I never thought I’d be throwing a special dinner for something like a vaccination, but I did – and yes, there was cake. I felt the monumental occasion of my daughter’s COVID-19 vaccination needed to be marked because I am so done with how the last 11 months have wrecked all our celebrations. Since I can blame it on COVID-19, when a member of my family gets vaccinated against this horrible infectious disease, we will rejoice.
Emma works in long-term care, and while she isn’t a nurse or personal support worker, her job there is very much frontline. Her compassion for the residents she serves is one of the most heartwarming sources of pride for this mom right here. She is tested for COVID every week and takes it all in stride. She loves her job because she cares about the people she serves. I love that. I respect that.
So, you can imagine the upset caused when we got hit, out of the blue, with a sinus cold recently. A sore throat in the morning turned to a full blown head cold by end of day. That meant Emma couldn’t offer much notice to call in sick, (colds don’t care much about timelines). She panicked. Cancelling her shift would cause alarm in a work environment already hyper-conscious of COVID. She believed she was letting people down. Her colleagues would be upset. That worry was quickly overshadowed with the fear of potentially having COVID. Simple cold symptoms are no longer simple cold symptoms, right? Having worked a few days prior, she was wracked with guilt wondering if she could have brought this illness into the LTC facility prior to knowing she was ill. Again, she is tested weekly, but her anxiety was palpable. What if?
I took her to get a COVID test right away, which they performed from the passenger seat of my car. Mine was done at the old Groves. We went home and we stayed inside for days while we awaited our results. We laid low, got healthy and drank a lot of ginger ale. Days later, we both came up “negative” for COVID. Positive news.
Yet, Emma’s scheduled vaccination the following week came with more angst caused by online opinions she read of potential side effects. We sifted out fact from fiction. As an autistic person, she has long heard the lie that autism is caused by vaccinations, so to make herself laugh she said, “Well, at least I won’t get autism, right?” Good one.
Humour is an antibody in our family. We joked with her that the only side-effects would be her sudden ability to speak Russian, the desire to purchase Microsoft products, and that we would now be able to track her every move via her new microchip device. Assuring her this medicine was the best thing for the people she takes care of was the only truth she needed.
Emma received her first vaccination the day before public health announced the delay of the second. She’s taking it all in stride though. Our focus is being grateful these vaccines exist and that we live in a country where, eventually, we will get them. No sense stressing about what we cannot control.
Pub fare and a little cake are really all it takes to remind us that life is better when we celebrate the little moments that have the biggest impacts. Better days are ahead. Believe it.