Letters & Opinion

Budgeting for COVID and Elections Part 2: My Prick!

Image of Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

I have a very different approach to Budgeting for COVID: by not spending one damned cent.

I never planned (and therefore never budgeted) to pay for a COVID Test – especially when the price was being quoted in ‘U.S.’

And I surely didn’t plan to have to pay any hotel to be among the first set of Saint Lucians to experience Health Tourism the COVID way — quarantined within forbidden walls, as a potential national health hazard.

My enforced home quarantine since the May 2020 ‘accident’ that bound me to a wheelchair for seven months allowed me to budget more time to try to do those things I never had time to sit down for.

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During that time-budgeting period, I again lived my father’s saying that ‘Time is longer than twine!’, but also decided not to waste a cent of it by making sure I made good sense of it all.

Then came what I had really budgeted for in my mind – my prick.

I had always decided I would take the jab as soon as it became available and even though I would have preferred to wait for the Cuban, Chinese or Russian vaccines, I planned to take the prick because I did not believe — like some were going all-out to make it look like – that I ran the risk of what the late calypsonian Chippy called ‘One Bad Prick.’

When a Comrade called last week Thursday to ask whether I had taken my jab, I (seriously) told him I had just seen a BBC News item in which the Head of AstraZeneca admitted in an interview that he hadn’t taken his jab because he was ‘healthy’.

‘That doesn’t help,’ I noted regretfully.

There were also the holds put on the AstraZeneca rollout in several European states after reports that four after-vax ‘blood clots’ were detected in Scandinavia (out of millions vaccinated across Europe).

By yesterday, 16 European countries had put the vaccine on hold pending an emergency Rescue Mission by the European Regulatory Agency saying it was ‘safe’ because ‘the benefits outweigh the risks.’

But before last night was over, France (and others) had started rolling-back on their own rollbacks and allowing AstraZeneca for persons of all ages (above 18).

Given that AstraZeneca is unable to deliver on the number of contracts it (greedily) signed-up with rich countries budgeting beyond expectations trying to outdo each other to overstock (hoarding) vaccines to inoculate their entire populations several-times-over, richer countries also started budgeting too for also not having enough vaccines delivered in time – just in case…

But while the conspiracy theorists had been defeated by the sheer numbers and the demonstrated preparedness of people to get vaccinated, what Jamaicans would describe as ‘the Bloodklat Blood-clot’ talk started making serious rounds, thereby deepening the level of COVID Anxiety and hesitance in a case where COVID Fatigue is already having its toll.

The naysayers always forget that people will always put their health before everything else and obviously miscalculated that Saint Lucians had enough rare common sense to opt to err on the side of caution instead of dying from over-caution.

I had all along intended to wheel my way to the nearest center for my jab and my friend sent me the official schedule.

But before I could have ‘wheel-and-come-again’ to the Vigie Sports Complex, I was lucky enough to have been budgeted for by my dear friends at DBS, who’d thoughtfully considered my (temporary) incapacity and catered for me to join the line with their staff for their first prick.

However,  the ‘blood-clot’ danger sign did have its effect on those who had already decided to vax, who were now worried about possible ‘adverse reactions’ that ranged from ‘headaches’ to ‘sweating’, both caused more by worrying anxiety than certainty about anything.

Having heard (and believed) throughout my life in-and-out of hospitals and doctors and nurses’ hands that ‘Medicine is 60% psychological and won’t work if you don’t believe it will…’, I told myself, from Day One, that since the prick neither kills not prevents COVID, there was no harm in taking it.

But when I got to the ‘vaccination center’ and noticed everyone seeming anxious or worried, no one conversing from behind their masks, I decided to break the silence in my usual ‘troublesome’ way – and observe reactions.

When the nurse showed me the needle and asked whether I was ‘ready’, I told her (loud enough for listening ears to hear): ‘I never thought the day would come when I would be asking a woman to give me a prick – and demanding that she drive that thing inside me fast, fast, fast…’

There were a few laughs, but the Gender Warriors looked at me like I had said what they thought I wanted to say.

One actually watched me and asked later (with a snigger): ‘What if it was a man that was the nurse…?’

I wanted to tell her that ‘In this particular case, I would have taken it anyway…’

But I decided not to encourage this big fish to take any more of my silly bait.

Having taken my jab, I also let inquiring minds know my sons had decided to do like my mother did when I was a child ahead of allowing my first vaccine: ‘Wait-and-see’ how it works on their dad, arguing that ‘If we all take it together’ and there’s an ‘adverse reaction’ – particularly as I am of age to have ‘underlying conditions’ – they wanted to be there for me…

Not the kinda Dad to impose my will on any of my heirs, successor or next-of-kins, I respected and appreciated my sons had budgeted for taking care of the only dad they have, even before first taking care of themselves.

And now they’ve budgeted for me, I can now start to think of budgeting for The Budget — and General Elections.

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