Today is a health day. Today, Anne and I have appointments to get vaccinated at the local CVS. We are getting both the new bivalent Covid booster, and our annual flu shot. They are supposed to be safe to take together, but I wonder if they will put one in each arm or just gang up on just one? This will be our third Covid booster. Neither of us have had Covid, at least as far as we know. We’ve both all but given up the wearing of masks, except for where they are still required, which is at fewer and fewer places. We are seniors and recognize our continued vulnerability to these diseases. Hundreds of Americans are still dying daily from Covid and with winter coming, this morbidity is sure to rise. It hasn’t gotten us yet and I aim to not let it get us now.
I am surprised by some other senior’s response to these boosters. In that they have already declined them or are at least contemplating this new one’s decline. Even the biggest Covid coward I know surprised me when they said that they had not had any of the boosters. Then there was President Biden’s announcement this week that the pandemic is over. It is not. Just because we want to be done with Covid does not mean that Covid is done with us. It will continue to ripple through society for years to come.
When I was little, in the 1950s, my dad was stationed on the island of Guam. I had to get lots of vaccines just to go there, but at the end of his tour, we planned a family vacation, a tour of south Asia, Thailand to India. To go on this trip, I needed to get about twenty shots. I kid you not. Back then they didn’t have any of the bundled vaccinations, like DTAP, that they have now. So, each disease got its own shot and south Asia had loads of horrible diseases to choose from. Anyway, I eventually sucked it up and relented to become a human pincushion. It was a great trip that I still hold vivid memories from. So, I guess that I have been conditioned from an early age to accept vaccines and can now add Covid to the list of diseases that I have been inoculated from.
This summer, the news was reporting that researchers have found that people who couldn’t stand on one foot for ten seconds were nearly twice as likely to die in the next ten years than people who could. Anne and I were able to still pass this test, but at least for me, just barely. As we continue to get on in years, it is not hard to see that eventually, we might not be able to still pass. Falling is a major danger for the elderly.
To address this concern, we have returned to the Gyrotonics lab that we had not visited since before the pandemic, but instead of doing Gyrotonics per se, we are taking a balance class. Last week, only Anne and I were in class. This week a third person joined the class. Covid sensitive people can participate over Zoom. Marcia, our instructor uses a piece of equipment called a Beamfit beam. Unfortunately, that company has gone out of business, but still lives on, on the Internet.
Here is a video that features their equipment. It is a gray trapezoidal column that lays flat to the ground. It is somewhat squishy when you step on it, leading to the need for some balancing to stay upright. The level of exercise in this first video is way above what we have been doing and may not be ever obtainable by us, but it shows the beam being used. Occasionally, you can detect a wobble though. This second video is closer to the level of exercises that we do, but I feel that we are more advanced than what is shown there. We do use a stick, but mostly have both feet on the beam. We have only gone twice so far, so it is still too early to notice improvement, but hopefully our balance will get better and not worst.
Dan and Britt couldn’t join Maren and David and us in Boston, because of Covid. First Britt tested positive and then when she was on the mend, Dan finally tested positive. Now, even Inky, their cat, shows signs of having Covid. Throughout most of the pandemic no one who I personally knew had caught the Coronavirus. I still don’t personally know of anyone who has died from this disease. Our family is all vaxed and boosted. There have been more than a million victims from the pandemic in this country. Some died before the vaccines were available. Many died after refusing to take the jab. A few have died even after being vaxed. Now, we are in the mist of another surge that is powered by yet another variant. Nationally, more than 100,000 Americans catch the virus every day. Thankfully, little more than 300 a day die from Covid, but that is still 300 every day, day after day. Most of us have come to learn to live with the Coronavirus. I myself have relaxed my precautions, relying more and more on my vaccination status, but as the virus continues to mutate that status continues to wane. I suppose catching the disease is inevitable, but I will continue to resist it as best that I can.
The back porch project was completed yesterday, and I paid for it today via a bank draft. It looks really nice! Plus, we are currently experiencing wonderfully temperate weather too, so it is possible to pleasantly enjoy it now. We can walk on it today and by tomorrow, we can reinstall our porch furniture.
In other news, yesterday, one of our neighbors called us and asked for our help. She had been violently throwing-up and was in quite a bit of pain. She was at the local urgent care and needed a ride to the ER and also for one of us to drive her car home for her. We both hopped into our car and headed over there. I took her car home and Anne drove to the hospital. Her car was a Subaru Outback. It had a jumpy accelerator. All I had to do was just touch the pedal and the car would leap forward. That feature in the urgent care’s cramped and crowded lot made getting out of the lot a bit difficult, but I successfully maneuvered my way home without hitting anything. Anne ended up staying with the neighbor for most of the afternoon. Turns out she had gallstones. The hospital diagnosed this using ultrasound. They also gave her morphine for her pain, which seemed to have helped ease her discomfort quite a bit. Today, we saw our neighbor again and she is feeling much better. She is going to wait and see how she does and hopes that she won’t have to schedule surgery after all. She also gifted Anne a really nice-looking potted plant for her Good Samaritan turn.
It has begun to cool town today, with the forecast calling for even cooler weather next week. Yesterday, the man that I hired to clean, renovate and then stain the back porch arrived. He spent the better part of the day sanding all the horizontal surfaces (flooring and railings). Thirty years of grime got washed away in less than a day. Next week, he will return and do the actual staining. I had him replace one of the steps up to the porch, which had rotted, but today I found another step that was almost as bad. I removed the offending step and bought some lumber. Tomorrow morning, I’ll install the new step.
Yesterday, I had an eye doctor appointment. This was the six-month post-surgery checkup. As these things happen, I no longer have the 20/20 vision that I had immediately after the cataract surgery. I think that now I am sporting 20/40 vision. So, I decided to get glasses again. Frankly, having worn glasses almost all of my life, I feel kind of naked without them. These new glasses should restore my 20/20 vision, which pre-surgery wasn’t even possible with glasses. So, I remain quite pleased with the surgery’s results. In addition to the lens replacement for cataracts, I also got two stents in each eye to relieve excess pressure due to glaucoma. They appear to be still working just fine, which is good, because then I don’t need to use eyedrops everyday anymore.