Letters to the Editor
January 29, 2021
I haven’t yet been “shot,” but I’m so very happy that you have had your first dose!
My husband and I are in the “neverland zone” with respect to qualifying for the vaccine--maybe by the end of this summer. My mom, who is 91 and lives in a senior residence, received her first dose of the vaccine last week. Steve and I have been at home for a year, avoiding friends, masking up for a once a week dash to the grocery store, and otherwise waiting….just waiting… waiting to hear that our two daughters are still fine, waiting to Skype with friends, waiting with just a little bit of fear, for any news that might list someone we know who has been devastated with a positive Covid-19 test result.
Our eldest daughter Bobbie and her husband Brock are both nurses, so they have already received their first vaccines. This Mama is trying very hard to be calm about my daughter’s possible exposure to the virus, but Bobbie dons PPE daily at the hospital, changes her clothes after her shift and showers when she gets home, all as part of her ‘normal’ day. We cannot visit our children, so Skype is our saving grace. Unfortunately, our granddaughter just looks at the computer screen and runs away, when her mama tells her to wave to Nana and Papa! But she is not quite two years old, and we are not yet in her circle of friends. We are missing so much, but we’re NOT complaining--we are blessed that everyone is safe and healthy!
Okay--so I am complaining just a bit! I want a vaccination, I want to see my kids, I want to walk the dog without jumping up into someone driveway every few minutes, as another human being is walking towards us, possibly in a cloud of Covid, OMG! We are diligent about Canada’s six-feet-apart rule, and we are, knock on wood, healthy, but I anxiously await the time when we can hug people again!
Only once has Covid come close enough to us to really shake our lives. A 39-year-old friend of ours caught the virus after attending a church picnic last summer. He was hospitalized for several weeks, lost 20 pounds, couldn’t work, and remained in his basement, ‘recovering’ the entire summer. Here in Canada, our population doesn’t compare with the number of people who live in the States, but behaviorally, some Canadians have been just as blind, or stupid, or uncaring as anyone else in the world. The message to “flatten the curve” just doesn’t seem to sink in with everyone! Trump’s gatherings used to terrify us, as we watched masses of people, unmasked and standing close together. And then, our friend went to a church social and nearly died as a result. What is wrong with this picture? Dr. Fauci says “wear a mask”; Dr. Fauci says “socially distance.” Good advice, yes? YES! And yet, people are still sick, still hospitalized, still dying, still denying that this is real and horrible.
I lost my job due to Covid; I cannot visit my mother or my children; a road trip is going to the grocery store at 7 am. (7-8 am is “Old Folks’ Hour” and I’ve never been happier to be a senior citizen!). But on the plus side, I am healthy, and safe; I can call my mom every day and can email or Skype with my daughters. We even have friends who “invite us to dinner” on Zoom, while we make the same food and pretend we’re in the same kitchen!
Thank goodness, 2020 was also a year of uplifting, supportive, and hilarious emails. Without face-to-face contact, it has been a highlight in my day to have correspondence and jokes and support sent to me over the Internet. Randy Rainbow is my hero--his YouTube songs and parodies have kept me running to my Inbox for much needed laughter.
I think that the most important thing I’ve been able to do during the pandemic, is to find silly ways to keep my mom involved in life, even during the difficult periods of lockdown that have been enforced at the seniors residence. Loneliness is a terrible consequence of Covid in such facilities: activities are pared down to a minimum, and residents are eating alone in their rooms.
Last year, I broke the administrator’s rules for six weeks, before I got caught. I’m such a rebel--I made dinner once a week for Mom and five of her neighbours! The staff was fabulous: they set up tables and chairs (socially distant) down the hallway for Mom’s “group”, and they ‘plated’ my dinners for those sweet people. My cooking is not extraordinary, but it was such a treat for Mom and her friends to have something ‘different’ to change up their week--a clandestine meal in the hallway. (I wasn’t allowed into the building, but I heard rumors that they supplied their own wine!) The change of scenery encouraged more conversation and laughter. I didn’t find out until I was forced to “follow the rules” and only provide food for my own mother, that those Sunday dinners were a highlight of their week.
Now, with vaccines coming, it’s an exciting “countdown to freedom”. Until the dining room is open again in the senior residence, I try to treat Mom to dinners that I can deliver to her building. She’s very easy to please --tonight she wants Kraft Dinner! But I’ll do anything she likes, if it keeps her focused on staying healthy and getting her second vaccine.
I’m jealous, Editor, of your vaccination--I’d willingly take mine in the Detergent Aisle! But I’m SO relieved that Mom and her friends will be safe again, when the second dose is administered next month.
Offering my best wishes to all – be smart, stay safe, and get “shot!"
Debra Perron/Alberta, Canada
Debra was a paralegal for 40 years, until Covid gifted her an unplanned retirement this year. She is now looking forward to much anticipated vaccinations, after which she and her husband can start their road tripping adventures across Canada and the United States.