To Vax is to Live

We were riding high there for a hot moment, weren’t we? Those of us who were vaccinated taking vacations, going to Target without a mask on, breathing a lot easier when outdoors in heat and humidity, eating indoors in restaurants. But Delta, you’ve found a sure and able bodied vehicle on which to ride through the world and continue COVID’s path of destruction. That vehicle? The unvaccinated. Because of these stalwart believers in their immortality, unvaccinated children are now at risk of getting serious ill and then bearing the effects of severe health issues for the remainders of their lives. And others like them will get sick and likely die.

Those of us who got vaxxed may still contract COVID–but we won’t get deathly ill. However, we can pass the virus on to kids and those who are still immune-compromised and they can suffer. And because so many in the anti-vaxxing camp are still under the belief that the vaccine will 1. magnetize you 2. make everyone paralyzed 3. embed your body with a government-planted chip 4. prove to the world that yes, you indeed are mortal, etc., our hospitals are treating COVID patients again, our healthcare workers have really, and I mean, really had it with you all, and yeah, we’re back to masking up of the KN95 variety in Target again.

I have no problem with wearing a mask. Even if its hotter than hell outside, I’ll put a mask on if i’m going to be near anyone. And now that I’m working back in an office again, I will not be lulled into a false sense of normalcy or security just because our building is open again. In the conference room, i’m masking up–even though all my colleagues are vaccinated.

When are the unvaccinated and their ilk going to understand there is no pathway forward without getting vaccinated and wearing masks? You see, many will claim that everything is fine: businesses are opening again, airline travel is back up, Canada is letting us germy Americans over the border. You know, to prove that none of this is/was as serious as the “DEMOCRATS!!!” said it was. But what I think many fail to taking into account is that it is because a vaccination was rushed through and that at this point, at least 50% of Americans have received it that there hasn’t been more death and total economic collapse. Essentially, those who have been smart and unselfish are now carrying the “others” on our backs.

I have a dear friend who is a respiratory therapist. She has been on the front lines since this whole thing began. She has seen patients of every age intubated and eventually die from this virus. For a time the COVID patients dwindled down to nothing and the ICU at her hospital was again used for patients with serious conditions as per pre-COVID days. And now they are back. And 100% of them refused vaccination over these past few months. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I dearly wish the belligerent among us would stop and consider history. Why aren’t we talking about polio, measles, mumps, even rampant chicken pox outbreaks? Because the vaccines created to eradicate the scourge has saved us. “But, those vaccines took years, and this took months, and we don’t even know what it’s going to do???!!!!,” cry the naysayers.

All those vaccines were created to stop a serious problem. No one was sitting in a lab and thinking, “ummm today’s a light day, so maybe I’ll see if I can whip up a little something for Polio.” Scientists and doctors sped the process using the technology they had available and that took more time then it does now. And yes, there were naysayers whining and stomping their feet then, even as once-healthy children were rendered partially paralyzed from polio. In fact, in the 1950s, when it was imperative that teens get vaccinated for it, the numbers were so low the public health community had to harness an idea that has proven the test of time–celebrity endorsement. All they had to do was film Elvis getting his polio vaccine, and the masses followed.

It baffles me that a public health crisis has been hijacked by a band of political folks as proof that one side is trying to harm the other and the the ones resisting it are the true patriots or the ones that are really wiser than the scientists and doctors of the world. But it’s them and their children that are going to keep filling up the hospitals. If the grown ups survive, there is no telling how long it will take to get back to their normal health. And if the younger ones eventually test negative, they are going to carry the marks of this for their lifetimes.

And I’m not even addressing the marginalized communities who distrust the medical system of this country–for good historical reason. But they too are gambling with their lives.

We are all sick and tired of this. Literally. Get Vaxxed!

Pandemic Holidays: An Introvert’s Dream Come True

When our office went to remote working in March, it was supposed to be for two weeks. You know, just enough time to let this corona bug pass through and then we’d get back to normal. So yeah, it’s two weeks away from 2021 and here we sit.

And here we sit in a holiday season that sucks for many people and yet doesn’t for the rest of us. Who are we grinches not crying at the cancelation of a bajillion holiday events? Us introverts… and we’re (not loud and) proud.

Decorating the house for Christmas was nice enough—whether you love being surrounded by gaggles of people or find your peace in alone time, everyone can agree a cozy home with some lights and nice smelling balsam candles is enjoyable. My family belongs to the “This is not a hoax, don’t mess around with this, suck up your whining and moaning about your ruined social life and filling your bellies at restaurants and working out at a gym; put your mask on and shut up,” camp. No exceptions. And thank you God, we have young adult children who get that and aren’t buzzing around town to see their friends and catch COVID like clueless fools. So, at least the space we have to occupy is festive.

In this spirit of everyone working from home and doing school from home, we could have also been shopping from home, kept going like business as usual in that regard. Lord knows Amazon has certainly seen us through the last nine months. But for the last four weeks, when I could have been shopping for Christmas gifts in earnest, I haven’t. And I don’t feel pressed in the least.

