That Time I Took a Poetry Class

Found

The man was

out of place

He was

wearing long pants in the heat

Walking up and down the beach

Looking

He passed us once

Looking

And twice

Looking

Weaving in

and out of the umbrellas

and sandy children

and greasy adults drinking wine from cans

Back and forth

We call to the man on his next pass

Did he need help? Was he lost? Was there someone he was meeting?

His daughter

But he could not find her

He pulled a well-worn piece of paper from his wallet filled with phone numbers

He pointed to one

We call. She does not answer

We text. She calls back

She is at the beach. And had walked right past us

Off to the right. Down towards the water. She stands and waves her dad over

We are glad that he is found

And sit back under our umbrella. Thinking about our people

And the hope that they would not be left to

Walk up and down the beach

In the wrong clothes

On a hot day

With no phone

All alone

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Lucky Bunny

For some years now, I have aspired to watch all of the Oscar nominated Best Picture films. I have always failed. Sometimes it was impossible to find them playing anywhere. I would run out of time before the ceremony. I tried and tried. I know, it is an odd goal, but a goal, nonetheless. This year I was optimistic, I had seen a couple of the films already (Dune & Don’t Look Up). The ceremony is about one month later than it typically is this year (it is Sunday, in case you were interested). And finally, streaming is so in due to the pandemic.

When the nominees came out, I made a list of where all of the movies could be streamed (HBO, Netflix, Hulu) and got started. I watched Coda which is available on Prime – really good, heartwarming. Power of the Dog (Netflix) was not what I thought it was and I really liked it. Nightmare Alley (HBO) was visually appealing but ultimately kind of forgettable. Belfast was not streaming anywhere, and I forced Joe to purchase it (I am not a good person). It kind of gave me some anxiety. I kept thinking that everyone was going to be killed. Maybe if I knew more about the history of Ireland, I would have been more engaged? Who can say?

West Side Story (Disney). I am embarrassed to admit that I have never seen the original, so I have no point of comparison. I loved, loved, loved the actress who took on Rita Morena’s role (Ariana DeBose). I read an article where the film’s costume designer said that she was like the sun since she was the center of the neighborhood. Her dress is yellow with a red, ruffly underskirt during the song “America” and it is impossible to take your eyes off of her. I don’t know if the film should win best picture but she should win Best Supporting Actress.

I had originally thought that King Richard (rented on Prime) was a Shakespearean film but no, it is the story of Venus and Sabrina Williams’ father. I don’t like to be judgey when movies are about actual lives. It was interesting. A bit long.

Drive My Car (HBO). Three hours. In Japanese. But I love Haruki Murakami so I am a bit biased on this one. But there was something visually pleasing about it. It wasn’t draggy. I liked it.

And, finally, Licorice Pizza (rent on Apple TV). Meh. Lots of running. A good soundtrack. Magnolia is better.

Meeting my Oscar goal felt sort of anticlimactic. But it also made me feel like I could vote (my ballot must have gotten lost in the mail). I would vote for Power of the Dog. See it, it’s not what you think.

And now, the bunny story. Today I left my house at like 10:30. Drove to the plaza and went into a couple of stores. Then I drove the 22 minutes to my mom’s house (doing like 55 almost the entire time). I spent a bunch of time with her. We ate lunch. Then I went up to my friend Joe’s house. I jumped on the Peloton bike (I don’t love it). Right towards the end of my ride, Joe came upstairs and told me that he was standing at the kitchen window doing the dishes and he saw a little white bunny come out from under my car. We have wild bunnies where I live but they look like pet bunnies (it is a where-I-live-phenomenon – there are no white bunnies by Joe). There is one little white one this spring that has been hanging around my place recently. We went out to my car in Joe’s driveway. No bunny underneath. I honked the horn to try to scare her out. We opened the hood to see if we could see her. We thought that maybe she had run off. I was a little freaked out. We decided if she had rode all the way to East Marion in the undercarriage, she could ride back that way too. The entire way I was looking in the rearview mirror to see if she had tumbled out onto the road. She did not. I got home, parked and set myself outside to see if she would emerge. Sure enough, ten minutes later, there she was. Very hungry. Completely fine. I am glad that she is fine. I hope that she does not decide to hitch a ride again. She has been out foraging around all afternoon. And we now refer to her as Lucky.

