Funeral For A Friend And Get Your Shot

One of my two best local friends died Friday night. He had been in the hospital for a month because of Covid. Long enough that the virus had apparently left, but the body devastation resulting therefrom had not. His organs and body never quit shutting down. But, Friday night, the shut down was complete and final.

I’ll call this formerly vibrant human “Pat” for reference. And when I say formerly vibrant, it is somewhat tongue in cheek. Pat is dead, I am curiously still alive. Mrs. Bmaz has tried to leverage that into better eating and living. But our diet has slowly gone far more to the healthy side than used to be. Which is good. Don’t exercise as much as used to, or probably should, but am pretty far from Jabba The Hut status.

Pat was a guy who could likely get out of bed and run a 5K on the spot. He was an exemplary person that had as high as of a security clearance as you can imagine, and protected it always. A guy that was easy to go eat some tasty Mexican food at the local cantina, the TeePee Tap Room, and slurp the margaritas, or sip some careful bourbon while headed to, coming back from, or watching the ASU Sun Devils, even on TV. If you have been here at Emptywheel long enough, you know that I am a big sports fan, and have relentlessly gone to ASU football games (including two Rose Bowls), and Super Bowls in town here. We watched even more on the big screen whether at our house or his. Pat was a fixture at all of that.

He was my friend since college, and for a long time, including now, generally my physical neighbor too. Everybody has a Covid death story, this is simply mine. It has no real importance other than to unload some frustration and make sure others have the space to do the same. Pat was an executive VP at a worldwide IT company. Had as good of health insurance as is possible in the US. Was at as good of a hospital as available in Scottsdale. He did not die because of lack of resources, he died because this shit is real.

Which brings us to the shot. Go get it, whatever vaccine is possibly available, immediately. Any of them are better than nothing. Nobody knows how long any of them will last anyway. It may be that different, or “booster” shots need be had a year or two down the line. So be it, go get what you can now. Not just for yourself, or your immediate family, but for society. If you participate in society and democracy, then you also owe something back. Voting and vaccinating are, seriously, the least you can do.

Pat leaves behind a son, who has now a giant void. There are many friends of his father’s that will try to fill that unfillable void. But no one can really fill that void. And that is the real hell of Covid. There are approximately 535 thousand families out there with exactly this kind of loss and void. The numbers get numbing, but that should not be the case.

It is not just a number, it is not just a CNN chyron statistic. This is real. Go get your shot as soon as possible. Do it for yourself, your family and for all.

This is not trash talk. It is not fun and games. It is life and death. Be on the side of the former, not the latter. Music is, of course, Elton. I was going to to go with an earlier version, but this is seriously kick ass, and we all age. As long as we can rock, we can still roll.

126 replies
  1. Pete t says:

    The 500,000+ who have passed are each a story that needs to be told and celebrated as you are doing.

    It’s not just their close family family and friends, like you, who feel pain, but we too because we “know” you.

    And so this pandemic affects not 500,000 in this country, but what – 5 or 50 million or more.

    We all are born. We will all die. It’s in between that counts. I suspect Pat was blessed to know you as a close friend and the same applies to you knowing him as a close friend.

    Pat will not be forgotten.

  2. Vinnie Gambone says:

    “The heart never buries it’s dead. ” Thanks for sharing your remembrances of Pat. Suspect he felt equally strong about you. So hard to say goodbye. Sounds like the kid’s in good hands. Thanks

  3. Tracy Lynn says:

    Waiting, waiting,waiting to be eligible for a vaccine– I’m still too young. Unfortunately at the moment our county has run out of vaccine–my 96-year-old dad had his shot appt. cancelled because his clinic has run out and no one knows when they will get more. He was on the waiting list for 6 weeks. He has better health insurance than I could ever dream of.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Similar frustrations here, Tracy Lynn. I do qualify, but can’t get an appointment because there’s no vaccine; the sign-up site instructs me to “keep checking back.” My sisters, who are much savvier than I am, told me the best time to try is just after midnight. So far I haven’t made it (I fell asleep), but I’ll give it another go tonight. Good luck to you and your dad!

  4. Duke says:

    Sorry for your loss, his family’s loss. May those who have lost love ones retain the love given and received over the years while finding healing in the memories and the positive emotions from live shared.

    TeePee Tap Room is a placeholder for good memories to which I can relate.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, the TeePee Mex is a classic. Believe it or not, Marcy, Jim, Ed and Rosalind have all been there. With Leopold and Gregg Levine in tow for good measure. Can’t wait to go back there. Get take out every now and then to support them.

      • Ed Walker says:

        I cannot tell you how ready I am to return to the TeePee. We ate at a local restaurant last night for the first time in over a year, so long ago we couldn’t remember.

        • bmaz says:

          The funny thing is, it is not the most expensive fine dining joints I miss the most, it is the long time local things, where the food is great, but the atmosphere and people better. That is really going to be an important return. Most here, like the TeePee, have hung on, but by a thread. Others not, which are yet more victims of Covid.

          • Peterr says:

            This. 1000x this. We’ve been getting more takeout from some of our favorites, to help keep them going, but the attraction is so much greater than just great food.

            Peace to you and the rest of Pat’s friends and family.

      • Duke says:

        Indian School establishment was a happy gluttonous experience for us. Absolutely, hope to return. Ranch House Grille pleased our lazy breakfast outings. Local owned restaurants have been our favorite places when we travel. Vaccines are rolling out faster and faster and I am being patient and will wait.

  5. PeterS says:

    Thank you for these words. I often remind myself that when Trump caused outrage with the “it is what it is” comment the death toll was only (sic) a thousand per day. And then it got a lot worse.