Perhaps my lack of motivation stems from the fact that the postal system (God bless ‘em) is absolutely struggling right now. Forget forking over the extra cash for priority shipping—it’s not going to get where you need it to go when you want it to. As this meme so wisely put it, “Stop tracking that package. It’s in God’s hands now.” Also, who are we seeing to exchange gifts with? No one. Our family bubble is certainly not going to cry if there is anything to open on Christmas morning or if they have to wait for presents on New Year’s Eve (a far more likely scenario).

Honestly, I also feel like holiday revelry is out of place this year. You may or may not believe this, but we are in a much worse situation in terms of infections and deaths than when we first shut down in March. Lockdowns are back all over the world and travel is greatly discouraged (not that that gets in the way of many ‘Muricans.)

Since we still have maskless bandits running around refusing to do the right thing, it is indeed truly safest to hunker down at home. And yes, that is making us introverts feel just fine. I’m not missing the exhaustion of wrapping up 2020 at work while holiday shopping on my phone during long meetings and running to pick up ordered items at lunch time. I’m not feeling bad about missing the frenzied rush of getting enough wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, and scotch tape (which always runs out when you need it most), and then packaging up all the goods.

I am however, missing my nearest and dearest and just being able to get together at a cozy restaurant for a double date or even to have coffee and sit by the fire somewhere. Large holiday parties for work, school, church or otherwise? I’m fine on sitting those out this year.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to try and help out someone this year. And yes, I know with less than a week before Christmas I am going to have to brave Target just once. That to me is worth it if it means I can get a gift or two to a family that is really struggling this year. Because so many are.

I hope the dire situation of the pandemic and the economy are real enough to you to warrant some action in terms of staying and home and safe and trying to donate/give of your resources to people in need. Perhaps the blessing to be found in this introvert’s paradise of the holidays is the chance to extend something good to someone who could use it.

By this time next year, with most of us vaccinated (I hope), it’ll be back to the normal mayhem and we’ll look back at this time fondly for different types of memories. We can only dream.

Shoot Me Up Doc, I Ain’t Afraid!*

Early on in the pandemic when it became apparent that there was no way the world could return to normal unless there was a vaccine for COVID-19, it seemed such a thing was a long way off. But here we are, and granted there is a pecking order for who gets this first, with those of us unessential workers who are healthy low on the list, the news that the vaccine is rolling out is a great thing.

As with anything in these United States, there are lots of opinions. While my social media feeds don’t include anti-vaxxers (that I know of, and if so, I clearly need to diversify my acquaintances), there are many thoughtful individuals who are also wary. Vaccines normally take time to develop, test, and roll out; often years in some cases. So, it’s not entirely far-fetched for some to feel a bit worried about something that has come out in a matter of months.

But here’s where good sense, trust in science and the medical community, and facts have to be depended upon. No, there aren’t microchips embedded in the vaccine the government will use to track us all. We have smartphones and Alexa to listen in on us anyway.  And no, the vaccine is not made up of deadly chemicals that will render the fertile, infertile, and tousle your DNA into who knows what.

While there are always exceptions to the rule, and yes, we are all going to have to watch and see what happens to a certain extent, getting this vaccine is crucial to the country’s dire need to move forward and get strong again.

Does this post sound like a lot of Wilo’s opinions? I’m sure it could. So, let’s check in with the CDC, shall we?

  1. It takes a few weeks for the human body to build immunity, and as we have heard, the vaccine needs to be administered in two dosages with varying times between them depending on the manufacturer). What this means is, you can’t run around barhopping and mask-less with one stick. It is still in excellent form to wear a mask and social distance for a little bit until you complete doses and have let enough time pass.
  2. The vaccine will not cause you to have a positive COVID test result.
  3. If you have gotten COVID and recovered, the vaccine can still benefit you.
  4. This vaccine can indeed keep you from getting sick with COVID even if you experience no symptoms.
  5. If you’ve heard this mRNA thing thrown around and are convinced your DNA will be tampered with, it won’t. According to the CDC, “The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.” See that folks? Science.

By all means, research this more from REPUTABLE SOURCES AND MEDICAL JOURNALS THROUGH ARTICLES WRITTEN BY BOARD CERTIFIED PHYSICIANS AND ACCREDITED SCIENTISTS.” And no, the YouTube video made by that lady in church who only eats raw greens does not count (unless she falls in the above criteria).

Doing your homework is always the right thing to do, but I beg you—think also of the greater good of not just yourself, but your greater community. We are all in this together and the sooner the majority of the population cooperates, the faster we can all get back to living our lives socializing, traveling, working, and giving back to those who need our help.

My two cents? Suck it buttercups and get your shots. Maybe there’ll even be a lollipop in it for you.

*Thank you for this priceless gem, Cameran Eubanks Wimberly.