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The Alternative

I got my second shot today. I went with one of my relatives and we celebrated by going to lunch afterwards. We’re both relieved we got the shot. After all, it’s better than the alternative, right?

Up until today, the serious effects of Covid were unknown to us. Our family has taken the CDC guidelines seriously. Elderly and medically vulnerable members locked themselves down, we wear masks and don’t take unnecessary risks. Isolation can be tough but some of my relatives have come up with ingenious ways of staying connected by taking online live safaris in Africa and star walks with astronomers. They’ve become zoom masters. We are dealing with it as best we can and that includes going to get our vaccines when it’s our turn. We’re just as concerned with spreading the disease to our relatives, some of whom should be bubble wrapped, as we are as getting it ourselves.

Right now, my main concern is for my daughters who are becoming more vulnerable while our older relatives and those of us with pre-existing conditions are getting vaccinated.

For the most part, no one I know who has gotten Covid among my coworkers has been severely ill, although one relatively young coworker seems to have a long haul version. She was recently vaccinated and had a reaction after her first shot. That’s a potentially good sign that her body is going to be able to fight the lingering effects off.

Until today, I didn’t know anyone who had it bad. Then I got a ping from a friend I hadn’t heard from for awhile. She had been in the hospital. She had Covid and was hospitalized for a month in January. She was on a ventilator. They didn’t think she was going to make it but she did. Then she had to go to rehab for another month – to learn how to walk again. She’s now at home, using a rollator to get around. She’s younger than I am and she has a very long recovery ahead for her. I’m hoping to see her next week once I get over whatever reaction comes my way.

So, that’s the alternative. That’s what we are trying to avoid by getting the shot. We don’t want to get it and we don’t want to give it. And the conspiracy theories and scare tactics aren’t anywhere near as concerning as ending up on a ventilator and having to learn to walk again. Or having neurological damage and memory problems. Or a whole host of other maladies that make your life miserable.

I didn’t really understand sickness until two years ago. I had been ridiculously healthy all my life. And even with my diagnosis, I can truthfully say that the treatment was worse than the ailment. I never really suffered any illness because it was caught early. But what the body has to go through by taking what amounts to gallons of weed killer followed by amputation and Chernobyl makes me appreciate how vulnerable our bodies really are. The worst parts of that experience was the feeling of the loss of control and depending on someone else to get you into the car when you threaten to collapse in the grocery store. It was walking to work with blistered feet, a reaction to my chemo, and knowing that I couldn’t take too many days off without losing my health insurance. If you’ve never had a serious illness, you may not take the threat of Covid very seriously. For most people, it’s just not that bad and we don’t know those people who have gotten truly ill.

The rest of us can’t wait to get the shot.

One Response

  1. I’m glad that you got through the shot well. And everything else you wrote is powerful. Yes, a terrible virus, and it is so sad and upsetting that so many people do not want to see that, and thus risk everyone else.

    I was waiting to get on an elevator today, and a man walked off with some vacuuming devices he must have been using. I had to wait for him to drag them along.. He had a mask around his neck, not his face. “How’re you doin’?, he asked in a friendly fashion. I just nodded at him. There will be a lot of such people we need to try to avoid. This is really not that complex a decision process, if people were rational, and believed the better doctors. I hope you feel okay tomorrow, too, you should.

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