Vaccine Success

Yesterday, I took my almost-eighty-five-year-old mother for her first dose of the Covid vaccine. What a relief to know she’s on her way to better protection from this nasty virus.

Signing up for the appointment was somewhat frustrating, in that each time I’d run through the preregistration questions, I’d get to the end and my chosen slot would no longer be available. I’d have to start over, answering the same questions again. I finally got wise and skipped ahead, over the next available time slot, and managed to secure her an appointment. That was a few weeks ago. I hear the Massachusetts website has been upgraded since then.

Anyway, we arrived a few minutes early to the vaccination site — a hotel about a twenty minute drive from her home. Everything ran smoothly, starting with the officers who directed the cars entering and exiting the parking lot. The building entrance was a long walk from the parking lot for an elderly person using a walker, so the first officer directed me to the front curb where a second officer helped me get my mother out of the car and set her up with her walker. Then he escorted her into the building while I parked.

Inside, signs marked our way toward the hotel ballroom which held a dozen or more vaccination stations. Chairs were set out along the way, from the front door to the ballroom, for anyone needing to sit for a minute. At the entrance to the ballroom, we were directed to the left, to one of many rows of three chairs, where people waited to be called to a station. We waited no more than a few minutes, just enough time for my mother to remove her coat. Vaccination station #2 waved their sign and beckoned us to them.

The vaccination itself felt a little anticlimactic. I guess I wanted cheers or maybe music and fireworks. Nothing. So, I’ll now provide my own:

I’d been hearing about the new “buddy” proposal in Massachusetts, where the one who brings the eligible person would also be offered the vaccine. That plan hadn’t been discussed yet at the time I’d made my mother’s appointment, but I’d heard that some “buddies” were being offered the vaccine on the spot, even without their own appointments. I wrestled with the question of whether or not I’d take the vaccine if offered. I’m not in one of the high-risk groups. So many people need it more than I do. I probably won’t be eligible for months to come. What should I do? After reading a NY Times op-ed about this very dilemma, I decided that I’d take it, if offered. Well, they didn’t offer. So, no fireworks for me yet.

Before we left the vaccination station, they scheduled an appointment for my mother’s second dose, writing it on a small card that serves as her proof of vaccination. We were directed to the far end of the ballroom for observation. Again, we took seats in one of many three-chaired rows and waited the required fifteen minutes, along with many others who’d just received the vaccine. We’d actually been given a Post-It note with the time of our allowed departure written on it. When our time was up, my mother asked, “Now what?” The significance of the experience seemed somewhat lost on her and she was relieved to hear that it was time to go home.

The whole experience gave me hope. Hope that someday most of us will be vaccinated. Hope that fewer people will be sickened, debilitated, or killed by this disease. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do my part by wearing my mask, washing my hands, and practicing social-distancing. And reminding my mother to do the same. 🙂

 

So, This Is Advent 2020…

November is almost behind us and Christmas is coming! What a strange Christmas it’ll be. In our family, we’re trying to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations, which means no holiday get-togethers. It’s tempting to forgo the Christmas decorating, too. But that seems kind of like sitting in a corner, pouting, because we aren’t getting our way. So, we forge ahead trying to bring a bit of cheer to our corner of this pandemic-stricken world.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was warm-ish here in New England, so, I hung the artificial wreaths across our upper row of front windows. A strategically placed eye hook above each window makes it a fairly easy job. Those poor wreaths are getting old and dry, which means the bedroom floors needed a good vacuum to take care of the fake pine needles after the wreaths were hung.

Next, I hung several lengths of garland along the front porch railings. A velvety bow at each post festively hides the wires and strings used to secure the garland. Just one problem this year: the bag of old bows was missing. Did I throw them out last year because they were old and faded, with the intention of buying new ones this year? (Your guess is as good as mine.) To compound the problem, I use burgundy bows on my wreaths and porch, instead of Christmas red. With all the premature decorating that people have been doing and the fact that burgundy bows aren’t as commonly available as red, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of shopping for them. I considered making them myself, but all that looping and twisting of ribbon isn’t my forte. (I worked at a greenhouse/florist in high school, but could never match the bow-making skills of the florists there.)

