Got your vaccine shots? Keep that mask on anyway.
I admit, I am euphoric right now, having recently received my second COVID vaccine shot. I feel so…well, relieved, even though two months ago, I announced with conviction that I wouldn’t even consider a shot, until I was certain people weren’t dropping dead from side effects.
“Jonas Salk studied and tested his polio vaccine for seven years!” I insisted, “and you’re gonna stick me with something less than a year in the making?”
It is definitely a milestone in this never-ending COVID saga and kudos to President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris and their team for fast results. But I am still wearing a mask when and if I have to face the public, and I have a feeling the mask thing is far from over.
I’m sure many of us have read the fine print, so we realize there’s no evidence or claim that any of three vaccines now available will trigger COVID immunity or render you “cured.” In fact, you could be a carrier.
Double whammy: COVID and Cancer
The experience that slapped me wicked as part of the COVID year was my double whammy. COVID plus high risk cancer equals chaos. Throw in my Crohn’s disease and things were looking bleak.
Shortly after a fun get-together with good friends in late January, 2020, (we had no clue about a pandemic) my grandson noticed the whites of my eyes were yellow. I detest the emergency room. It’s a parasitic palace and I am a class A germaphobic, but I had no choice. My husband, recovering from his own surgery, dragged me to those doors of doom where seating was tight and people were vomiting into bags. Ugh.
Two days later I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The yellowing of the eyes was jaundice, one of the first signs. My urine — the color of Coca Cola — was symptom number two. Make a note of it because this disease is a bitch and the survival rate is low. Still, no hard news on TV or social media about a pandemic at that time.
By March 26, 2020, the United States recorded its 1,000th official coronavirus death. I was wondering which I would die from — the cancer or the COVID.
What’s Up With The Mask, Doc?”
The doc who made the preliminary diagnosis inserted a temporary stent in/near my bile duct to restore some normal functioning of the pancreas and surrounding organs until a plan of care could be determined. When he explained the procedure, he sat on a chair next to my bed. Great bedside manner. He was cordial and encouraging. After the procedure, I didn’t see or hear from him for 24 hours. It was my husband who broke the news to me about my cancer. The doc had talked to my husband while I was in recovery.
“Macho, misogynystic, non-progressive, chauvinist.” was my first thought. “You couldn’t talk to me about my cancer?”
Close friends and relatives called with concern. I must have been in the denial stage because I remember saying “Guys, it’s just cancer. One in three. So I got it. No worries. AND I got this.”
When the doc finally showed up, he stood at the door, keeping an obvious distance, and he was wearing a mask.
“I was wondering when you’d drop by,” I said sarcastically. “What’s with the mask? I didn’t know cancer was contagious.”
All he would say was that the procedure went well and my nurses would assemble a team for me to start a chemo and/or radiation program. Bam! He was out of there like Flash! Was it my bad breath or did he have to use the rest room?
Choose your poison
It was so bizarre to hear warnings of “Stay at home” countered by “Your next chemo appointment will be next week, same time, and you’ll need to come in three days a week for immunization shots, and you’ll need a blood draw at the lab every Friday.” There was no such thing as staying at home for me.
I am still amazed at the number of people who don’t wear masks in public, as if they are in charge of all humanity. You can call them on it but you’ll need to be a damn good people reader. Otherwise you could end up in a fight. Or you can offer them a clean mask and just accept their refusal or revel in their compliance. Or you can just mask up and keep your distance and your mouth shut..
So no judging until…well, much later, or not at all
So that’s why the doc wore the mask. The poor guy was also on overwhelm. He was getting double whammy news too. I rescind my remarks about his implied misogyny. We had no idea what these doctors and nurses were going through in the beginning. And they still face challenges, especially in states where the rules are always in flux. But it is getting better. Slowly.
We know now that “certain” people, including some health officials obviously knew about the pandemic as early as January. And the orange leader of the free world obviously knew much earlier than that, perhaps in late 2019. But as he said “I wanted to play it down because I didn’t want to create a panic.”
He managed to create something far worse.
But look on the bright side. New administration; a press secretary who is intelligent and actually answers questions with real answers (and occasional wit when appropriate); significant stimulUS checks coming soon.; thoughtfully chosen cabinet; Garland confirmed as AG (major victory) and much more.
Down the road, much better health care for ALL Americans, relief for so many students who need full or partial student loan forgiveness, better education for ALL K -12 students and free college education for promising students in areas needed to keep the United States in top mental, mindful and physical shape.
Also, on the other side of the aisle, there are the same old DJT cult followers justifying bigger guns and more tax cuts for the rich, so FOX will still have its place in the sun as the Prevarication Network.
Here’s to a healthier and happier year. Has to be. Things are already looking up.