There is nothing like a deadline. I always love it when time is running out. A rush of adrenaline courses through my veins when I’m playing a basketball game, writing a story and even catching a flight. I’ve always been at my best when there’s been some sort of pressure. I’m not sure why that’s so, but it’s been that way since I was a kid.
When the game was on the line when I was a teenager, I wanted the ball in my hands. I had to beat the clock. When the COVID-19 vaccine started rolling out, I was told I had to wait my turn, which was fine. There are those with pre-existing conditions who should have moved to the front of the line.
Opportunities knocked at my door. Matt Meyer, the entertainment director of the Spokane Arena, called twice inviting me to receive my injection. “Can you get over here in 15 minutes?” Meyer asked. Each time, I couldn’t travel to the arena in time. There were four occasions in April when I was going to sign on for my injection.
However, something always came up – an interview, a practice or an invitation for dinner. Before I knew it, almost everyone I knew, including three of my four children, were vaccinated. I was incredulous. How did this happen? I’ll give my daughter Jillian, 22, and son, Eddie, 19, credit since they dropped everything in order to be safe. They followed by lecturing me about how health is a priority. Whoever said children were immature?
“What’s wrong with you?” Eddie asked. “Why will you not get the vaccine? Even though the numbers are going down, do you know that you can still get COVID-19 and die?”
Yes, I’m well aware. While having lunch with a friend at Northern Quest, I was told that my pal’s ex-husband was stricken with COVID-19 in March. He was hit hard and was about to be placed on a respirator and was told to get his affairs in order. “Is Daddy going to die?” my friend’s son asked. It couldn’t have been more frightening for their family. Fortunately, my friend’s ex lived.
In early May, a concerned friend texted me. He guessed that I had yet to receive my shot. He hit me with details about his neighbor’s employee who was about to get vaccinated. Instead, he opted to fly out for vacation and then get his shot. He contracted COVID-19 on his trip and was dead within a week.
I get it. It’s still very serious. Nearly 600,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, and more than 3.7 million around the world have perished due to the coronavirus. Eddie sat down with me for a heart-to-heart.
“What I don’t understand is that any time anything is wrong with you, you get it checked out and go to the doctor. You always say that the worst thing is to die of something that’s treatable. You could die from this. As annoying as you are, we need you.” Thanks, Eddie. I know where he’s going.
About a decade ago, Eddie’s former ice hockey teammate’s dad shocked everyone. He had acid reflux and was told to check it out every year, but he never did. He passed on each appointment that was set up. All of a sudden, the gregarious dad, who had everything to live for – a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids and a fascinating career – discovered a lump on his neck. He had Stage 4 esophageal cancer and was gone within five months.
His cancer could have been treated. COVID-19 can be prevented with a vaccine. I understand the common denominator. If I had a COVID-19 deadline, I would have met it. But I realize that if I were to do nothing, I’ll be adding new meaning to the word deadline.
There are scary variants out there. The best way to deal with that is to be responsible and do what’s best. “If you don’t get vaccinated, what’s going to happen in November when winter returns and COVID-19 is still out there?” Eddie asked. Valid question.
Americans are divided into two camps, those who are vaccinated and those who will not get the shot. However, there’s a third group of folks who are unfortunately like me who intend to do the right thing but have let obstacles get in the way.
My children have had every right to tear me apart, and I’m listening to them now. I’ve had my first dose of the vaccine, and I’m looking forward to the follow-up. Any who have yet to receive the vaccine should do the right thing.
I will quote my friend Dr. Jacqueline Jones, who has been part of Dad Daze columns, advising about children’s issues. “Doctor’s orders: Don’t hesitate, vaccinate!”
Ed Condran can be reached at (509) 459-5440 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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