My wife and I, both 67, have been fortunate to have received our first Covid-19 vaccine shots this week, as did my 86-year-old mother. Through a combination of perseverance and luck, I was able to schedule not only our first shots, of the two-part vaccines, but I was also able to schedule our follow-up appointments in the specified 3-week timeframe. While we had heard horror stories of people having to wait over 4 hours to get their vaccines, we were all able to get in and out in under an hour. And none of us suffered any reaction to the vaccines.
A lot of people have really suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic. As of the writing of this post, 433,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus in the USA. There have been 25.8 million reported cases of the virus, and probably several times that number infected but with only minor or no symptoms.
So far, my wife and I have been able to avoid many of the effects of the pandemic. We have been very cautious during the pandemic. We follow the guidelines on mask wearing, social distancing, and limiting trips out. As we are retired, we are not reliant on income from jobs to survive. Our kids are grown and on their own, so we haven’t been affected by the shutting down of in-person education and having to deal with child-care and home schooling.
Sure, we haven’t been able to go out to a restaurant or go to stores other than the grocery and drugstore. But we get carry-out regularly and have become big fans of on-line shopping. I miss going to my local coffee shop and spending a leisurely hour or two writing. And my wife and I are looking pretty shaggy, like something out of the early ‘70s. She hasn’t had her hair cut since January 2020. I’ve only gone since July.
But the biggest impact on us has been the constant state of wariness. We never feel comfortable when outside of the house or car. Even though we wear masks and maintain social distancing as much as possible, these actions are only partly effective. Being in our late 60’s, with underlying health conditions, the stakes of contracting Covid are high.
When we got our first shots, and had our second appointments set, we let out a big sigh of relief. We’re able to breathe a little easier now. The ever present sense of doom and dread has lifted a little. My wife is already talking about getting her haircut a couple of weeks after the second vaccine. We’ve talked about maybe even going to a bookstore someday in the not too distant future. And we are seriously thinking about planning our next vacation, for Spring 2022.
Of course, we won’t be letting our guard down, at least until several weeks after the second dose of vaccine. We know that getting the first shot doesn’t mean that we can no longer get infected. But it is a concrete first step in returning our lives back to some form of normalcy. There really does seem to be light at the end of this tunnel.