May you be as fortunate as a baby bunny in a car undercarriage doing 60 miles an hour.

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Encanto

It was a day today. It started out poorly. My mom was calling at seven a.m. Much too early for her so I knew it would not be good. And it wasn’t. One of her dogs that had been at the vet the previous day was having trouble walking. From there it was a stroll down panic boulevard. She told me that she didn’t know when she would get to the store to prepare for the storm (we are getting snow on Saturday). I told her she had plenty of time. She told me that by the time she got there “there would be no food left.” It took me a bit but I was able to calm her down. But of course, that set me off. I could not find my keys and once I was in my car and had started to pull away, I was afraid that I had left the stove on and actually came back in to check (it was off). 

At my friend’s house, he told me a story of a relative who works in a NY public school district. Here in NY, the mask mandate was declared unconstitutional so some schools immediately made masks optional (order stayed for now). She works in an elementary school in one of the districts that rescinded the mandate. She told my friend that one of the kids in her class had come to school wearing an N-95 mask for the first time ever. She had always worn cloth masks before other children’s parents started sending kids to school mask free. The child’s parent has cancer. The family reached out to the school and requested that their child only be seated around other children who were wearing masks. I teared up as he told me this. One of the things that I find myself mourning the most these days is the lack of care for anyone else. I had always thought that despite differences, we were sort of all in this together. But that does not seem to be the case any longer. The “every man for himself” mentality truly wears me down.

So all of this was just hanging on me. When I am laundering at my friend’s house, I try to force myself to ride his Peloton bike. He is super nice about it and encourages me to do it. But honestly, I mostly hate riding it. I have to do rides that include a lot of entertainment. Like DJ rides, where there is an actual DJ along with the instructor. I have to hide how much time is left in the class. And hide the bar at the top that runs through what will be going on during the ride. And usually I can’t wait for it to be over. 

I did not want to ride today but Robin Arzon was doing an Encanto ride. Basically a ride set to the songs in the movie. Robin is a lot but I always find her rides to be more inspiring than annoying. I almost did not join the live ride. But then I did. And it was kind of magical. I was into all of the music. I teared up at times (yes, I also relate to Luisa). I sang out loud (We don’t talk about Bruno-no-no-no) and when it was over my first thought was, “it’s over already?”. I came downstairs and told my friend that it was the best ride in the history of the world. And it really changed my mood. A little singing and exercising and a little connection. It made me feel so much better. I wish I could bottle that feeling up and spritz it on myself when I am feeling too much like Luisa.

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Cortana

It has been a very long week or so. Over the Winter Break I knew that my son was going to come down with COVID. And when he did, at first I was angry at him but it was really my fault. I did not prohibit him from going out on New Years. I did not force him to wear a K95 mask at work. I did not tell him that he could not take my car if he did not wear a K95 to school. I could have done any or all of those things and maybe it would not have made a difference but I feel like it would have. So I was complicit in my current situation.

He started having symptoms last week Monday. A sore throat. It got worse and on Tuesday in what I told the school nurse was “an abundance of caution” he stayed home. That day the school was handing out at-home tests to all families (two per student). I picked ours up in the afternoon and he tested negative. The next day he went to school and to work. When he got up on Thursday he sounded all snotty and bad. I told him to take the second test and he was positive. We immediately started wearing masks in the house. We do not have space to isolate. 

I was convinced that I was going to get it. I greeted each symptom free day with dread of what was coming. One day I ran a teeny fever. But that was it. I took an at home test on Saturday and tested negative. We had snow on Friday and my son was outside all day and sort of relapsed with a fever on Saturday. 

