Come on over, pull up a chair and sit a spell — I have a story to share.
No worries, it’s a story with a happy ending but it definitely serves as a cautionary tale because it could’ve ended much differently.
Let’s cut to the chase. COVID-19, that nasty little bugger ruining lives and livelihoods, decided to pop a squat on my household, taking down myself and my daughter in rapid succession.
Two hits, straight to the chest, and we were trapped in enemy territory.
COVID-19 came ready to play a dirty game, hungry for more victims to add to its ever-growing list of conquests but ultimately, it couldn’t compensate for our evasive maneuvers.
That’s right, most of everyone in my house is vaccinated — Team Moderna and Team Pfizer.
Oh, it tried real hard. Gotta give it an “A” for effort because I was hit harder than my daughter and I was hurting bad.
How bad? Well, I’m glad you asked.
As my oxygen sats dipped lower, I struggled to breathe against the invisible anvil pressing on my sternum. My head threatened to explode from the pressure squeezing my brain. Walking up the stairs left me gasping and seeing spots as the most intense fatigue I’d ever known sapped every ounce of energy from within my body. I lost my sense of taste and smell. Fever roasted my insides and left me shivering, exhaustion dragged my eyelids until I dropped into a dreamless sleep that melted the days away.
Dehydration threatened to pull me deeper into a dangerous place as my surgically-altered stomach made it difficult to get what I needed to combat the virus.
As sick as I was, I held onto one solid truth — the vaccine would keep me from ending up on a ventilator.
And that’s exactly what it did.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. I’m not telling you what you should do. I’m just sharing a personal experience and my earnest hope that by sharing, I might make a difference.
In May, I rolled the dice and got the Moderna vaccine. That decision saved my life. COVID-19 had my name on its kill list. Without that additional layer of protection, my story would’ve ended with a sad, “RIP cool writer chick” instead of “Suck it, COVID-19!”
All kidding aside, that’s the point. The vaccine doesn’t encase you in a magical bubble but it does give you more than a fighting chance to beat a virus that has decimated the world.
Right now, in our town and thousands of towns like ours, there are families grieving the loss of their loved ones.
Children without parents.
Parents without children.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, co-workers, friends gone forever.
The list is endless — and pointless.
The vaccine is here. If given half the chance, COVID-19 will come for you.
And when it does … the dice roll might not go your way.
That’s all I’m sayin’.
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.