Toby finally got his first covid shot today! And Fred and Bea got their boosters. These vaccines have been a loooooooooooong time coming and we’re finally on our way to being able to join the world of “normal.”  Over the past months, my kids have watched as other families eat at restaurants indoors and their friends take off masks at school and camp.  It has felt interminable and heartbreaking to keep having to tell them to be careful and cautious when it feels like no one else is.  I have felt incredibly left behind and uncared for by our society.  And now, finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Another six weeks (for Toby) before we’re fully there, but it’s close enough now that I can begin to start breathing a bit easier.

I should be celebrating, really. But, honestly, trying to get my kids these shots today was a horrific experience. No place had both the under-5 shot and the pediatric booster. The one place I thought had the booster ran out yesterday. So I spent my morning calling around various health departments and pharmacies to see where I could get it. And of course, I had already done the same for Toby’s shot a few days ago. In the end, I spent a total of about 4-6 hours on the phone/internet trying to find and schedule my kids’ vaccines and then, between the drive to and from two different pharmacies (one was half an hour away, the other an hour away from home) and wait-times once there, another 4 hours actually getting the shots in their arms.  Honestly, a parent who cared even the slightest bit less than I do about getting their kid vaccinated, a parent who works full-time, a parent who – for whatever reason – can’t persevere through the system would very understandably have just given up.  I almost did today.  I definitely cursed and yelled a lot.

I can’t help but think it’s because I’m a resident of Tennessee, a conservative state, that it took such a Herculean effort to get what should have been readily available to my children to keep them safe from this virus.  Covid-19 was, from the beginning, politicized, which is something I still struggle to understand. How can those in power play so fast and loose with the well-being of those for whom they are responsible?

And that my battle to get my kids fully vaxxed took place on the same day that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade only angers and frustrates and depresses me more.  Why is access to basic health care such a politicized and polarizing thing in this country?  Why do we put up so many barriers to people’s basic well-being?  Why do we insist on inserting politics and politicians into the conversation between a patient and his or her doctor?  Why do we as a society seem to prioritize party loyalty over listening to one another and just letting one another get on with life as they choose? 

I should be celebrating today.  Instead, I feel like crying – and cursing (again).  I’m desperately trying to hold on to my faith in humanity, but today, it’s hard.  Very hard. 

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.   

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