Monday we both got PCR tests. Again, certain that I would be positive. He is still positive (apparently you can test positive for some time with a PCR) and I am still negative. Part of me wanted to be positive. We continue to wear masks inside. Even now. As I’m typing. But I am not sure if he can still infect me (no?). I hope to have some more at home tests in hand tomorrow to test him again.

Suffice to say, the only places we have gone for the past week are to some drive-thrus (Starbucks, Wendy’s and Taco Bell). I had to drag out the old coffee pot and beg friends to buy me some ground coffee to make (they totally came through). I shopped online and picked my groceries up outside. 

I feel like we are slowly getting out of it and today I was going to go get my mammogram. I am pretty overdue since my health plan’s provider directory had the closest in-network provider in Brooklyn (like 70 miles away). I really tried to rectify it but after two very long phone calls and being sent a snippet of the directory of supposed diagnostic radiology facilities (actually none were), I submitted a complaint to the state of New York. I am that person. After submitting the complaint, the health plan got their grievance folks on it. It turns out that the facility that I have always gone to is actually in-network but for whatever reason, not listed in the directory. So, anyway, yay mammogram.

It was bitterly cold for the past two days (it was “feels like” one degree). We did not leave the house. My poor little car sat out there not being started and I just had a feeling she was not going to start this morning. I actually did not put my Starbucks mobile order in because I was afraid I would not be able to get it. That I would not be able to go to my hard fought for mammogram. And sure enough, it was touch and go for a minute but she did start. I ran inside and called to postpone my mammogram. I decided to drive around a bit to beef up the battery (I’m pretty sure that is what it was) so I went up to the Starbucks with the drive thru so I would not have to turn her off. She was fine the rest of the day and will hopefully be alright tomorrow. So it was not great but I rescheduled my screening and it is what it is.

At one point in the badness of the morning, while I was in the bathroom, the cat jumped up on my laptop. If I am leaving for any amount of time I have learned to shut it down. She has gotten up there and changed settings that I had a hard time figuring out. One time she actually took the number seven from the number keypad. Took it.This time she had opened a window featuring Cortana. 

After driving the car about, I settled in with my coffee to do some work and realized that my keyboard was not doing what I wanted it to do. I would press a key and random things would open. A dialogue box with a little microphone. Cortana’s little circle was now displayed on my taskbar. And the cat enabling Cortana was the straw that just broke me today.It was brief but there was definitely crying and cursing. 

I know that I am lucky. I am lucky that we did not infect my mother, my sister, my aunt and my uncle. I am lucky that my son was not terribly ill. That he can do online school. That I have good friends. That I am boosted (yay science). And I know that I have no room to complain, but I am just feeling starved to live. To be other places. And see other people. So starved that I was looking forward to my mammogram. Hopefully we can ease ourselves back into some semblance of living (my son will likely go to school on Friday) but I know that I just want so much more than the semblance we had (although that seems like heaven right now).

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I Am Not That Person

When I moved to NY, I had to quit my job. Even though my employer, the largest health plan in Hawaii, wanted to keep me on, they had a firm policy that they would not employ out of state individuals. What that meant is that I was thrust into the world of independent contracting. A new and scary place that forced me to withhold my own taxes and eventually select my own health care. 

Since I worked in the field, I knew that my Hawaii based employer coverage was very, very rich. I had a low (maybe no) deductible and my benefits were set by the state under the historic 1974 Prepaid Health Care Act. I did some research and knew that my Hawaii based COBRA plan would be comparably expensive in premiums but offer a generous set of benefits. Since my employer is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network, even though I was in NY, I could still readily access participating providers. The cost of the premiums for my son and I was my second highest single expense, after our rent, but it was worth it in peace of mind for me.

