Thursday, March 11, 2021

Covid Vaccination: our ticket out

Can you believe that today is the one-year anniversary of the global pandemic? 
So much has changed in a year, thanks to vaccines! 

On this day last year, my family was in Costa Rica celebrating my husband’s recovery from a health crisis. Although the hole in his heart was repaired as a child, Henry has remained immune compromised, and in 2019, he needed two more heart surgeries. In early March of 2020, his cardiologists declared the surgeries a success so our family foolishly flew abroad. 

When we left for vacation, there was no COVID in Maine and only one case in Costa Rica. In our isolated cabin with more birds than people on the mountain trails, we felt safe enough until WHO declared a global pandemic. Our March 18th flight home was a terrifying chorus of coughing passengers on packed planes. I have not traveled farther than 30 minutes from home since then. 

To protect Henry and other vulnerable people in our community, we have been living under strict quarantine for nearly a year. We get all our groceries curbside and restaurant food takeout. We only enter buildings for medical appointments, although my husband has a lot of those. I learned how to cut hair. 

Our singer-songwriter daughter had to cancel her live concerts and move back home, but we haven’t seen our son since last summer nor our octogenarian parents in over a year. 

Selfie from a solo walk last summer at the Eastern Prom in Portland, Maine.

Congratulations in Japanese to Henry's remote Bowdoin students.
We’re fortunate to have work we can do remotely. Henry exercises alone at dawn on remote trails, and I meet a masked friend for a walk once a month. Since high risk people aren’t prioritized in Maine, Henry won’t be eligible for the vaccine until April. Our extreme social isolation has a high psychological cost paid in tears and sleepless nights. Too many people have died. 

Only vaccination will save our family and yours from this pandemic nightmare. We are so lucky that our country will have enough vaccine by May for every American. I have been following the medical research closely, and scientists agree that the vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines have already defeated polio and small pox. For herd immunity, at least 70% of us need to be vaccinated to protect the community and to return to life as we remember it. 

Celebrating Passover, Easter, and Hanami with my family in New York in 2019.

When I heard that my age group would be eligible next month, I scheduled my first dental cleaning in a year, and then I called my recently vaccinated parents. My writers’ group is planning an outdoor masked gathering for two weeks after vaccinations. I’m counting the months until I can safely fly to the Dominican Republic to research my novel about Jewish refugees during World War II. 

While I wait, I’ve been learning Spanish remotely. I can’t wait for the day when we will only talk about la pandemia in the past tense and the COVID vaccine will be as routine as the flu shot. After vaccination, where do you want to travel?

This post was sponsored by Do Our Part in support of vaccinations in Maine.