This is a last ditch effort. Had anybody picked up the phone, I would not have written this.

On March 13, I went for, and received, my COVID-19 vaccination. When I arrived, nice people were guiding me through the process, letting me know what to do, where to sit, who could help me, etc. As soon as someone asked my name I dug out my New York state driver’s license in order to avoid any confusion.

I have done this since quite awhile before the pandemic, because even before the masks, I was being answered with, “Yes, Mr. Piels,” and, “No, Mr. Shields” — and those are only the most common mistakes. I tried using a phonetic alphabet, but became, “Mr. Foxtrot India Echo Lima Delta Sierra,” and, my, isn’t that a long name, Sir?”

It was my understanding that the vaccination card would grant access to ... well, that was not very clear, but, by golly, I wanted my access!

I got my shot, was handed my vaccination card, put it immediately in my wallet and forgot about it until I read somewhere that I should probably have it laminated. Whilst pondering this advice, I removed my card from my wallet and read it — then read it again.

Remember the bit where, in order to avoid confusion, I handed over my driver’s license? I again removed my DL to double check the information, and there it was: “Fields, Donald Bruce,” whereas my vaccination record stated, “Bruce, Bruce B.”

My last phone call attempt was to Olean General Hospital. I let it ring and ring, but, as I have learned, some folks don’t answer their phone. They will, however, eventually quietly pick up and hang up after figuring out I won’t stop calling. Two days in a row I tried this, and only after calling New York’s coronavirus hotline, the Cattaraugus County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control coronavirus hotline, among others, all to no avail.

I did get to waste a lot of time with robots telling me which button to press.

Again, I just want my card to reflect who actually got the injection, in case it ever means anything. No big deal, right? RIGHT?

(Donald Fields lives in Friendship.)

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