LIFE HAS TO GO ON
It is starting at the opposite end of society: those vaccinated most urgently are the older people, who otherwise have an appalling death toll from Covid-19 if they get sick.
The fear has been very real among those of us with co-morbidities, who in normal times could look forward to a bit of retirement and the presence of children and grandchildren at the end of a life of labor.
This community went from people who had dinner with other people in a catered dining room several times a week to an entire building of people whose food was delivered in takeout containers every day. For almost a year so far. We have accumulated (and tried to recycle) countless containers, with the dining services having trouble, it seems, buying the same container shapes every day.
There is only so creative one can get with plastic takeout boxes.
Why the light at the end of the tunnel?
Because, if all goes well, most of us – of around the 250 people in Independent Living in one main building, 15 cottages, and 16 ‘garden apartments,’ will receive the second dose of the Moderna vaccine this Thursday, and two weeks later will achieve the maximum protection that can offer us.
We’re not sure yet what will change once there are a bunch of us in that state: the precautions will still be in place, a few people won’t have been vaccinated (including some staff – I don’t understand why they are not jumping on the chance to be protected), and the fear that ANY encounter with another human being might end up being terminal will be muted a bit while we wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
A reversal – normally vaccinations are for the young, and we elders have a lifetime of toughness to protect us.
Anyone who was alive for the 1918 flu is now over 100 years old.
I’m writing now because the suspense is at its maximum
None of us want to be the ironic case of the last old person to get Covid-19 and die from it – that won’t happen for a while but it’s worth pondering.
So those of us who believe in vaccines and modern medicine, however imperfect, are being very careful for the next three weeks or so.
I have a doctor’s appointment in March, and it will be the first time I’ve gone off campus feeling safe in over a year.
I desperately need new glasses – but have refused to make optional medical appointments with people who will be close to my face and body while their breathe could be my end.
Ditto dentists – you won’t believe how carefully I have been brushing my teeth so as to avoid any unnecessary visits (and have eschewed the necessary cleanings) for this year: I don’t want someone, even someone masked, gowned, and with a face shield, that near to me.
I have some experience, having caught the flu in 2018 from the only time I’d been out of the house in months, but decided to accompany the husband to his eye-doctor appointment: someone left a flu virus in that waiting room for me.
So the stress level is still high
And we look askance at the crew of men painting our halls and installing new carpets (first upgrade in 20 years) – and going home to their families every night. They need the work, the facility needs the facelift, but we don’t need all those people we’ve never seen before (thanks, guys!) wandering our halls.
This last Friday was the first time testing of all the staff revealed no new cases in quite a few weeks. It may be just random luck.
Or it may be that the staff have already had their two shots + two week wait, and are now as safe as they can be. I hope so, for their sake. They are very nice people. And there are almost as many of them as there are residents (we have higher levels of care in the same building, which increases our staff requirements). 200 or so.
(Still don’t understand why any of them would refuse the vaccine against a deadly disease they could transmit to the older people they work for.)
The public stress changed
From worrying about the election and the devoutly-wished disappearance of the previous mob, to wondering how the current administration is going to manage to reverse so much damage.
But I no longer watch – it’s politics as usual, the grownups are in charge, and I can’t do a thing.
The grownups are at the helm of the current actual focus on getting control of the pandemic. Another place I have limited reach and scope.
Since I’ve blocked all the people who are science-deniers, my only remaining advocacy point is to remind them that THE DISEASE IS MUCH WORSE THAN THE VACCINE.
A few have legitimate concerns; most should just make sure their doctors know their problems, and they are watched for a time after the actual injection to have a quick response if they have the exceedingly rare anaphylactic reaction. EXCEEDINGLY RARE.
But I’m so tired
Months and more months of stress have taken a real toll on the writing (and the other parts of my life, which I try to ignore).
I have only just regained some semblance of a normal sleep schedule with melatonin in tiny amounts at bedtime and my Daylight therapy box in the morning as soon as I get up. Now I’m wondering when I can get off the regimen, because the melatonin always makes me a bit groggy, and that is the enemy of me writing fiction.
A couple of weeks of better sleep is not enough for a year of stress, but I’m getting there.
The work proceeds apace
Yesterday I managed to take all the notes I had accumulated in 2016 on the critical medical topic which is an intricate and ineradicable part of this section of NETHERWORLD’s plot, and make sense of them: they were very badly written in the original source – and that is now behind a paywall!
So I’m feeling proud of myself for documenting everything so well that I was able to figure out what I needed, from what I gathered over four years ago in another state!
When I do research, I carefully retain the link or other source information, in the great fear that I will forget where I found something and fail to attribute it correctly, so my paranoia has served me well.
And some form of exercise occurs occasionally
I got a trike ride, a short one, this weekend – because the outdoor pool has glass in it from a broken table top during last week’s windstorm, and is unusable, even in the mild weather we had (they still haven’t told us how the heck they’re going to clean it up, they who put glass-topped tables near the pool in the first place!).
And I get out of the apartment to pick up lunch or somesuch on Maggie, my MAGnesium Alloy Airwheel S8 (a bicycle seat on a hoverboard – google it) a couple of times a week. Not nearly enough exercise for anyone, even disabled and chronically ill, but all I can manage.
The great outdoors in California in the wintertime is still great.
So that’s the report from a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) for today
I can feel, on re-reading my words, that the stress is lower.
How goes it with you?
If you are offered the vaccine, and don’t plan to take it, I’m curious how your thinking is going. I promise to be civil.
And otherwise, along with MY children, I hope everyone will be protected by a vaccine as soon as possible – I’m tired of living like this.
Not tired enough NOT to continue to take every precaution, but you know what I mean.