Getting the Vaccine Along With a Glimmer of Hope

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One morning this week, as I was driving 90 minutes down a highway, past frost-covered fields and bright white church steeples, I finally cried. I was on my way to get the vaccine, and after nearly a year of bottling up emotions, they were suddenly pouring out.

I qualified for the vaccine in Missouri’s Phase 1B-Tier 2 because I have Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune illness that affects the intestinal tract, as well as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — conditions managed through a rigid medication schedule that suppresses the immune system, leaving people like me particularly vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus.

The virus has felt inescapable, as it has for so many people. At work, as an editor at The New York Times, I read story after story about the loss of life and try to find words to help readers understand and process the pandemic’s toll. At home, the virus has laid bare my own health concerns. I moved to Kansas City, Mo., from New York in June, after 100 days alone in my apartment, to be closer to family in case I were to be infected.

Every step outside my apartment has felt like a calculated risk.

Driving east on I-50 toward the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, I felt all the emotions of the year bursting forth. Could this be what hope feels like?

I’ve felt a physical lightness since the shot. It is a glimmer of joy during a dark and cold winter. Friends who will most likely not be vaccinated for many months said that my vaccination cheered them too: evidence of tangible progress.

At the end of February, I hope to drive back for my second dose. My life after the vaccine will look much like my life before. I’ll still be wearing my mask and social distancing, but I’ll do so with less fear.

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Sahred From Source link World News