leche.” I won’t risk going without a flu shot, nor will SG now. Until 1989, I got the flu every year and was usually down for at least 2 weeks and felt like I would die. In 1989, we both had the flu at the same time. I was already set up on the family room sofa bed (because i couldn’t make it up the stairs) when SG was hit the next day. We spent days on that sofa bed, both moaning (and not happily). From then on, we’ve gotten a flu shot. Although I’ve had the flu some years, it’s never been as bad as before. I swear by the shot.

  12. I went to my annual check-up about three weeks ago and in that single visit got a flu shot, a shingles shot, and some blood drawn. I might as well have cuddled next to a porcupine.

    1. Kirk:
      Poor you! I don’t mind shots or having blood drawn. However, I’m always sore for a few days after and feel like I’ve been punched.

  13. Sounds complicated but happy it ended well. Here we get two type of shots, one super shot double dose for the over 60 and one regular dose for everyone else. Free and all done at the pharmacy.

    1. Judy:
      Skies are so different today (photos to come). And there’s currently a 4 percent chance of rain!!!

    1. Wilma:
      Well, today couldn’t be any worse! Really, though, not at all concerned. We know the process. Know where to go. And we have print-outs of our appointments that actually say “vacunación antigripal.”

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