A phone call can change our world pretty quickly. I was deep in “cut and paste” world, crafting an easy-to-read recipe for hot cross buns for my students when I was interrupted.
Alan Craughwell was calling. Alan is a community hub manager in Cope Foundation which supports 2,800 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and Autism across Cork city and county. I am a board director.
My son Diarmuid attends a hub there two days a week. He hasn’t been there for a whole year and has missed the interaction with his friends and staff.
Alan came straight to the point: “Katherine, it’s good news. Diarmuid is being called for vaccination at 12.15pm on Monday.” I can’t say it was the call we were waiting for as we thought it would be another month before the call up.
The family greeted the news with resounding optimism
Relief flooded through me. It is difficult to describe the relief, delight and hope that came with the phone call. It was a promise of better times becoming real. We’ve worked really hard to keep Diarmuid safe and it looks like we’ve succeeded.
The family greeted the news with resounding optimism. It’s hard to know how Diarmuid views it all. He’s been stuck at home over a year now, and never once complained or never really asked why?
We explained it all as best we could.
D took it all in, or did he? I teach people who need support all the time; I recognise the difficulty of trying to figure out if they understand the message fully. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
This group would normally hug tightly and flamboyantly and delight in meeting each other
Monday morning D was up early showering and getting organised. That was a real sign he understood that it was an important day. He and I set out. We arrived at the John Bermingham Assisted Living Centre, one of Cope Foundation’s vaccination centres. A social-distanced queue had formed outside the door. D and I took our place in line.
D’s peer group – his friends – were there, each with a family member. This group would normally hug tightly and flamboyantly and delight in meeting each other. They have been damaged by lockdown. They kept their distance and uttered mild mono-syllabic greetings to each other. They only moved when told to do so. It is tragic. I can’t say that we parents were a whole lot better. Nevertheless, that sense of relief was in the air.
Wait for the call
The staff guided the form filling and the process with enthusiasm. D and I were shown to one of the eight purpose-built spacious cubicles. Two lovely ladies introduced themselves, Annette and Brenda. D was relaxed offering up his arm with ease. The AstraZeneca vaccine was injected into him and the two girls did everything possible to make the process easy. They were truly wonderful. Despite the masks, their smiling faces were obvious.
Then it was down to Avril, another manager from Cope, to get a snack and wait the required 15 minutes. We were back in the car and home within the hour.
This is an enormous comfort for families and will make living with COVID-19 so much easier
I wish people would stop complaining about who and when people should be vaccinated. Leave these decisions to the experts and our turn will come. The vulnerable people in our lives are being done. They will be safe. This is an enormous comfort for families and will make living with COVID-19 so much easier. My husband, Tim’s mum, Lil, is due her second vaccine this week. My dad, John, is due his second dose the end of April. My other son, Philip, has been vaccinated through work.
As the weeks go by, more and more people will be vaccinated. The vaccination of vulnerable people in our family has made a huge difference to us. Over the weeks we will be able to relax a little in line with guidelines. The call will come to the rest of us in time. The process is in place. We just need another bit of patience.
Their sense of entitlement flies in the face of good leadership
Each vaccine is precious and designated according to one’s vulnerability to the virus. This has been made clear. The blatant flouting of these rules by people who have engineered vaccines for themselves is disgusting. It is arrogance personified. Their sense of entitlement flies in the face of good leadership. They should indeed step aside. Instead, the arrogance will probably prevail.
Try to be patient. That call will come.