There’s nothing like a deadline. I always love when the time is up. An adrenaline rush runs through my veins as I play a basketball game, write a story, and even catch a flight. I’ve always been at my best when there was some kind of pressure. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s been like that 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 to wait my turn, which was fine. There are people with pre-existing conditions who should have come forward.
Opportunities knocked at my door. Matt Meyer, the Spokane Arena entertainment director, called twice to invite me to have my shot. “Can you be here in 15 minutes?” asked Meier. Each time I couldn’t get to the arena in time. In April, there were four occasions when I went to sign up for my injection.
But something always came up: an interview, a training session or an invitation to dinner. Before I knew it, almost everyone I knew, including three of my four children, had been vaccinated. I was incredulous. How did this happen? I will give credit to my daughter Jillian, 22, and son, Eddie, 19, for dropping everything to be safe. Then they taught me about how health is a priority. Who said children were immature?
“What is wrong with you?” asked Eddie. “Why don’t you get the vaccine? Even though the numbers are dropping, do you know you can still get COVID-19 and die?”
Yes, I know very well. While having lunch with a friend at Northern Quest, I was informed that my friend’s ex-husband was hit with COVID-19 in March. He was hit hard and was about to be placed on a ventilator and was told to get his affairs in order. “Is daddy dying?” my friend’s son asked. It couldn’t have been more terrifying for their family. Luckily my boyfriend’s ex survived.
In early May, a concerned friend texted me. He suspected that I had not yet received my injection. He hit me with details about his neighbor’s employee who was about to get vaccinated. Instead, he chose to fly on vacation and then get his chance. He contracted COVID-19 during his trip and was dead within a week.
I get it. It’s still very serious. Nearly 600,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 3.7 million worldwide have died as a result of the coronavirus. Eddie sat down with me for a heart-to-heart.
“What I don’t understand is that if there’s something wrong with you, get it looked at and go to the doctor. You always say the worst thing is to die from something treatable. You could die from this. As annoying as you are, we need you.” Thanks, Eddie. I know where he’s going.
About ten years ago, Eddie’s former ice hockey teammate’s father shocked everyone. He had acid reflux and was told to check it every year, but he never did. He passed on every appointment that was made. Suddenly the sociable father, who had everything to live for – a beautiful wife, two wonderful children and a fascinating career – discovered a lump in 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 don’t do anything, I’ll add a new meaning to the word deadline.
There are scary variants. The best way to deal with that is to be responsible and do what’s best. “If you don’t get vaccinated, what happens in November when winter returns and COVID-19 is still around?” asked Eddie. Valid question.
Americans are divided into two camps: those who are vaccinated and those who don’t get the shot. However, there is a third group of people who unfortunately, like me, intend to do the right thing, but have let obstacles stand in the way.
My kids have every right to tear me apart, and I’m listening to them now. I will my friend Dr. Jacqueline Jones, who was part of Dad Daze columns, who advised on children’s issues. “On a doctor’s prescription: don’t hesitate, vaccinate!”
Ed Condran can be reached at (509) 459-5440 or at email@example.com.