Coronavirus (35): The ABCs — Authority, Boosters, and Caregiving

Since March 14, 2020, I have written 34 installments for my “Coronavirus” series. My last installment on August 21, 2021, “Coronavirus (34): ‘Virtue Signaling’ vs. Doing the Right Thing,” provoked over 200 reacts and nearly 100 comments, as people debated whether I was “virtue signaling” for having adopted a Facebook frame that said: “I Have a Healthy Distrust of Authority, and I’m Vaccinated.” I stated in that Notablog entry:

Let it be known far and wide that I am a libertarian who believes that it is indeed possible to be against the state and against coercion, and still voluntarily get myself vaccinated, despite the fact that the vaccine was developed by Big Pharma in league with Big Government. I believe in looking at the facts of reality as they are and making rational judgments based on the context of my own knowledge and experience. I’ve lived in a city that was, at one time, the epicenter of death and despair from this nightmarish virus. I’ve seen enough mass death for a lifetime and then some. I’ve lost family, friends, neighbors, and beloved neighborhood proprietors. And given my own medical preconditions and the health problems of my sister, for whom I am a primary caregiver, I made a reasonable decision to get vaccinated. My whole family is vaccinated. … We took the path of least risk, given that COVID could very well spell the difference between life and death for us.

Given that I have been publicly forthright and honest throughout my life about my own health problems, I wish to state, again, for the record, that today I received my third Moderna booster. And I am happy I got the booster, and have had no noticeable side effects. My sister is due to get her booster soon.

Now, I realize that I don’t need to justify my decisions publicly, but I’m doing so for one reason and one reason above all else, which was suggested in my last entry.

On November 13, 2020, I nearly lost my sister to a very serious illness; she subsequently underwent extensive back surgery on March 22, 2021. After four-and-a-half months in both the hospital and a subacute rehab facility, she returned home in July 2021, and I continued being her primary caregiver, as she has been mine through all the ups and downs I’ve faced over my entire life—the 60+ surgical procedures I’ve endured to keep me ticking. The stories I can—and eventually will—tell about the U.S. Healthcare System are not the subject of this post. Suffice it to say, the current system sucks for a variety of political, economic, and cultural reasons that I’ll address at a future date.

But the problems endemic to U.S. healthcare did not prevent us from taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves from a virus that, given our comorbidities, would most certainly have put our lives at risk. I have been confident in the guidance of my doctors who have kept me alive all these years and who have been at my sister’s side during what has been the most difficult year of her life. Every doctor bar none recommended that we get ourselves inoculated to protect against a potentially deadly COVID-19 infection. I am happy to report that whatever illnesses have plagued us, none of us has been infected by that coronavirus. We’ve got enough problems! Yes, breakthrough infections are possible, but they remain rare. We think we’ve done all that we can to fight off one more layer of catastrophic illness in the Sciabarra household.

In the end, I remain vigilant against Authority, even as I’ve taken a third Booster (and will take any additional boosters as might become necessary, even if they are among annual shots, like those for the flu). I do this because Self Care is as important as Caregiving. For unless I take care of myself, I will lose the capacity to take care of the people I love. I will not become a transmission belt for an infection that most assuredly could kill my own immuno-compromised sister.

I leave it to others to decide what path they will take. I only know that after my sister’s umpteen hospitalizations over the last year, I can look at this photo of her, taken on Halloween, and know in my heart that I’ve done everything I possibly can to keep her out of harm’s way. Her smile says it all.

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