Unfortunately COBRA is only available for 18 months and as that exhaustion date approached I began to shop for plans on the NY state health exchange. I basically had to shop for individual coverage after being on employer based plans my entire life. NY does not participate on the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) to sell individual coverage but their state exchange generally operates under the same requirements. I had a strong impulse to sign up for another Blue plan but the closest hospitals to me were not in the network. That seemed foolish. I found another carrier that offered plans that had both my and my son’s primary care physicians in network. I made the choice. It felt like jumping off a cliff. The cost was about the same as the premium cost for our COBRA plan but I quickly came to learn that all coverage is not equal.

Under my Hawaii health care plan, I pretty much had first dollar coverage. What does that mean? It means that whenever I went to the doctor, I was only responsible for my copayment or coinsurance. When I think that I used to consider that to be a lot of money, it is pretty amusing. I quickly realized that there were not many services that were provided to my son and I until we had met our deductible. If we went to see our primary physician, we only paid our co-pay (some services are provided before the deductible is met). But when I had a threatening mole removed at the dermatologist, I was charged the amount that my plan would have paid if I had met the deductible. It was around $250.00. I received the bill and was so confused. This had never happened before. It was my welcoming to the wonderful world of insurance and, how, unfortunately, it works for the majority of people in this country. 

In addition to the out of pocket shock I have experienced here on the mainland, I have also dealt with the fact that I live in a rural area and finding providers (aside from our PCPs) has not been a simple prospect. I could go on for a very long time about the numerous calls I made to my plan to try to find an ENT somewhere in my area. It was a giant fail and I ended up having to drive an hour up island to see someone. And of course, I had to pay the cost of the visit because I had not yet met my deductible.

Today, I tried to make a dentist appointment for both myself and my son. There are numerous dentists in my town but none of them take our insurance. I tried to get him to see a pediatric dentist but was told that in dentistry, once you hit thirteen, you are no longer a pediatric candidate (he is sixteen). The provider list looks long and promising on the website, until you realize that most of the dentists listed are affiliated with one of the two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the area. I finally broke down and called one and the woman told me that the earliest appointment she had was in October. I thanked her and hung up.

I pay a lot in premium dollars for coverage that does not seem to offer much coverage. Because I work in the industry, I know that I am now eligible for a subsidy (thanks President Biden!!) to decrease the amount of premiums that I pay. Because I work in the industry, I know that currently there is a special enrollment period and that I could change my plan tomorrow. I could change it to drop my paltry dental coverage and pick up a stand alone dental plan that includes dentists where I live with appointments in this season.

The thing is, is that it should not be this way. It should not be this hard. This difficult. This confusing. If the FQHC was the only place that I could obtain dental services, I would be screwed. I would be waiting until the fall just to see a dentist. Despite all of the issues that I have had accessing care, I know that I am lucky. I have the time and the resources to try to work around what is truly a broken system of care. Most people don’t. It’s time to level the playing field. It’s time to stop leaving people behind. We can do this. And I hope we do.

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Bailey

Today was pretty momentous. I got my first COVID vaccine. It is my Aunt’s birthday. Those are really great things. I kept saying that I wanted the vaccine for my birthday (which is next month) and it was like the universe got it but not exactly right.

It was a long drive to receive the vaccination. I was a bundle of anxiety about the entire thing. My sister had been turned away twice in our attempts to vaccinate her so that is always lingering in the back of my mind. Thinking that I would get there and be turned away. But that is not what happened. I went right in. I answered a few questions and I was ushered into the back and given the shot. Simple. Fast. Highly recommend. I traveled home and finished work.

My son, who just got his learners’ permit, feels the need to drive every day. I am not as enthusiastic. He is definitely risk averse so that works in my favor but when you get in the car with a brand new driver, you realize the millions of things that you do every day when you are driving that are mindless. And you realize it because the new driver has to contemplate which way to turn the wheel of the car to back up and go the right way. But I let my son take an extended drive tonight. We drove up to the main road where the farmstand that he works at is. He is not ready to drive on the main road yet. We turned around and went back down to the road that runs along the beach.

