I can’t sleep, so I’ve gotten up to write. Maybe I can’t sleep because I’m 56 years old and I had coffee at 4pm yesterday. To be fair I needed the coffee because I was working my fourth twelve-hour shift in a row, also my choice. Mostly, I’m just so excited to have been given the opportunity to contribute to our escape from the oppressive experience of this pandemic.
It’s snowing outside, and I’m grateful I don’t have to work tomorrow. Due to unsafe roads, many of my co-workers had to stay at friends’ houses or rent hotel rooms tonight in order to fulfill their shifts tomorrow. In these times, exposing yourself to a different environment could be a dangerous decision. In these times, health care workers are often forced to take risks so we can keep taking care of others. This year, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and others across the country have had to keep working without proper masks, gloves, and gowns so they could keep taking care of patients. That was the job, so staying over at a friend’s house doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Fortunately, my hospital had the foresight and planning to provide enough PPE for its employees.
Anyway, I have digressed. The day after tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to change the trajectory of our country and our lives. I’ve already voted and given blood a few times, but the day after tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to be a vaccinator. To be clear, I didn’t invent this vaccine. I have not contributed to the science of creating this vaccine. Those scientific researchers are really the people who are going to save all of us.
I’m just excited to contribute. We have been asked not to call employee health because they are so overwhelmed with taking care of employees and making arrangements for vaccine distribution. I don’t always follow the rules, which can be a good thing sometimes. So I called and gave someone at employee health my name and number. I said I wanted to help to make things better and I’ll put in some time. I’m not seeing the grandchildren anyway, so I’ve got time on my hands. Besides, I’d rather do something than just sit around and wait for my turn to take the vaccine. That phone call happened last week. I got an email this week and I wrote back and I got a follow-up phone call to come Friday morning. I’m showing up at 6am and vaccinating until 10 am and I’m so excited about it!
It feels kind of like giving blood. It feels more like voting and hoping my vote counts. But it feels even better because I know this is the beginning of the end of this horrible time in our history.
Who would ever believe that a virus, which is smaller than a human cell would take down the wealthiest country in the world? Who would think we would have to go into hiding behind masks, to save our lives and the lives of our families because of this tiny virus? Who would think ever, that a virus could become politicized? It’s so tiny and yet we have fallen. 58,000 US servicemen died over a protracted 19-year war in Vietnam from 1954-1975. 61,000 people died from the flu from 2017-2018, the deadliest flu season. 300,000 people dying is not a conspiracy theory, it’s a disaster. It happened and more people will die before we have herd immunity.
The president of this country has failed to protect us. He has failed to open up supply chains for PPE and ventilators. We are the wealthiest country in the world and he couldn’t designate factories to make more ventilators faster or provide us with more PPE or identifying tests? He has discredited science to such a degree that people are afraid to be vaccinated and believe that wearing a mask is some kind of a deprivation of personal rights. He has blood on his hands. Truly, a country follows its leaders and a country is only as intelligent and effective as its leaders.
We have all suffered. Some of us have paid the ultimate price. We have lost family and friends. We have lost time with children, grandchildren and our elderly parents. We have suffered loneliness and depression. Some of us with chronic illnesses have deteriorated more rapidly.
The vaccines are supposed to come to my hospital tomorrow, in the middle of a snowstorm. I hope they make it. I can’t wait to start living again.
I’m going to try to go back to sleep now. I knew that coffee was a bad idea. I hope you all get vaccinated soon even if you don’t share the same political views as me. After all, we’re all just people sharing the same living space on this planet. I’d like it to be a nicer place soon.