Aaron and Adam were right. In this whole stinking CoVid time, even something of hope is going to be painful, or a challenge.
Of course, I’m talking about my dear and darling one, who spends a huge amount of her life caring for women as a Women’s Health nurse practitioner. For the past number of years, as Sanford Health announced that season’s flu vaccine being available, coming with it was the warning that if an employee decided not to take the flu shot, that person would be condemned to wear a face mask all day long – sort of a medical “Scarlet A.” Well, Cheri in her very firm 5-foot tall stance stated, “I’m not going to wear a face mask all day at work – I’ll gladly get the shot!” Fast forward to March of 2020, and flu shots seemed to not matter by and large. No matter your status, you and all your work associates were required to wear a face mask, as the lowest level of protection from CoVid. Cheri will often respond with, “A lot of help the flu shot was…”
So, the day after the national elections, it was announced that CoVid vaccines would be available and coming to a clinic and hospital near you. Of course, it only made sense that the first folks to “get shot” would be the health care workers. My assumption was that they would take care of the all the ER folks and EMTs and “front line” specialists first, but apparently the health system was able to get their hands on enough to ensure that all health care workers could have access to the vaccine. As I mentioned before, that raised a bit of a dilemma, since the “idea” of getting of shot turned into “The shots are here – are you going to get in line?” Because you know that even with drug trials, this would be a brand new bunch of gunk that would be shot into your blood system and body. It was hoped it would both work, and not kill.
Cheri accepted the offer, and had her first shot soon after Christmas. As it turned out, there was a little soreness around the shot site, and a minor headache, but she was at work the next day, and no worse the wear for it all. Of course, that was shot #1 of two shots, and the boys quickly offered their informed researched opinion of what was to come next. Indeed, it wasn’t the first shot that would bother the system, but when someone would get the SECOND shot, that was when everything would go off the rails, and the individual would unravel and spend some painful time.
Whether Cheri actually believed that or not, she did decide to burn one of her days off, just in case. So, on Saturday, her faithful chauffeur drove her down to the clinic and waited while she had her second dose of the miracle medicine.
It was about 3pm when she had the vaccine, and driving home, she said that the shot site was painful, and that she had a little bit of a headache, but nothing must be different from the first time. That of course would change significantly over the next 48 hours. She went to bed a little early on Saturday night, and when I got up Sunday morning, she was on the couch with a blanket and a pillow. “I really ache…” she said. Her head hurt, her shoulders were stiff, her arms and hands ached, her back and legs and feet all seemed to be in rebellion. Now, she wasn’t incapacitated – she just felt like you-know-what, and it didn’t get much better as Sunday rolled along. She would have short bursts of energy, and then the vaccine would beat her back down into submission, and back on the couch, or in bed she would go, to be attended by any of three four-legged family health workers, who took every advantage to stretch out and sleep on her legs (to keep them warm, it was assumed…).
So, yesterday was a pretty quiet day, with Advil and such, and the boys reminded their mother that “we told you it was going to be like this…” Cheri was a pretty good sport about it, and at the end of the day, she again went to bed, hoping for a better Monday, and a good night’s sleep.
Well, this morning rolled out, and became an official day off (which the clinic should have given folks for free anyway!), and when I got up, I asked her how she was doing. Her response was, “Better – but I am still achy.” Better was a good word, but so everyone knows, two days after your second shot and it could still be “achy Monday.” Now, let’s be clear: the same dose, and amount of dose is given to everyone, no matter if you happened to be 6’5’’ and 450 pounds, or like my beloved, who is five-foot-barely, and hardly weighs anything. I had suggested to her that she ask for the child’s dose when she went in, but she looked at me and said, “I don’t think that is a possibility…” So, it could be that she got an amount that was way more than needed, but however it turned out, the not-quite-poison-but-close will hopefully turn her into Invincible Woman in about two weeks. She’ll still have to wear a mask, but just because. She should be immune to the beast very soon.
Don’t we live in a strange world? When it seems like there is nothing new under the sun, a new danger comes sweeping in, and with it, the human effort to slow it down or stop it from endangering us. I’m on the runway to get my own set of shots within the next couple of weeks, and I have to say I am both looking forward to it, and not so much. Still, it’s like so many of those things we never care to do, but we rise above that, to make sure it will bring health and wholeness once again.
There is a strain of intentionality to all of this, don’t you think? I mean, to not get the shots means that we throw ourselves fully into an accidental future, where we “may” not get sick, but we also “may” get ill. At least the shots offer the possibility of acting intentionally in the face of all of this, or being response-able, not only for ourselves, but for those we love around us. I expect more than 375,000 families would give anything to have had the vaccine given to their loved ones, so that they could celebrate birthdays and holidays, and Sunday visits, instead of remembering lives that were now gone.
I encourage you, as you are able, to take these important good choices, and then perhaps we can see each other with our masks off when all this is done. God’s blessings to you – I’m going to go see what Cheri needs…
Saying for the day: Be yourself. Everyone is already taken. This quote by Oscar Wilde is so simple that we are invited to say, “Well, of course that’s true!” And yet, the profound interior of these words should make us stop and think. Am I acting as my own authentic person? Am I tempted to take on mannerisms or peculiar behaviors that I see in others that I wish I could do myself? Even more – what does it truly mean to “be yourself?” Certainly it must require us to have an idea of who we are, and to not only be aware, but to be comfortable and totally willing to NOT try to be someone else. What are my own values, my own talents, my own shortcomings? How can I behave and move through this day so that when the day is done, I can believe it was a day that featured the true me. Be yourself.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.