Anyway, first, I tried to buy some online. One site sold them for twenty dollars apiece! I used to get them for ninety nine cents, and was hoping to buy ten, so that was a ‘no’. Another site had suspended online orders due to order volume. So, I got in my van to search the old-fashioned way. Five stores later, I found them. But I could only justify buying six, due to the price. My porch looks happier now. 🙂

For those who celebrate Advent, it started this past Sunday. My husband and I haven’t ventured back to church since Covid-19 hit. We’ve been watching mass online instead. When I was fetching the outdoor decorations in the attic, I came across a set of Advent candles, so about an hour before mass, I scrambled to assemble a make-shift Advent wreath using a party tray, some cardboard and thumbtacks, and an unused artificial wreath. Not elegant, but functional. Maybe I’ll spend a little time this week shoring it up before next Sunday.

These simple efforts have started my Advent off on the right foot, I think. And a little more effort is what I plan to ask of myself this season. What about you? Christmas is coming, so we might as well celebrate however we’re able and try not to think about what we’re missing. Let’s deck our halls and appreciate what we have. Hopefully, next year will be all the more special.

Gratitude Spiral: Day 359

Today, I’m grateful for a new home aide for Mum.

Starting today, a woman whom my Dad & I interviewed a couple of weeks ago will visit my mother three mornings a week. She seems pleasant and well-qualified. Hopefully, things will go smoothly. I’ll probably still visit once or twice a week, but it’ll take some of the pressure off my schedule. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 357

Today, I’m grateful for shooting stars.

Yesterday morning, I got up around 5am and stepped out onto my back deck to catch the tail end of the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. In the pre-dawn chill, I stayed outside for less than ten minutes, but managed to see a few short streaks of light just above the western tree line. When my kids were little, I’d wake them up in the middle of the night and we’d bundle up and lie on the back porch, watching the sky. These days, I treasure my sleep, so I took my chances at 5am. And was rewarded. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 356

Today, I’m grateful for a flu shot during this pandemic.

I bit the bullet and made an appointment for my flu shot today. I hate shots. (Does anyone love them?) But I know it’s the responsible thing to do right now, especially with an even worse virus going around. So, I’m thankful for being able to put aside the discomfort for the sake of my health and the health of those around me.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 353

Today, I’m grateful for a gracious sister-in-law who was thoughtful enough to invite me to lunch and understanding enough to accept my Covid-cautious decline. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 347

Today, I’m grateful for my husband, who’s celebrating his birthday this weekend.

There are so many reasons to be thankful for him. My life has been blessed for the past forty years, since that November youth retreat to which a mutual friend invited him. My life has never been the same. And I’m grateful. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 328

Today, I’m grateful for help with the yard work.

Sometimes it feels like all the housework and yard work fall on my shoulders. While it’s true that I’m not gainfully employed outside the realm of home maintenance, it’s still nice when one of my children or my husband has the time to take on some of the tasks. Even better, is when we can work side-by-side to get the work done. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 312

Today, I’m grateful for paper towels.

One of the many items missing from store shelves lately is paper towels. I’m not a heavy user — relying more on rags and cloth towels. But they do come in handy, and I’m not the only one living in my household. So, I buy them when we run out. Unless I can’t find any. My Dad called while he was shopping the other day to tell me he’d found some and asked if I wanted a six-pack. Yes, I did, as long as they were the select-a-size kind where you can use half a towel at a time. He assured me they were, but the ones he eventually gave me were not. I didn’t have the heart to point it out to him, so I’m stuck with a six-pack of paper towels that I’ll be ripping into smaller pieces until they’re gone. But I’m thankful to have them.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 283

Today, I’m grateful for my children still asking for my advice or opinion — every once in a while.

They’ve all grown up to be independent adults, but it’s nice to hear from them occasionally. And I’m happy that sometimes they might still need me, too. 😉

What are you grateful for today?