Because Scarlett hides when visitors arrive, the vet recommended keeping her in a confined space where she'd be easy to access (as opposed to, say, the bedroom, where Scarlett could hide under the bed). Additionally, because the medication makes cats a bit unsteady on their feet, the vet recommended keeping Scarlett confined for her own safety.
I set Scarlett up in the bathroom with a bed (her blue blanket from the dresser), food and water, her favorite toys, and a litter box. The litter box was the one from when Melly was imprisoned in the bathroom as a tiny kitten, and the whole setup struck me as an interesting role reversal for the two cats. Melly hovered by the door during Scarlett's confinement, mewing squeakily at me periodically.
I hung out with Scarlett in the bathroom for a while, and she was clearly affected by the medication after only about 15 minutes. She moved in slow motion and seemed slightly dazed, but she was in good spirits, purring and snuggling.
When Dr. Cutting arrived, she brought another vet with her to help hold Scarlett down. They brought a stack of towels that had been drenched in Feliway in hopes that that would help Scarlett relax. While the vets were getting set up, Melly trotted over and gave the towels a thorough sniffing.
When Dr. Cutting and the other vet were set up, I scooped Scarlett up in a towel and deposited her in the living room for them to examine. Scarlett was moving slowly and actually allowed both vets to pet her a little bit, but after a few minutes, the screeching and escape attempts started. The medication made her noticeably quieter and slower, though, so the vets were able to wrap her up in towels, burrito-style. Dr. Cutting held the towel-wrapped Scarlett down, and the other vet administered the vaccines (distemper and rabies). After the first vaccine, Scarlett started spraying, but fortunately for her, the ordeal was over quickly and she was ushered back into the bathroom to hang out until the medication wore off.
During the whole ordeal, Melly sat in the hallway, watching the action while staying well out of the way and preparing to bolt just in case she was to be next.
The vet noticed that Scarlett's triggers are being touched on her underside and chest, so she suggested I try to condition Scarlett to get used to those types of touches. Scarlett already lets me do pretty much anything, but I am going to try anyway. Scarlett is about ten, so it would be handy if she could get an actual vet exam at some point!
Obviously this wasn't fun for Scarlett, but because of the medication, odds are she won't remember it anyway. So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty good about how the whole thing went: Scarlett got her vaccines, and no one was injured. (Except my living room floor. Thank goodness I had some enzyme cleaner.)