Thursday, November 26, 2009

keep it in perspective

H1N1 frenzy struck Upsala yesterday when the nursing station offered a one-day-only vaccination blitz. The event appeared to be a smashing (or stabbing) success. I popped over briefly to get the regular, mundane, non-swine seasonal flu vaccine (I got the H1N1 shot about a month ago), and had to squeeze through dozens of people milling about, laughing, chatting, telling jokes . . . a regular boondocks shindig, and an impressive turnout for little old Upsala.

Getting any turnout in this reclusive village can be quite a feat. I was invited to do a holiday fire safety presentation at the Community Hall as part of an afternoon social hosted by the Norwest Community Health Clinic. We bombarded the village in advance with the usual flyers and posters, then strafed it with a last-minute mass mailing a few days before the event (if you call 110 flyers a mass mailing). The idea behind these educational events is to reach as many of our 207 residents as possible, so when only three showed up it was disheartening. On the bright side, we didn't run out of cookies or coffee.

Before you leap to the conclusion that I live in a village of total losers (or worse yet, that people stayed away because I'm a total loser), I hasten to add the importance of perspective. Those three people represented three of the four major age groups. A child, a teenager, and a senior. Giving further consideration to the statistical import of these numbers, think of it this way: 3 out of 200 is statistically equivalent to 1500 people turning out in Thunder Bay, which has a population of roughly 100,000 (don't say it - I know I've used that argument before. I'm grasping at straws in an attempt to patch my damaged ego, so give me a break, okay).

Besides, I'm not the only one that has trouble getting the masses to come out and be educated. Only one person showed up for an Alzheimers Awareness workshop a few months ago. Perhaps everyone else forgot to attend.

Everything is a learning experience, and I'm busy plotting a strategy for better results next time. Here's a brainwave. Never mind trying to lure people with food and coffee and movies and entertainment. Just offer to jab a needle in their arms, and the villagers will show up in droves.

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