Are there already six hundred blog posts connecting the rollout of the COVID vaccine and one of Hamilton’s most quotable, recognizable stage moments?
If memes are already in high circulation, or worse, the unforgivably “dead” meme, as the kids say, then you can be sure my title is not a terribly clever or innovative one, I know. I’ve been neither prolific nor creative much under COVID isolation, but maybe there’s reason for optimism. . .
Being a public school speech-language pathologist meant that I was identified as being a 1A. 1A is my state’s designation for those among the first eligible to receive the COVID vaccine here. My work group received a midafternoon Thursday email with a message and sign-up link inviting us to schedule our first appointment with the City Health Department. Turned out that email was mistakenly sent to all employees, not specifically to the ones meeting the select criteria, and there was something of an uproar as people attempted to schedule online. Only a fortunate few with the fastest of fingers were able to get in that first afternoon, and oooh-weee, a mild uproar ensued. Can an uproar be mild? Maybe it was more like a ballyhoo or a ruckus.
The erroneously sent email was retracted within minutes (do not envy that guy. . .), and not long thereafter, those appropriately identified and willing members of the target audience continued scheduling their first vaccines. I guess I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised at the level of anger and disappointment expressed by those unable to score one of those coveted slots. Me? I’m your glass half-empty gal. To my way of thinking, we went from not knowing it was even the remotest of possibilities Wednesday to “Sign up RIGHT NOW” within the span of less than a day–I honestly could not believe we were even included as fast as we were. Plus, my lot of random luck dried up drier than the Sahara a long time ago, so I never expect something like this to go my way. WOW, that reads deeply pessimistic, but it is true: I don’t ever expect to be on the inside of any velvet rope kind of situation these days, I just don’t. And I don’t get worked up over it either like I once did. I think the word is resignation; I feel resigned to whatever crumbs and leftover morsels I do get, and it’s OK.
I interpreted the frustration of those not being able to schedule resultant to just how significantly COVID is affecting our resiliency. Memes about ours and our children’s resiliency abound these days. Another meme making the rounds reminds us how it’s OK not to be OK right now, and let me tell you from my own corner of the world how not OK I am. Actually, I won’t tell you. I suspect I’m among superb company, with a great many of us wishing and hoping for a quick return to our good old days.
I interpreted the frustration as indicative of how badly educators want to be back to work, back to work as we previously knew it anyway. We are working harder than ever under virtual instruction, but my unscientific data pool finds that only a select few prefer virtual speech therapy. We got into this job because we enjoy, maybe even crave, human interaction. You don’t get the incidentals teaching virtually–I miss the sound of laughter as kids mess with one another in the hallways, I miss high fives and hugs, and loud bursts of energy and sass. I miss those random conversations with staff and students in the hallway. I miss the kids’ faces when they GET IT! I miss talking to my coworkers who are also my friends and my coworkers who aren’t my friends, but are people I find interesting or challenging or entertaining. We want to get back to those incidental benefits implicit in our career and workplace choices.
But back to the optimism. . .
I got the first of my two vaccines Saturday. The process could not have been more professional, the City’s vaccine distribution management is surgical in its precision and execution. Trained staff at each waystation explained what you were to do and where you were to go next. Nurses ran through their interview protocols allowing plenty of time for questions in response. Medical assistants shepherded vaccine recipients according to the numerical sequence in which they arrived (because, and I do have a bit of insider info here, nothing incites bad behavior more than when people feel they have been skipped in line!).
The shot itself was no thing. In and out. Afterward, those who get vaccinated are required to wait fifteen minutes, in case side effects were to make themselves known. EMTs were at the ready. You EVEN got your parking validated on the way out! I mean!!
Afterward, I raved and rattled on for probably a couple hours about how great I felt and how encouraged I was by these first steps of an incredible coordinated effort to begin the return to our former lives. Me, woman of half-empty note, floated in the world of half-full, and it was a delight.
My neighbor, another early vaccine recipient, texted Saturday, asking how I felt. He admitted to having a mild headache and an early bedtime his vaccine day, but otherwise felt fine. I was skipping along, still ridin’ a giddy wave of “I am not throwing away my shot” pretty terrific, until I wasn’t. By late afternoon, I began to feel achy, and I wanted (though resisted) a nap. Just before my big-girl bedtime, my arm began to hurt. Like holy hell, my arm hurt at the injection site. I felt like I’d been slammed with a Louisville Slugger, and kept examining my arm in the mirror, convinced I’d find a stupendous bruise to match the physical insult I felt I’d had to have had. But no. Soon enough, like the injection itself, the pain in my arm was no thing and by Monday morning, it was but a memory.
As baffling as this sentence construction sounds, I cannot wait to get my second dose. I’ve been good about staying close to home, and limiting contact with the world, like I’ve been really goooooood. I’m so damn tired of being really good. I will gladly endure another meh kind of achy, need-a-nap kind of day if it means my tiny role in returning to the real world has been satisfied. I can’t even believe I have to say this, but the pain in my arm was not from the implantation of a tracker microchip certain fringe elements insist (via their smartphones, no less. . .) is part of this great vaccine conspiracy.
I’m not usually the type who looks forward to pain, but I am eagerly anticipating the next round. Batter up!