Sometimes when my husband Art and I are out together, he wants to go grocery shopping because he's seen good sales in the newspaper ads. He'll say, "We can make a quick stop at Costco. And purple grapes are on sale at Fry's." Sometimes I get annoyed because I have other plans afterwards, and he usually hasn't said anything about stopping until we've already left home.
This morning we went to Lot 49 at Tucson Medical Center so I could get my first shot of the Moderna vaccine (I volunteer at the clinic in our retirement community on Thursdays, so I'm considered a health care worker.) I'd invited Art to go along with me because his was scheduled for next week (he's over 75) and I wanted to show him how to get there. I'd Googled the travel instructions and I was pretty sure he'd miss Wyatt, the side street where he'd need to turn right.
The drive-through vaccine line was quite short and the site was well organized. When I got to the place where a young woman asked for my name, appointment time and ID, I said, "Would it be possible for my husband to get his shot today too, instead of coming back next week?" She asked her supervisor, and we were directed to a tent off to the side just in front of us. I asked again at the tent. "Sure, we can do that." I said, "You have made our day." "We try."
So I got my shot and Art got his, and we'll go back for our second dose on February 20. You never know unless you ask, right?
Then we stopped at Costco. I was still annoyed, because I hadn't brought my phone with me. I usually play Candy Crush while I'm waiting in parking lots for Art to shop.
Sitting there in the parking lot, I thought for a few minutes about the physical therapy appointment I had yesterday. I got a cortisone shot in my right hip several weeks ago, and while the discomfort is much, much less, I want my right leg to get stronger so I can walk distances. And, I'm thinking, maybe if I get physical therapy the inflammation pain won't come back when the injection wears off. I told Andy, the physical therapist at my first appointment yesterday, what my goals were. He did a strength test and said, "Your glutes are atrophied." I said, "How can I have a big butt and atrophied glutes?" He laughed. He gave me two PT exercises that I'd never heard of. They were hard, but not painful. He told me not to overdue it. Twice a day, he said, and come back early next week.
I was lucky, I thought, to have good insurance that would pay for two sessions a week for six weeks.
The Costco parking lot wasn't very crowded at 10:00 a.m. Maybe because today was the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I turned the radio on to NPR and Kamala was taking the oath of office. I turned the volume up. I opened my car window. I listened to Lady Gaga sing the national anthem. I listened to the commentary. Art was in Costco for half an hour, so I had all that time, alone in my car, to listen and reflect.
I felt full of relief. It was glorious to listen to hope again.
Hope. What I have because Andy the physical therapist says he can help me. What I have because of the vaccine injected into my arm. What we all have because of our new national beginning.
I'm thinking of the last few lines of the poem spoken today by young Amanda Gorman: "For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it - if only we are brave enough to be it."
May it be so!