There I was in the shed … Actually, if you don’t mind, we’ll leave the shed for the moment and come back to it in a minute.
Every night I listen to, not only our own news, but Sky, BBC, CNN and France 24. It is heart-warming to watch the Covid vaccine rollout and to know that this awful virus has met its match from science. People are getting impatient – and understandably so, but we all just need to hold our collective nerve for one last offensive. Despite some criticism you may hear, our government has done a tremendous job overall and history will bear this out.
On a Monday I got a call from my GP’s secretary to ask if I would be available for my Covid ‘jab’ on Friday. “Would I what …!” I exclaimed. Laura gave me a time for Friday, and I felt as if I had just won the Lotto. Then on Thursday, Olga from the clinic rang apologetically, to say there was going to be a shortfall and that my slot had to be cancelled, and my appointment postponed.
I am philosophical about these things – and as they say in the best of places,‘s##t happens!’ ‘What’s another week or two’, I said. Then, as is the case in every week, Thursday was followed by Friday.
There I was in the shed …
It was coming up to noon and I was de-horning a few calves in the shed. The calves were not in favour of the procedure and their mammies were engaging in civil unrest around the yard. The world’s greatest multitasker, Mrs Youcantbeserious, was acting as my lovely assistant. This is all the help I can muster these days.
In contrast to the beautiful clean and shiny coats of the calves, mine was damp, dirty and foul smelling. I could smell my own sweat off my shirt and my boots, sleeves and part of my face was streaked with green cow-pooh. (Yes, lads …that’s it – the same thing) My assistant was passing the scissors so I could clip the hair around another horn-bud. Then … same as with sitting down to my dinner, or getting into the shower, it was then my phone rang.
I very nearly didn’t answer it: I could always ring back. ‘You better answer it, advised my assistant. I maneuvererd the phone from my back pocket and now I had green streaks on it as well. “This is Mullingar Health Centre,” a pleasant voice informed me. “We have a spare vaccine. Would you be able to come in”?
The head-lock on the young heifer was released quicker than a wrestler after getting a knee where he shouldn’t get a knee. “I’ll be there in an hour,” I blabbed semi-incoherently. “An hour won’t do”, I was gently informed. “You’ve got 40 – maybe 45 minutes.” “I’ll be there – but it’s a good job you are all wearing masks”, I concluded.
I made a run for the house as my assistant beat me to it. “Strip off your clothes and leave them at the back door,” she ordered. (It’s been a long time since anybody last said that to me ….)
As I rinsed the front of my face at the sink, a clean shirt and trousers came floating over the banisters from upstairs. I struggled to get into them due to the clamminess of my condition. I bolted to the car, with Mrs Youcantbeserious running after me and spraying deodorant anywhere she could reach on my person.
I took ten minutes off the world record for the drive to Mullingar, where I was met by Brona. She put me sitting on a wooden chair. I presented the only clean spot on my body – that stretch of white skin between my elbow and the shoulder-blade. Brona rubbed something on the spot … and I waited. “Now, you have to sit and remain there for 15 minutes”, she told me. “Is it done?” I asked – not believing that it could be – because I didn’t feel a thing.
For weeks I had watched on TV as needles were rammed into arms … and if truth be told, I am not great at that sort of thing. “Yes … all done”, the lovely nurse informed me. “I thought I would feel at least a ‘pinch’”, Sez I. “Well, if you need the pinch, we can do that as well … but you have your Covid vaccine inside you now!”
I’ll never forget that moment. I have since been lucky enough to receive my 2nd ‘jab’ but nothing about it was nearly as dramatic or satisfying as that first call.
If in years to come, and you see a cow wandering around my farm and sporting just one horn; you will know that was the calf I was working on when my Covid call came!
Fear of the future is a waste of the present.