The Solution

My company, GDSI, is an acronym for Geller Data Solutions. There’s a reason I chose that name. I like to be the solution, not the problem. Interestingly, in my house, I’m often the problem. Outside of my house, I am more often considered the solution.

So when the opportunity arose for me to be part of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trials I jumped at the chance. I thought: ‘why not try to be part of the solution to one of the biggest problems we’ve faced in our lifetime?’ I was willing to sacrifice my health for the opportunity to help other people. Which, led to some rather amusing work moments.

Let me back up to how this all started. A few weeks ago, my wife, Jessica, learned that our neighbors were participating in the Johnson & Johnson clinical trials. She knew that I’d jump at the opportunity to participate. She forwarded me the information. I immediately called. Looking back, it’s interesting to note that my wife did not volunteer to participate. Her reasoning was likely along the lines of, I’ll let my husband be the guinea pig. If he lives, I’ll know it’s safe. If he doesn’t, oh well…’

I digress. I called the number. A woman answered. She told me, ‘You called at the right time. Today is the last day for your age group to sign up.’

Done. I registered. All it took was one phone call. I didn’t need to refrain from getting the vaccine from any other supplier. “No problem,” I responded, “I would definitely agree to that.” My appointment was scheduled for a few weeks later. I cleared my entire schedule for that one day. This was a big deal to me as on any given day I have 5-10 calls/meetings scheduled not including the popups.

A week before my scheduled vaccination, a Johnson & Johnson representative called me. They said they had decided to end the trial early. If I wanted the opportunity to take part, my appointment would be moved up six days earlier than my original appointment. A conundrum. I had already adjusted my schedule for my original time, yet there was no way I was going to miss participating in the Johnson & Johnson trial. I resigned myself to moving my 5-10 calls/meetings and the popups on the new trial date.

Coincidentally, the new date was the very same day GDSI was hosting an important virtual meeting with 20 consulting firms from all around the world to pitch the idea of re-selling our Clio-Worldox integration. The meeting was scheduled back in December. Recognizing the importance of the meeting and the commitment of the 20 firm representatives to attend, there was no way to cancel the pitch a mere two days before in advance.

I explained my quandary to the woman on the phone. She told me not to worry. From beginning to end the process would only take 55 minutes. Not an hour. Just 55 minutes. She said they had it down to a science. First, they take your blood. Then, they run a whole bunch of tests to make sure you aren’t sick. Next, they give you a shot. Following the shot, you are monitored for 30 minutes. Lastly, you’re excused to go. 55 minutes.

The only available time slot was 1:00 p.m. My presentation was at 3:00 p.m. The testing facility was 35 minutes away from my home office. I figured even if the test ran an extra 15 minutes, as long as I left by 2:15 p.m. I’d comfortably make the 3:00 p.m. meeting. The promise of 55 minutes ran through my mind. I won’t worry.

The day for my vaccination came. I was ecstatic. In anticipation of arrival to my home office with just a nominal amount of time before my important meeting, I prepared for the call before I left for the vaccine.  No joke, what I’m about to share is true and just adds interest to this story. The testing facility was located at a women’s plastic surgery office. I arrived a half-hour early, hoping they could take me sooner. I brought a laptop with me figuring if I had to wait, I could get on their WI-FI and maybe get some work done.

Well, they couldn’t take me sooner. At 1:00 p.m. they put me in a room and I wait. 15 minutes pass. Then 30 minutes. Then 45. At the hour mark, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I told the nurse, “I’ve gotta get out of here. I have to race home and give a presentation.” She explained if I left, I couldn’t get the shot. I had to stay.

At that moment, I thought of the ‘Solution’ in GDSI again. I considered how we always go out of our way to be the solution for any situation. I remembered how just last Christmas Eve, we received a call from a major law firm that we had never worked with before who had an emergency they needed us to solve by the first of the year. In this instance, groups of lawyers couldn’t access their documents. They had an idea why, but no idea how to solve this challenge. My team agreed to help, even if it meant sacrificing their own holiday plans. We worked from Christmas Eve straight through New Year’s Eve to provide them with a solution.

I figured if I could make that situation work, surely I could figure out a way to both get the shot and give this presentation. I looked back at the nurse and said ‘Okay, but we have to do it now.’ Like the sitcom cliché, where the star delivers a baby in the back of a cab, I was going to give an important presentation from a COVID-19 vaccine study taking place in a women’s plastic surgery office.

Well, okay – I asked the nurse to find me a room that had good Wi-Fi, would be private, and where I wouldn’t be interrupted.

She gave me the shot. Three minutes later I’m live – presenting to 20 law firms. I began the meeting by telling the people that were hosting me that I just received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. So if my lips turn bright blue and I stop talking, they may want to call 911. Laughter and I was off! I had my PowerPoint deck, running around like David Lee Roth throughout my presentation. Meanwhile, every five minutes there’s a nurse coming to check my heart rate or take my blood pressure. Two nurses even came in at one point unaware I was giving a presentation and started having a full conversation in the background. So much for privacy and no interruptions.

The shot left my arm in a lot of pain. The further I got into the presentation, the less I could use my left arm. No problem. I’ll work through the pain. I’m pleased to share that the meeting was a huge success. And all because we did what GDSI prides ourselves on: being part of the solution, not the problem.

What happened next? I went home and just crashed. For the next two days, I laid flat out in bed. The after-effects were really hard on me. I couldn’t move. It was a total blur. I have no memories of those two days.

But now I’m vaccinated…or at least I’m 98% certain I’ve been vaccinated. There is a chance that I was in the Placebo Group, which would be unfortunate on a whole lot of levels. But I’m pretty sure I was given the actual vaccine. It’s like they say: ‘If you feel it, you got it.” Technically, they say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine takes 48 days to take full effect after the injection. There is talk that there may be a booster shot in the coming months to account for any new COVID variables. Despite the challenges I faced, the day provided me and GDSI another opportunity to be the solution; not the problem.



GDSI has been delivering custom software solutions to law firms, legal software companies, and professional services firms for over 25 years. We are a software design studio delivering creative solutions to the business challenges inherent in legal operations. Our frequent, relevant communications ensure clients are always informed. From research and analysis to design and implementation, our judicious approach drives sustainable results. We’re about details done right.

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