The morning of March 26, I take a Lyft 35 minutes from my urban New Jersey apartment to get my first Pfizer shot. I consciously hold back a relieved sob as I sit for the 15-minute waiting period.
That afternoon I find out a family member is positive for COVID.
That night my arm is mighty sore. The next day it is almost back to normal. One vaccine dose down. One to go.
I’m walking along the Hudson River the next morning when I get a phone call from Mom. Her voice is quaking.
“I’m trying to schedule a COVID test and I can’t without a computer. All I hear them say when I call is dot com, dot com, dot com.”
OK, I tell her. I’m out walking. I’ll be home soon and I’ll call you and help you schedule one.
Steeling myself, I stick to my plan to walk to a café to write in my journal. The words come in a furious rush: “I told you I was smarter than that asshole grifter with the gold toilets. That motherfucking prick. I am seething and must be calm. I’m not gonna have a blood pressure escalation over that son of a bitch.”
I’ve released my rage on the page.
I walk home, sit in front of my computer, and calmly call Mom. We try CVS.com. She’s impatient, in haughty disbelief that she has to deal with COVID because she’s been exposed to someone who tested positive. I fill out the form with her info and it takes me to locations for the test. She wants the one near her or none at all. No matter that there’s another one eight miles from her home. Another one, 12 miles. I feel her anxiety.
“How about we try Walgreens?” she says.
She has no idea this request means I have to fill out another form. But I do because I love her and she’s stressed and we find *her* Walgreens and she’s happy to get the drive-through appointment for the next day.
“Mom, does Dad want a test, too? Yours is at 10 a.m. There’s a 10:15 slot available.”
“Hold on, let me ask him. JOHNNNNNN, do you want a COVID test?” I hear his emphatic yes.
That’s it. They’re scheduled for the following morning. My beloved 89-year-old and 84-year-old parents.