When a pandemic or epidemic does not go away, it is referred to as ‘endemic’. ‘Commonly present’. And that means; ‘This is the new normal’. Do not be afraid, we are just gonna have to live like this for a long time. Covid, the gift that keeps on giving.
It is pouring down today. Really wet. We got togged up like the Franklin Expedition and started the trek up to the village centre for our annual Flu shot. There is no centre and there is no village but we have a community building and that fills the role of downtown for us. Sal and I slogged 500 yards to the boat, pumped it out, got the motor running and headed up coast in the ‘declared’ storm (it was miserable but it was NOT a storm to us).
When we got there the community dock was kinda full. I squiggled our boat into a small space and we tied up. Other outer Island residents were arriving and departing. The public health nurses were keeping warm and busy up in the Bunkhouse (a few hundred more yards up hill) and a small crowd stayed waiting socially distanced just outside in the rain while the needles were given. We wore masks. A busy day in November.
Eventually Sal and I got in to the day-clinic. We de-layered. Hat, gloves, rain jacket, vest, shirt….down to the t-shirt. After the usual Care-card rigmarole, ‘in-line’ socializing and the odd side joke with the nurses, we were done. We had also taken fuel up to the car, put it in, started it and ran it a few hundred yards up and down the road just to keep the cobwebs out of it. Then, we trudged down to the boat, a few more chit-chats with the comers-and-goers and then into the boat and we headed home. It was still coming down buckets.
Two hours after we started, we were home making tea. Sal laughed out loud……. “I was just thinking how lucky we are and how convenient all that was given that we all live off the grid! We even got a Tetanus booster.”
“Why is that funny?”
“Well, it took us two hours even tho I admit that we kind of dawdled a bit. We schlepped about a mile or so over rough terrain and then we ran about four more miles by small boat. We did a bit of car maintenance, socialized in a downpour and waited about twenty minutes for procedure and protocols to pay out before being jabbed. We did it all during a gale warning although it was actually pretty calm by our standards. By the time we were done, I was thinking how convenient that was and then I recalled the same procedure when I was working in town. This way was two hours of hiking in bad weather including sea-travel by small boat, the city procedure was maybe 15 minutes down the hallway and yet, for some reason, it all feels so much more convenient out here. Hard to explain.”
Basically, Sal was describing the new normal for us. OTG normal. We schlep and slog around to do just about anything. I carried the 25 pound gas can down to the boat and then up the hill to the car and that was likely the lightest load I have carried in a long time. Before we left, Sal had climbed down to the lagoon to tie up an errant log. Something as simple as ‘going to the nurse for a shot’ was pretty good exercise. THAT is our normal.
We have adjusted well over the past 18 years to our OTG normal and I can see the same kind of subtle ‘adjustment’ we are now making for COVID. We are still adjusting but we have more than adjusted somewhat to the Covid pandemic.
I asked the nurse: “Do I really need to get a Tetanus shot? I am not an antivaxxer but I am an anti-puncturist. It does seem as if I have been jabbed a lot lately…ya know?”
“Well, sir, do you work outside a lot? Do you use sharp tools? Are some of your tools and materials rusty at all?” And she said all that to me with a straight face.
I laughed and adjusted my attitude. “OK. Hit me”.
Is that the way we all die…….quietly adjusting to the warm bath as the heat is incrementally raised until we boil away like the proverbial frog? Am I just adjusting to everything and yet everything is really out to get us? Is that nurse to be trusted? Did the Chinese make that Flu vaccine? Sheesh.