We pulled into the beach parking lot. There was a family with two small children with their dog taking advantage of a mostly empty parking lot. One kid was on a skateboard and one was on a scooter. We stayed far away as my son practiced backing into a parking spot. At one point he got in mostly straight, when the family dog came running up, off leash. The mom was running over calling the dog’s name over and over. “Bailey. Bailey.” Bailey was not interested in coming back to being leashed. She took off sprinting through the parking lot. She took a turn and headed out onto the road outside of the beach. The mom took off after her. The children, a small boy and smaller girl, hugged each other and the girl cried.

I had gotten out of the car and ran back to grab a mask. As I got to the kids, I could see the dog out on the road. One car approached. The mom screamed and the little girl shrieked. All I could think was that this dog was about to get run over and the kids were going to see it. I started to talk to them. I asked them the dog’s name. They told me. I rubbed the little girl’s back. Another car on the road, coming close to hitting the dog.

Then the little girl called out the dog’s name, Bailey. The dog stopped running, outside of the fence, next to the main road and looked right towards the girl. I told the kids, let’s call Bailey. So we did. And sure enough, she flew past the woman, back into the parking lot, running at full speed, right at me. I grabbed her collar and held on for dear life. Bailey was so amped up. So exhilarated to have been out completely free. No fear of the cars or anything. She finally stopped twisting as her mom met us and was able to get the leash back on her. She thanked me so much but all I could think was that I would not have been able to handle being with those kids if their dog had been hit. 

I got back in the car with my son. My heart was pounding. I needed a minute. I thought that the shot would be awful. That driving with my son was nerve wracking. But it was like the universe, the one that gave me a shot for my Aunt’s birthday also wanted to let me know that, whatever I was feeling, about the shot, about my son driving, was so small. That there are way more nerve wracking things that could happen. And to not forget that. 

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Wrung Out

It was supposed to have been a good week. I had secured vaccinations for both my mom and my uncle on the same day and at the same time. It was a long drive up island (74 miles one way from my mom’s house). My aunt followed me and I had my mom in my car. It went off without a hitch (although next time I will print the confirmation emails so I don’t have to run around showing my phone numerous times to numerous people at numerous check ins). When we were in the 15 minute holding area, my aunt and I looked at each other and just hugged. Fantastic.

Unfortunately, things did not work out so well for my sister. She is eligible under New York guidelines since she is developmentally disabled. I first tried to get her an appointment at CVS but realized after that in my scheduling frenzy, I had said that my sister was a NY resident over 65 and not just a NY resident which is what I thought it said. I took her anyway with the hope that because she was still eligible they would give it to her. They would not. There was a woman pleading and crying with the pharmacist in front of us with the same problem. He apologized and apologized. He gave her a card with the manager’s name on it. Told her to call. When it was our turn, I did not really get into it because I knew what the outcome would be. The pharmacist apologized. Ultimately, this was my fault since I likely should not have had the appointment anyway. I was still crushed.

My aunt gave me a line on appointments that were being offered and she thought that the criteria was expanded. I logged on and affirmed that my sister was eligible. There were no appointments. And no appointments. And no appointments. And then magically, some time later two popped up for the next day. I chose the one that was after my sister’s work shift. I called my mom and she asked if I was going to take my sister. And that was the one straw. The last one. I had scheduled it for a time that worked for my sister but not me. My son was due to be picked up at the same time.I felt like I was stretched so thin that I was going to snap. And I did. For like ten minutes. Then I got in touch with my friend and asked if she could pick up my son that day. 

The next afternoon, I got in my car and went up to meet my mom. I had the confirmation email. My mom pulled into the parking lot with my sister and the person directing traffic told us that the criteria for the appointments had changed. That they were only administering vaccines for 65 plus people. And that despite the fact that my sister is eligible, she would not be getting the vaccination. I was able to pick up my son from school. Heartbroken twice in a week. I don’t think that I can stand having that happen any more times. 

My aunt assures me that my sister will get it, I know that. It’s just been a hard week. I have not even mentioned the bad shape of my friend’s dog. Or the terrible noise that my car started making on the way home today. 

