One morning of this week, while I was driving 90 minutes down a highway, past the frost-covered farmland and the shining white church, I finally cried. I was on my way to get the vaccine, and after bottling the emotions for almost a year, they were suddenly pulling out.
I qualified for the vaccine in Missouri Phase 1 B-Tier 2 Because I have Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the intestinal tract, as well as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – the condition is managed through a rigorous medication schedule that suppresses the immune system, to people like me. The coronavirus in particular is vulnerable to severe illness.
The virus has felt inevitable, as it has been 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 tried to find words to help readers understand and process the epidemic toll. At home, the virus has bare my health concerns. I moved in June from Kansas City, Mo., New York, after 100 days alone in my apartment, in case of being close to family I had to be infected.
Every step outside my apartment has felt like a calculated risk.
Driving eastbound on I-50 toward the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, I felt all the emotions of the year erupting. Can it be expected
Getting a vaccine is far from guaranteed, even for Two million Missouri who qualify. As of February 4, only 6.3 percent of the state’s six million residents have received a vaccine dose.
I set up an alert to see every tweet from the government. Mike Parson, Health Department of Kansas City and Jackson County and nearly every hospital system in the area. There is a tweet about how I learned about the inauguration in a massive vaccination program in the state.
On Monday, I signed up for my fourth vaccine list. Tuesday afternoon, I get a call: My appointment will be the next day.
Vaccine clinic became inside Krishi Bhavan, I was one of the youngest patients. Worried that I would be locked at the door because my disability is invisible, I broke my terms as I investigated. But I was waiting for my paperwork.
Samantha Unkel, 24, who comes from a family of nurses, said she was excited to give me the vaccine. I felt tears shed again behind my mask. She Congratulations on taking my vaccine selfie.
I have felt physical lightness since the shot. It is a glimpse of happiness during a dark and cold winter. Friends who would probably not be vaccinated for several months said that my vaccination made them very happy: evidence of tangible progress.
In late February, I hope to drive for my second dose. After the vaccine, my life will look like my life as before. I am still wearing my mask and doing social distancing, but I will do so with less fear.