April 9, 2021 – Getting Nowhere Fast

Do you ever feel as if you’ve expended a great deal of energy towards achieving specific goals, only to find that you’ve wound up no worse, but certainly no better? Maybe I’m making it into something more than it is, but it sure seems like that’s how most things have played out this week. From the Covid-19 vaccination to the snafu with my mortgage payment, and everything in between, it really feels like I’m getting nowhere fast. I keep running towards a goal or goals but it or they continue to elude me. My greatest concern and the one thing I wanted to do that I was absolutely certain would change my life for the better (by helping me attain greater freedom), was to finally get my Covid-19 vaccination. Just like everyone else, I have waited for my turn. Initially, the state was going to vaccinate people like me right away but then I kept getting sent to the back of the line (so to speak). On March 31st, I was officially notified that I was eligible. Hallelujah!

According to experts, the vaccine = increased protection against the disease + reduced risk of developing it. Sounds great, right? Hold on. Don’t get too excited, it’s not as cut and dry as it sounds. There’s a bit more to it. When I checked in for my appointment at the hospital, I was nearly giddy. My husband and kids were thrilled as well. I had been waiting for months. The nurse (who was to administer the injection) looked over the paperwork I handed her. It contained all of my personal details and medical history. “Has your doctor talked to you about the vaccination?” she asked. “Oh, yes. Absolutely,” I responded enthusiastically, “He has encouraged me to get it as soon as possible!” “Just realize that because of the immunosuppressants you’re taking, it will have a reduced efficacy,” she cautioned. “Ok?” I answered, not really understanding what she meant. She then filled out the vaccination card, poked me in my left shoulder with the syringe, applied a Band-Aid over the site, and sent me to the next station.

At the next station, I was required to wait for 30 minutes. In case I had a reaction, a nurse would be available and able to treat my symptoms. Throughout the duration, several different nurses stopped by and asked how I was doing. Each time I answered that I was fine. About midway through my wait, a lady that worked in scheduling stopped by with a laptop and signed me up for my second dose. The whole process went very smooth. When it was all said and done, I put on my jacket and walked home (one of the benefits of living right next to a hospital). I felt victorious after my first dose was administered. It would only be a matter of another 5 weeks (3 weeks wait until the next dose and 2 weeks wait for full immunity) before my body would have developed the necessary antibodies to protect me from the disease. I was so looking forward to visiting with my friends indoors again (without having to wear a mask). Not only that, but the chance to get on an airplane and see my boys was possible once more! “Spain, here I come!!” I thought to myself.

Well, do you remember the little comment the nurse made just prior to administering the first dose? It seemed harmless enough, but something told me I’d better do a little research before I got too carried away making travel plans. And believe me, I didn’t waste any time making plans. Before I went to bed that night, I had looked up the best rates on flights and rental cars and hotels and even had a timeline worked out. There were at least 20 windows on my computer open for different websites. The only thing I had to clear was boarding the dog. A little voice warned me not to hit the ‘confirm’ button, and I actually listened for once. I’m glad I did because once I took the time to ‘educate’ myself about the efficacy of the vaccination on people who are immunocompromised, I got a rude awakening. Ordinarily, the vaccine works fantastic. Yes, it works fantastic if you’re immunocompetent. Of the people in that category, once vaccinated, nearly 100% develop antibodies.

I happen to be in the other category, those folks that are immunocompromised. It applies to about 500,000 people (give or take) who have had solid organ transplants as well as approximately 11 million that are on immunosuppressants for other reasons (autoimmune disorders and the like). According to the study (through Johns Hopkins), after the first dose of the vaccine, only 17% of people who were immunocompromised developed antibodies. Of those, people (like me) who take Mycophenolate fared even worse. This is not good news, my friends. Essentially, this means that even after receiving both doses, I may still be no better off than beforehand. More than likely, I will be just as susceptible to getting the disease as I was pre-vaccine. The study is still ongoing, however. Additional testing is being completed to determine if the efficacy rates increase after the second dose. The results should be made available soon. All in all, it just doesn’t sound very promising but maybe they’ll make a breakthrough shortly. We can only hope.

In a week and a half, I am scheduled to see my nephrologist. I’m going to ask if he can put in a request for an antibody test. If for no other reason, it’ll give me clarity and hopefully some peace of mind. Anyway, I’ve blabbered on enough about my concerns on that particular topic so let’s move on, shall we? What else did I want to talk about? Oh, yes! My ‘bungled’ mortgage payment. I would like to first state that up until about a year ago, I was a dyed-in-the-wool pay-by-check lady (those people you never want to end up behind in the checkout line at the store). Each month, I would wait for the bills to arrive and once they did, I would spend just over an hour or two (at the end of the month) writing out checks to the assorted banking establishments and utility companies (for the amounts due). Once I had everything ready to go, I would swing by the post office and place them in the ‘outgoing mail’ box. The process used up a lot of paper and time as well as stamps.

When I mentioned it to my oldest son, he suggested I pay my bills online. Paying bills online was a foreign concept to me. I didn’t trust the process but I decided to give it a try one day after I realized I had overlooked the electric bill. I am generally right on top of paying my bills but somehow I missed that particular one. Once I did get a good look at it, it was early evening and I practically went into hysterics because it was due the following day (and the mail truck had already been by the house that afternoon). If I put a paper check into the mail, I knew it was going to be extremely late. Oh, crap! I looked over the information on the bill and saw that there was an alternative way to pay. By going to their website, once providing my account number, I could enter my credit card information and pay it immediately. Needless to say, it started out with the electric bill and eventually I ended up paying all of my bills this way. Sorry, U.S. Postal Service.

It’s all gone very well with the exception of my mortgage payment. Each time I pay it, I stipulate that I want the entire monthly mortgage amount covered along with an additional amount applied towards principal. Sometimes the bank does what I ask and sometimes they don’t. On March 1st, rather than doing what I stipulated, they applied the entire amount towards principal. It was a good thing that I just happened to check my account at the end of March because I caught their mistake. The account reflected that I still hadn’t paid. As a result (and just in the nick of time), I paid my mortgage (a second time) and avoided a late payment penalty. I have called 5 times and sent two emails over the past 10 days. Each time I have reached out to the bank, I’ve requested that the deposit be reversed and the monies reapplied correctly. It has yet to happen. Ack! So frustrating!! I spoke with a lady in their escalations department today (who clearly was doing the dishes while she had me on speakerphone) and she assured me she’d stay on top of it. I’m not holding my breath.

There’s another matter I wanted to talk about involving a one-handed pooper scooper but in the scheme of things, it seems rather trivial. I just have to say that when it comes to pooper scoopers, I prefer to have a back-up handy. The one I was using broke recently so I had to bust out the ‘reserve’. My husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal. “Just use a shovel if the other one breaks,” he suggested. Ummm, no. If you knew how much my dog pooped, you would balk, too! I think she’s got a real problem. Regardless, trying to find one of those scoopers locally has proven quite the challenge. Long story short, a local store said they had it and after I drove all the way over, there wasn’t a single one in stock. Grrr. It’s yet another example of ‘getting nowhere fast’. I really hope this ‘trend’ doesn’t continue. It’s beyond frustrating (that’s the language I used when I contacted the bank earlier this week via email). Ugh. Alright, that’s enough complaining for the day. I’m sure you’ve had your fill by now. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to see you again tomorrow.

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