Tomorrow is a new day. It is Saturday. I have plans with my aunt and my mom to drink some wine. We are hopeful that it will not be too cold outside because I am psychologically averse to unmasked people inside who are not in my bubble. I remain hopeful because this week, that is all that I have left, a little bit of hope.

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New Faces

My friends and I, every weekend, we talk about how we might see each other. How we might do something. And every weekend seems to pass and that does not happen. We all have a very low virus tolerance. Indoor dining? No way. Indoor wine tasting? Not going to happen. Gathering inside someone’s house just to sit on the couch? Sounds lovely but it’s a no. We think about doing something outside. Anything. But it is pretty chilly (it was “feels like” nine degrees the other day). So we talk a good game and then it is Monday. And I have only seen my mother from a distance for like ten minutes and my son. He is the only person I always see. 

I had been running every day but I put my knee out right before Election Day and it is still not right. I feel like maybe I have a stress fracture on the top of that foot. My knee hurts and generally does not feel great. Running was the thing that was helping to keep me sane. And now it is off the table. I decided to go for a longish walk yesterday. I wore long underwear. A beanie. And two pairs of socks. Gloves and a scarf. Out of the wind, it was not dreadful. I like to be outside. Anyway, on the latter end of my walk a car passed and called my name. It was a woman who I met through church out practice driving with her youngest daughter (same age as my son). It was so nice to see a different person. We chatted a bit. It was lovely. I miss that so much. It felt normal. I have buried normal so far down. I can’t have it flitting about the surface because it makes me too sad.

Despite the pandemic, our library is still trying to offer services to the community. They have put cooking online and crafts can be picked up and done at home. One of the offerings this month was a writing class. I saw it in the email. It is online. The instructor is with the local community college that I graduated from with an Associate’s Degree a million years ago.  I stopped by the library to renew my card. They could only take the payment for class by check or cash. I stopped by the next day with my check. Made out to the library. I gave my email to the lady at the circulation desk. 

The class starts on Thursday. I am petrified. I keep checking my junk mail to make sure I have not missed an email that says that I need to do something, write something, before the class. I am afraid that I will need to provide some sample of writing. Some piece of me. I feel like there are so few pieces. And I have not been writing. Not writing at all. Maybe I can dredge something up that is older. But I was really hoping to use this as a means to force my hand. To make me write. To get something down. I am afraid that I will not be able to do that. I am afraid of being judged. Afraid of letting people in like that. Through my writing. In a way that seems very personal when compared to posting to my blog. Which seems much more anonymous. So much easier. But it felt like a good idea to do this. To tiptoe out of the bubble. My comfort zone. But I’ve paid. And I will be there. Because at some point I need to get out.

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What If

I have been stalking the NY vaccination sites for days. I wake up in the morning and try to see if I can schedule my mom, my aunt and my uncle. I plan my days around the top of every hour just in case that is the time when it opens up. I obtained pertinent information from my aunt, just in case I needed it to make the appointment.

The other day. I was doing laundry at my friend’s house. It is what I do every Wednesday. And I planned my driving to his house so I would not miss eight in the morning just in case. At some point during this morning, I checked the site and I think that it had the vaccination in the drop down menu, allowing me to set up an appointment. I can’t lie. I nearly fainted. I sort of hyperventilated. And almost passed out.I almost felt like I couldn’t do it. But I did. Or I thought I did. And I did it for my mom. And I did it for my aunt. And for my uncle. The menu prompted me to provide information on how I heard about the Northwell site. It asked for insurance numbers. It wanted me to take a picture of the ID cards. I did not have much of this information for most of my relations. The site assured me that I did not have to provide it.

I made them all. And I just burst into tears. I called my mom and told her to put it on her calendar. I called my aunt and left a message on her machine. Half crying. 

