I like comfort. I want to feel good, do fun things, be warm with a full belly, be comfortable and be organized. After working for many years, often unable to have these needs completely met, I just want calm and normality. At nearly eighty years old, I think I deserve it. In fact, I expect it. It is time.
For the most part over these past few years, my hopes, my expectations, even my demands have been realized. I am hunkered down in my comfy, predictable world enjoying serenity, well-being, complacency, family, devoted friends, good food and physical ease. What more could a girl ask?
And then, my safe and cozy life, just as the lives of millions around the globe, was upended by the invasion of the body-snatchers, the equivalent of a massive shipwreck, spreading a foreboding darkness over our days, putting an end to my comfort. A killer virus invaded our world and changed everything.
COVID-19 had arrived.
Alarmed by the mounting death toll, reports of overflowing intensive care units, the heartbreaking accounts of loved ones saying their final goodbyes via FaceTime, I worried about myself and my family and friends, I was comforted by news of a vaccine that could combat the scourge, thanks to the steadfast work of many brilliant scientists. As a child, I had lived through the feared polio epidemic that raged through the 1940s and 1950s. Remembering those frightful polio years, I signed up to receive the lifesaving shots at three health care centers as soon as I could. And then, I waited to be called for my turn . . . and I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. I came face to face with comfort’s pain.
Pain waiting to be notified of an appointment, pain of knowing so many people were dying, pain in the isolation of self-protection, pain knowing others were being called for their injections and I was not, pain of feeling like the last girl to be asked to dance at the Saturday night hoedown, pain of simply being forgotten, but most of all, the pain of fearing the deadly lung destroying illness might come for me just as a preventative vaccine was in sight. Many people died from COVID, and their families struggled to find some comfort in their loss and answer the question “Why?” I prayed they would find comfort in their pain and sadness.
As with so many others. for six weeks I searched everywhere for centers that offered the vaccine, checked websites for available appointments, called health departments for the lifesaving inoculation and texted friends for guidance about where I might find what I was seeking with increasing desperation. Selfishly, I admit, my comfort was being terribly compromised, and living with the pain of the unknown was becoming my new normal. When would I know?
Miraculously, eight weeks later, on a Tuesday morning in March, nearly a year after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, I heard the angelic “ding” of my cell phone with the long-awaited email. “You have been given an appointment to receive the first Moderna anti-COVID-19 vaccine.” I was ecstatic! Along with birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and other significant moments in my life, an additional celebration has been added; the day I received my second COVID-19 vaccine.
Comfort’s pain can be disturbingly hurtful and can throw us off track as we try to right ourselves. I found that patience, faith and unrelenting detective work were the pieces that restored my comfort. Now with equal measure of gratitude and relief, I will stretch out on the sofa in my fuzzy bear slippers, with two coops of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream, wrapped in my soft cancer-recovery fleece and watch episode twelve of Breaking Bad.
My serene, comfortable, predictable, warm and well-fed world has returned once more, and I am happy...for now.
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