Reflections on COVID stab #2

Walking through ASU’s basketball stadium, following the floor dots and sandwich boards on my way to get my second COVID shot, I was a little overwhelmed.

Part of it is our good fortune in medicine. I don’t think vaccines are 100% good, safe, effective, or administered on an appropriate schedule, but with a virus that’s readily killing people and leaving orders of magnitude more with long-term (possibly permanent) damage to their cardio vascular system, their cognition, their mental health, I’m grateful for science.

Of course, they’ve been wanting to do work on vaccines for SARS viruses for years but there was no funding.

It’s always about money.

Part of it is my good fortune to live where it’s available. Not all countries—or all states within my own country, or people within my state—have equal access.

Part of it is built-up feelings from recent news from India. They’re spiking hard. They’re running out of oxygen. Literally. Twenty-two people on ventilators died earlier this week because of an oxygen leak. Other hospitals say they have very few days’ worth of oxygen left.

People are being turned away from hospitals. People are panicking and grieving for sick, dying, and dead loved ones.

Climbing Daddy’s colleague who is in India was talking about it on a call this morning.

It’s different, hearing a man’s troubled voice, than reading it on the news.

It’s crushing. 

Part of it is that were I to walk into this building for a sporting event, as I’ve done many times, I’d be checked for weapons. My bag would be searched and I’d walk through a metal detector.

This week, I just walked in.

With the overlap between gun fanatics and anti-vaccination people, especially in a place where guns are distressingly easy to acquire, I’d expect differently.

Maybe it’s because there are fewer people at the stadium.

Maybe they just want it to be as fast and smooth and have as few hurdles as possible, so people will come.

While I sat and waited for my 15 minutes to pass, I hand-wrote this piece in a small notebook that I keep in my purse so I have it with me for any occasion. 

Now I carry a purse, so I can have my notebook handy. I’ve previously usually just used my pockets.

You don’t interact with the people around you any more when you’re writing in your notebook than you do when you’re looking at your phone, but you’re judged differently for it.

Also, it was my first time writing in this particular notebook, and the pages are delicious to write on. What a lovely 15 minutes.

As I left the stadium, I had about a quarter-mile walk back to my car. They had golf carts on site, waiting at the curb, to take you back to a drop-off location. I chose to walk—the weather was beautiful here that day—and was pleased that so many others chose to walk as well.

I was told to stay hydrated—which is good practice, regardless—and to move and use the arm a lot. I set a timer that rings every hour, reminding me to drink a glass of water and do five pushups. 

Now if only I can make that a habit for days when I’m not trying to avoid unpleasant side effects…

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