THE EXCLAMATION POINT at the end of the title above does not indicate any excitement on my part. I'm just being facetious.
I'm somewhat ambivalent about the COVID vaccination. I don't care much for injections or medications of any kind, for that matter. I'm more inclined to live healthily and maintain a robust immune system naturally through good food and exercise. But I'm not naive. While the human body is capable of amazing things, it is also susceptible to medical mysteries and unclassified diseases.
My wife and I have been virtually housebound since late March 2020. We've done everything suggested by medical experts, healthcare workers, and scientists. After all, masks, social distancing, and cleanliness is the natural way to protect ourselves from the disease.
I refuse to get stressed out about it
Frankly, it's been a bitch. We miss our family immensely. We miss friends. We miss going to restaurants and happy hour, which was one of our fun things to do.
We moan and groan about our plight from time to time, but then we see other folks struggle with sickness and death and family tragedy. We see families with little food. We watch front-line workers being worn to a frazzle physically and emotionally by endless hours spent serving their communities, all while struggling with the soul-crushing defeat of losing multiple patients each day.
Fifteen minutes of the evening news and our little problem of being housebound seems like the equivalent of a 10-year old whining about having to go to bed at eight o'clock on a school night.
We soon looked upon our housebound status as our small contribution to saving lives. At the beginning of the pandemic, the mantra was: We're all in this together!
We took that to heart.
And now, it's time for the vaccine
I have friends and family on the fence about taking the vaccine, and I know others who will refuse it. As I mentioned above, I'm ambivalent about it too. Is it worth it? Have I already had COVID-19 without any symptoms, and therefore already have my own antibodies? How long will this vaccine protect me?
I'm over 65, so I've been eligible for weeks now, but I haven't been in a hurry. I was going to wait for my wife to become eligible so we could do it together. Plus, I wasn't eager to get in line for an hours-long wait with hundreds of irate, stressed-out older folks who took questionable measures to ensure they got the shot. (That kind of stress will weaken your immune system.)
After encouragement from some family members, my wife called for an appointment for me. Less than two weeks later, the day is here. Today, February 14th, I'm scheduled at 3:30 p.m. to get my first shot. I expect it to be a no muss, no fuss experience.
As I go into this experiment, I know there are dozens of questions about the tests and vaccines with no real answers.
I very much admire and respect the healthcare workers, doctors, scientists, and specialists of every stripe, but the fact is, we've come into some unknown space. There are no rock-solid answers to all the questions that people have. It's an incredibly complex system of interrelated parts. The answers we are given are more like educated guesses.
The research goes on, and it will for years to come--it will likely never stop.
Do doctors ever have a rock-solid answer to anything that ails us? Seldom. But the work they do is based on decades and even centuries of research. They have at their disposal a vast knowledge base, years of advanced training, and extensive specialized experience.
That's what we call good medicine.
Trusting good medicine
How should we feel about this good medicine?
At some point, trust has to come into play, and we take action. Throughout our lives, we have to learn to trust things to survive. As the Russian playwright, Anton Chekhov once said, You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible.
But at this moment in time, there is little trust in the world. We're skeptical, fearful, and filled with worry. Most of this uneasiness is born from a lack of leadership, racial inequities, and political divisiveness. But these things have little to do with our health as it relates to the pandemic.
For me, I don't want my uneasiness with the zeitgeist to taint my faith in science, the medical community, and good medicine.
We all see a doctor when we're not feeling well, and we trust in his or her advice and the medications prescribed. Trust is built and maintained by many small actions over time. I think our medical community and front-line workers have more than proven themselves.
I trust good medicine. I will get my COVID-19 vaccination today. And I won't think twice about it.