I don’t watch the news very often these days. For the last four to five months its been the same recycling of COVID numbers and overdone political posturing by both the Democrats and the Republicans, leading up to the election. However, I caught this morning’s (Sunday) news about the possibility of COVID-19 vaccines coming to fruition, and I felt like a ray of sunshine had appeared through the rainy clouds outside. For me, an individual with pre-existing conditions, hearing that working vaccines are on the near horizon is an answer to an entire Spring, Summer and Fall of prayers and hopes. The mere thought that there could be something that may provide some relief from all of this is something I had not dared to dream of.
All of this time with COVID has brought me to some perceptions that I would not have come to otherwise. That there is a substantial group of people out there that will adhere to a cult of personality over what science tells us. That these same people will put their willful ignorance over the protection of the more vulnerable members of their families, just because some political figure makes the statement that wearing masks “makes you weak.” But I was also shown the other side of that coin as well. People immediately around me did their utmost best to be mindful and protective of me. People not immediately around me were also willing to do the same. Cancelling plans (or even discussing the cancelling of plans) that involved travel and potential risk to make sure that risk was not translated directly to me. Its a humbling perspective, particularly when they are discussing these potential cancellations and are doing actual cancellations – for me.
2020 has about eighteen days left (as I write this). We all have made statements about how terrible this year has been. And it has. Many of us have lost loved ones to complications from COVID. Some have contracted it and survived – telling us how horrible things were with this disease ravaging their systems. And we haven’t even started discussing the long-term complications that the survivors are going to go through. But 2020 has also shown us what kind of people we are. We have learned lessons in how to be selfless for others. And those of us who have been set at a point of being protected by those who chose to be selfless, have learned our own lessons in humility.
Life can be hard. And sometimes, we are too close to the trees to realize the forest. I’ve been there. I’m still there. Yes, we still live in a time of COVID. I am fortunate enough to have people who give a shit about me, even when I am too wrapped up in my own mind to realize what they do for me until much later. I know that they will continue to do their best to keep me protected. Not because I ask them to, but because I am a part of their lives. A part that they care about greatly. It’s quite humbling to realize that. It’s also bringing about a greater responsibility for me as well. I have to be more cognizant of the choices that I make in my own daily life. So that my actions don’t put me into the very risk that they are trying to protect me from. I have to think smarter. I have to do better. We all do.
Yes, the vaccine is on the horizon. But that means that we have to be even more vigilant over the threat that COVID sets in front of us. We are in the last mile. We need to be more aware now than ever before. Not just for us. For those who protect us daily with their own actions, thoughts, and self-imposed limitations. For those who continue to not wear masks, those who continue to deny the science, those who choose not to be protective of others….we need to be careful around them. We are all responsible for our own actions, for our own thought processes, for our own feelings. I can’t force others to behave the way that I do, or to be as protective of others as the ones that do so for me. I can; however, avoid those folks as much as possible.
When all of this COVID stuff started to happen, the news media noted that individuals with pre-existing conditions were most vulnerable. Diabetics were among those listed in that category. Once, someone commented that she wanted to “just wrap me in bubble-wrap and keep me home.” In that amusing way, she was announcing that it was important to be protective of me. I am quite sure that others have felt the same way about those in their families who have similar conditions. The vaccine is almost here. But its not time to take off the bubble-wrap.
During the pandemic, I have made a few choices that put me at risk in a way I should never have done. All I can do is apologize to others for doing so. I got lucky and nothing happened. Lucky. Others, who have done far less risky things, were not. For me, I was careless. I was stupid. Please don’t take unnecessary risks. Now is not that time. Remember all the people who are protecting you are also counting on you to do the right thing as well.