I got carded yesterday. What now?

I have been metaphorically “breathing easier” through two masks for the past number of weeks. Variants have upped the Covid-19 ante and my worry. Cases are on the rise again in many states including my home state of Vermont.

For months I have been counting down the vaccine eligibility hours. I have never been so eager to age until chronology became an appointment edge. Our appointments were this past Friday. First vaccine appointments were celebratory for this wife and husband. If Johnson & Johnson? One and done. Pfizer?  Moderna? We wouldn’t know until we did. Excitement with a hint of trepidation. I felt confident about receiving the vaccine. Very grateful too. 

Arriving early, on a cold snowy Friday morning. Good Friday. Twenty something degrees out. Colder with the windchill.  An appointment we certainly did not want to be tardy for. The drive to our appointed clinic was straight forward. Just under an hour from our home. We sat in the car and reviewed our appointment protocols in hopes that the clock would move swiftly. There was a weighty importance to the writing between the lines in the instructions I was holding. 

A gentleman walked across the parking lot and into the clinic with his left short sleeve already rolled up. No coat. Arms bare. He was ready. We were ready. Short sleeves made sense even in the cold. Ease of process. The clock finally did move and now it was our turn. Our appointments were ten minutes apart. We entered the clinic together while immediately assuming a 6-foot distance. We have become subconsciously conditioned to keeping a berth around us. Routine. I wonder how we will recover from some of our new cautious behaviors down the road?

While registering at the check-in desk I asked the clinician, what will you be serving us today? She responded with smiling eyes, “Moderna.” Instantly, it became real. Moderna. Our saving grace. The process was easy as it has become a well-oiled machine. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. I waited in my strategically placed sturdy gray vinyl covered chair. It was just a few moments before being greeted by a nurse. She escorted me to her table at the back of the room. Small talk filled the air. As I approached her station, I saw the syringe filled with the vaccine on the table. The nurse turned to me as she understood the break in my voice and the tears in my eyes. I was surprised by my immediate emotional response. I was not the first patient to react this way she assured me. I suspect not the last too. The day, April 2nd and the moment felt so stressfully long in coming. I had made it. I soon would have a real chance to withstand Covid-19. Friends, family, loved ones will no longer be solely a phone call away…

The required forms and conversation felt standard however not as I have never done this before. Flu shot, yes. Tetanus, of course. My fight to survive a pandemic, completely new.  The details of the possible side effects and the instructions for the second injection four weeks away were discussed. She explained I won’t be fully vaccinated until two weeks after my last injection. I did the math and happy birthday to me as I will be celebrating immunity this upcoming May 12th, I hope. 

The wallet addition of our vaccination card may rival the social security card for importance. “Make sure you bring it back for your next appointment so both injections can be recorded,” she gently warned. Are people laminating their cards as they will potentially be used in a variety of situations? I asked. The nurse advised me to wait until we learn more about the vaccines and the possibility of a booster shot. I dutifully agreed. No errors now as I have come this far.  I placed this golden ticket carefully in my purse after checking out. I waited the required 15 minutes with my arms holding my purse tightly in my lap. I was taking no chances…

After arriving home, I decided to take a nap. Being rescued is exhausting. I slept briefly but deeply…salvation. 

“If you are still breathing, you have a second chance.” Oprah Winfrey

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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