Once I had finished (all appointments on February 1st) I went back to the site to see what was available. And on the drop down menu, the vaccine was no longer there. And then, the doubt started creeping in. What if I just chose to make an appointment but it was not for a vaccination? The text that they sent me does not say what the appointments are for. They do not mention vaccines. I tried to call. The woman on the phone was super helpful. But she told me that she could only tell me about the appointments scheduled for today. She could not look and tell me about the February 1st appointments. She told me that I could find out on that day. I did ask if there had been vaccine appointments available today and she said yes. Hopeful? I’m not sure.

My friend kept telling me that I have made vaccination appointments. But I just don’t believe it. And that is me. That is me always questioning myself. The self doubt. Since then, I have been trying to schedule backup appointments, just in case. Today, for my mom, I got all the way through to the “register” part at one of the further sites before the page just crashed.

Then tonight, I received a text from a new number saying that they could not accommodate the vaccine appointment. I am hopeful that this was for the up island one that I made for my mom today. The back up one. Then I got an email cancelling my uncle’s one. For sure. The email was addressed to him. But it was the only email that it got. So I am hopeful that my aunt’s and mom’s appointments stand. But I am not sure. What if that text message was for one of those? I just don’t know. And just now, I may have made two appointments for March in Stony Brook but I don’t know about those either. The site said that the sending of my email confirmation failed and now there are no more appointments available. 

I admit that I called my aunt today crying to tell her that my uncle’s appointment had definitely been canceled. She was so great but I just want it to be scheduled. I want to know that they will get it. I think that it is harder because my son was contact traced out of school today. Yesterday he sat across from a girl at lunch who is positive. They were outside but he is quarantined at home until the 26th. And that means that I could be exposed if he does get it. We have no space to truly separate. My aunt kept telling me that I should not stress. But it was the sheer happiness factor in scheduling those appointments. That may have been taken away. And, right now, it sort of feels like, that is all I have. And that it has all slipped away.

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The Big Prize

Today is the day that NY opened up vaccinations to the next group. The 1b group. The group that includes those over 75 years of age. The group that includes my mom, my aunt and my uncle. NY has a site where you fill out a short form to verify that you are actually in the 1b group and then it will reveal where you can schedule the vaccine. 

I got on this morning and it took me a bit to figure out what I was supposed to do. The scheduling was not available until eight. When I did finally get the list of sites, the closest one was 64 miles away from my mom’s house. There were three others which were even further. I tried to call the one that was closest. For some reason it was listed as a realty company. Do they have a giant parking lot? So many questions. The line was busy. I took a breath and gave up. I figure that at some point over the next few days, closer sites will become available.

One of the health systems has information on their site for places in Riverhead (the largest, closest town to us). It almost looks like you can make the appointment. But you can’t. It is only listing today’s date. It says there are four available appointments. I actually had the site up and it looked as if I could have scheduled a shot for 6:45 this evening (it was like six). I briefly thought about just doing it. But there is no way that would have worked out. If it was just me. If I could have just jumped in my car and gone to get it, I would have but I am not 1b and would have had to convince my mom to hightail it out of her house. It did not seem feasible. So I let it go. And there have been no more posted.

I have been monitoring the sites all evening but so far nothing. Another local health system did send my mom (via me) an email saying that she was in the 1b group and that they would be “offering the vaccine to eligible patients over the next few weeks”. That made me feel better. But I am still going to try to schedule it myself.

I am also trying to schedule for my aunt and uncle. They are also in the 1b group. I told my aunt that if a vaccine drops in her lap, she should say yes. I may set up an account for the health system for her as well since that seems to be the way they are communicating. I feel like we need to have all avenues open.

I know some people who have received it. I know some people who may be considered “essential” who feel like maybe they are not. They feel a little guilty about it. Maybe they should. Or maybe they shouldn’t. I don’t know. I only hope that there is a way for folks to schedule without having to do it online. I am certain there is a large population out here that is not set up to do it. And while the process is vaguely reminiscent of trying to score tickets to a hot show, it is so much more. So much scarier. Some days it all just feels bad. Today may have been one of those days.

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