OPINION

GOOD MORNING: Vaccines, anniversaries

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat

Welcome to March. Can you believe that we are rolling into the month where all of this lock down stuff began last year? 

As I was contemplating that this past weekend, I was advised that my name had finally come up on a list to get my first round of the COVID-19 vaccine. After months and months of waiting for that, I will admit to being both elated and a bit more than a bit scared.

Scared of what? I don't know. It is, I think, just generalized anxiety at this point. The unknown is getting to be a real kill joy these days. I mean who anticipated a snow storm in Texas that would shut the whole place down for a week? Then just as I, and everyone else, was recovering from that, I had a sciatica flare that put me flat on my back for a week in horrible pain.

As I sit here, on a very hard surface, writing this, I really think the back flare came from the stress and tension the week before during the bad weather. I am sure that I pulled something when I reached for a case of bottled water, but I think that body part was so overly tense that just that little strange movement sent me down a rabbit hole of pain. A life-time of living with people who suffered from addictions has me terrified of taking anything that can't be purchased over the counter, so it was a very hard week.

Then I get the news about the shot and suddenly, I am more anxious than relieved.  I am not scared of the pain of the shot or really, the mild side effects that people have described. I am scared of the unknown. More unknown is the last thing I want right now. That doesn't mean I am not going to get the shot. I think it is my public duty to get the shot. I just don't know any other way to describe it. I am healthy enough to take it and unhealthy enough to need it, so I should take it. Anything that I can do to keep myself out of the ICU is good not only for me, but for the next poor soul who might need that bed I worry a lot about that other poor soul. 

I have worried so much about them that I have done as I was told and stayed inside trapped in my own little bubble for what has almost been a year now. And, man is that getting old. It is beyond old. There are days when I am beginning to wonder if I will make it sanely through till this whole thing is lifted.

When this thing started, I was a very social person. I worked daily in the buzz of a busy newsroom and had for some 20 years. Then suddenly, all of that buzz died away into the silence of a work-from-home-office with a schnauzer and a telephone for company. I might talk to five or six people a day, but telephone communication is a poor replacement for face-to-face interactions with people I have known for 20 years.

The longer that this goes on, the more I understand why inmates dread solitary confinement so much. If there is one thing that I have learned about myself during this experience, it is that I am a social creature. And I am one who likes to look my subjects in their faces while I gather the facts to tell you, our readers, their stories. 

I look forward to the point when we can all do those things again. And I hope it isn't too far off. I think over the next few years, a lot of people in the social sciences are going to be studying the impacts that this whole thing has had on us as a human race. And I think the findings are going to be both interesting and terrifying. 

For those of you who feel, like me, on the edge, please remember that there is no shame in reaching out for help. Locally, 211 can help put people in touch with local mental health professionals. 

The folks in charge of getting us all vaccinated are working their tails off and hopefully, soon, we can all gather together (even if we have to wear a mask) and share our stories in person. I can't wait to hear how you all stayed sane and healthy during this crazy, crazy time. 

Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.