One year ago, on February 6, 2020, when Patricia Dowd died in California, her cause of death was not clear. By the end of April it had been determined that hers was the first COVID-19 death in the United States. Today the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard shows that Ms. Dowd has been followed by 462,844 more Americans…and the number continues to rise. Yes, Coronavirus vaccines are now available and they are being provided in all states and territories. Still, even with universal masking, more than a half million Americans will be dead by the end of this month.
In our part of the world (Maryland) the roll out of the vaccine has been slow. One of us is eligible now for the vaccine as a “senior citizen” and the other of us will be eligible in March. However, attempts to schedule an appointment for the vaccine, even by our senior citizen, have been fruitless. We are not, however, frustrated, panicked, or feeling helpless and hopeless. Getting the vaccine will not change our behavior:
- We will still mask up (actually, we are double masking)
- We will still maintain at least 6 feet distance from people when we are out
- We will continue to stock up when we shop to minimize trips out, connect with people over Zoom, and remain at home.
What seems clear is that getting the vaccine creates a false sense of safety and security for some people. These folks start planning in-person gatherings and are generally less careful about masking and distancing. Too many things are still unknown about the virus to justify this kind of confidence.
Even more, the great unknown is how much we will be impacted by the variants that have been identified – so far. “So far” because variants will always occur and there are likely to be more. For this reason, the best advice we hear is get vaccinated, then still mask up and stay away from other people.
Farewell to Dolly
On Monday January 25th we said good-bye to Dolly, our remaining miniature schnauzer. Dolly was diagnosed in March 2018 with Cushing’s disease and mass was discovered on her spleen. She was given less than 3 months to live if she didn’t have an expensive surgery to help her live…oh…maybe…another 3 months.
After consulting with my former vet and friend in Iowa, we decided to go with his recommendation to simply love her, make her comfortable, and put her down before she began to experience much pain. Since that time we’ve been expecting that we would have to let her go at any time. In fact, and this is a bit embarrassing to say, we made, and cancelled, three previous appointments with Peaceful Passage, believing her time had come. Happily, we were wrong.
We really believed Dolly would go before Madison. We were wrong. We lost Madison in June 2020. It turned out Dolly’s mass was not cancerous and she lived for nearly 2 years more.
We never really knew the ages of Madison and Dolly. They came to us through a rescue in Hagerstown, Maryland and the breeder where they got the dogs would not release any records on them. The breeder said they were “a couple of years old” but, of course, that could mean 2 to 5 years old. We had Madison 12 years and Dolly 11. Our best guess is that they were 14+ years old, which puts them solidly at the upper end of the life expectancy for miniature schnauzers.
Our house is quieter than usual now and we miss the opportunity to take a break to walk a dog. So, will be bring a new dog into our home? Probably, but we aren’t sure when that will happen.
I Can See Clearly Now
Nope, that’s not a reference to the Johnny Nash song but, of course, it could be as I haven’t done a music focused blog in a while. Oh, heck, here it is…go ahead and enjoy it. Great song for the Class of ’72.
Okay, seriously, I can see clearly now as I had cataract surgery in late January. I’m still in the process of recovery following a seemingly endless eye-drop routine. However, the change in my sight is remarkable.
There been another change, though. I no longer need glasses, and, in fact, I cannot see with my prescription glasses. That is a BIG change given I’ve worn them for more than 55 years. The most challenging part of this change is getting used to seeing myself without glasses. I am having some difficulty getting used to seeing myself THAT clearly.
A Little More Music
Here’s a really nice video from the Tacoma Refugee Choir which was shared by regular reader Maggi. The video is about staying safe in the midst of the pandemic. It is titled “Put it On.” Some great lines in this video, like: “It’s not fashion, its compassion.” Enjoy!