Published on March 25, 2021
Hopeful and Proceeding Carefully After Being Fully Vaccinated
Our youngest grandbaby just celebrated his first birthday. But I received the gift — I held and kissed this little guy for the first time. EVER. He was born two days after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and the world shut down. You know the rest of that story.
It wasn’t a given that I would be able to hug him when we visited for his big day. In February, after my husband and I had been fully vaccinated, or “maxinated” as one friend put it, I broached the subject with our son. He still wasn’t comfortable with the idea. As a healthcare provider, he’d been vaccinated early on, but his wife hadn’t yet. He gave the okay to celebrate the baby’s birthday outside and to practice social distancing. We agreed. About thirty minutes into the visit on a warm, sunny afternoon, our son unexpectedly gave “Grammy” and “Grandpa” the go-ahead to hug our grandchildren (their oldest is 21/2). It was happily unexpected! I almost cried… and hug we did! He then gave us a tour inside the home he and his wife had bought in April 2020 – just one month post-lockdown.
That remarkable afternoon marked the highlight of an extraordinary weekend. On Friday night, we hosted two fully vaccinated friends for dinner in our home. On Saturday night, we dined with friends (fully vaccinated of course) outside at a restaurant. The closest diners were about twenty feet away. And on Sunday, we were invited to dinner at the home of fully vaccinated dear friends, one big hug included.
We hadn’t done that much socializing in more than a year! It was exhausting.
And yet, we are far from unleashing the pre-pandemic floodgates. I’m 71. My immune system is compromised from having lived with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) for nearly fifteen years and a second cancer diagnosed in 2018. I am not ready to eat inside a restaurant or return to indoor venues for theatre, concerts or the gym. We are uncomfortable thinking about attending a religious service even though our place of worship has installed a new ventilation system and UV technology to kill germs and reduce the risk of COVID-19. Nail salon? No. I continue to participate in seemingly countless Zoom calls and will do so for the foreseeable future. I am anxious about travel beyond what we can do by car (although I’m thinking a lot about long-distance travel). We remain conscientious about double-masking and social distancing in public.
Again, I am 71. I hope I will be around to watch my grandkids grow up. But given my health history, I can hear a clock ticking and feel as if I’m in a race to reclaim at least some pre-pandemic normalcy. I think back to my days as a communications coach for doctors and scientists who often need to consider and then explain benefits-versus-risks for treatments. That’s what we’re all doing now — figuring out what we can do as safely as possible with the least amount of risk. As in medicine, some of this calculation is science. Some of it is art. We hope we’ll get it right. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more hugs from my grandkids and my “maxinated” friends.
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