  6. bg says:

    Sincere condolences. I too had a neighbor die, a hale and hearty 41 year old gifted engineer. It haunts me. My sister who has so many co-morbidities finally got her first shot at a doctor appointment and when they offered it to me, I cried. My second is in 10 days, and I’m worried about the side effects for my sister, but I know she won’t die of this and will be somewhat protected in the wider world.

    It is real. Again, my condolences, and I hope his son feels supported. One of my business partners died unexpectedly in a car accident a few blocks from home when his son was about 11. He’s doing great now, but it was not an easy road for him and his mother.

    These deaths from COVID did not have to happen. I am so mad. So sorry, Bmaz. It is fucked up.

  7. chicago_bunny says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    I’ve lost a retired former boss who gave me the professional break that set all of the other pieces in motion for me. (She was one of the very first to pass away in Chicago.) I’ve lost members of my extended family. I’ve had some get worryingly sick. I’ve seen co-workers grapple with waves of loss within their own families.

    I think it will take us all a long time to process what this experience has done to us and our relationships. I will get the vaccine as soon as I can, and I encourage others to do so as well.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Chicago_bunny, I hear it’s very hard to get vaccinated there. My sister, who lives in Rogers Park and qualifies by age/pre-existing conditions, is primary caregiver for a 91-year-old woman who lives in Wilmette–and SHE can’t get an appointment! This baffles all of us. I wish you luck and Godspeed, since it seems like my beloved hometown is lagging on this.

  8. WilliamOckham says:

    Sorry for your loss. Stories like this are so heart-breaking, both for the people affected and for what it says about our government and society that this shit is still happening. I was lucky enough to get my vaccine shots already. I hope that opportunity is available to everyone soon.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is, wistfully, kind of the deal. Death cannot be unwound. And I sincerely thank everybody for the condolences, cannot tell you how much.

      The real message is, however, as Mr. Ockham has, go get yer shots. Any shot. This devastation need not continue apace as it woefully has.

  9. @pwrchip says:

    Bmaz, so sorry for your loss. Yes, the survivors have it the worst in coping with that void. I remember losing my best friend 2 decades ago, he was like a brother to me; it took me more than six months to stop reaching for the phone to call him to meet for a cup of coffee or beer. I’ve lost many friends but that one left me out of sorts for a long time. Furthermore, I live alone & haven’t left the house since Feb2020 bc of Covid, but after reading your story, I’ll call the VA tomorrow for a vaccine appointment. Again, my sincerest condolences.

    • bmaz says:

      The vaccines are all good. Go get any you can. I still wear a mask when out and about, but am no longer terrified about being out and about.

      One of my other good friends is an ER doc at the local VA. They are, by and large, reportedly offering the vaccines now, so PLEASE go as soon as possible.

      • madwand says:

        Sorry for your loss. I thought you told it well and the lesson is really “get your shot”.

        Local VA in my neck of the woods is extremely organized in giving out Covid shots, I received both of mine, no problems other than a little flu like symptoms. I consider myself lucky not to have worse. Both sessions were seamless and professional. Then the local VA organized a Saturday session and opened it up to the community. Thought that was a nice touch.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    Suffering the loss of loved ones is wrenching, even more so when it feels so senseless. Sometimes it can be a big reach to find some semblance of gratitude and purpose remaining after those losses. But it looks like you have managed both, bmaz. Thanks for sharing your gratitude for a valued friendship and your sense of purpose in reaching out to his son. And for reaching out to us, as well.

    I’m close to the average life expectancy age in my county. So, it’s no surprise that people I once knew, no longer are. What is alarming though, is that of the 15 people I once knew who have passed in the last 5 years, 7 of them did not survive Covid.

    Simultaneously, I know several babies that have been born since the onset of Covid. They are beautiful and thriving. That reminds me, too, that both my parents were born the same year as the devastating Spanish flu.

    I am so grateful for the Biden-Harris administration and for Merrick Garland at DOJ. And, of course, I’m especially grateful for scientists and health care givers. And I’m equally grateful for everyone at emptywheel. In fact, when I woke up this morning, there were tiny tears of gratitude at the corners of my eyes. It took me this long since the election in November to finally feel like we have a viable path forward again.

  11. OldTulsaDude says:

    Like others, I am sorry for your loss, bmaz. This virus is our enemy, not each other. As to loss, we have to accept the pain of loss – if we bury the pain we also bury the good memories. Accepting the pain is the only way to hold on to the memories. It is never easy; however, time makes the pain less intense.

  12. Drew says:

    So sorry. May his memory continue to bless.
    This has been so real and so scary. And continues to be. In New York the infection rates continue to be as high as they were a year ago when we were the epicenter.

    Everyone should get the vaccine as soon as they possibly can. There’s no longer any reason to wait-there will be enough vaccine. Make an appointment.

  13. posaune says:

    I’m so grateful that I’ve gotten my two shots; we’re still waiting for mr. posaune to get his first next Saturday; baby posaune is scheduled for first shot on Wednesday.
    I will feel so much better when the three of us are fully vaccinated. It really does relieve a significant burden that we’ve assumed.
    Good health to all here; and condolences to you, bmaz.

  14. mass interest says:

    Bmaz, joining with everyone here in extending condolences to you and your family.

    I thank you and the other hosts here, as well as commenters, for the beacon of light you’ve all provided – and continue to provide – in these challenging times.

    Wishing you well as you support “Pat’s” family members.

  15. rosalind says:

    oh bmaz, sending you a socially distanced hug. so sorry. my older brother lost his two best friends to cancer a year apart, leaving an unfillable void. can’t just order up a lifetime of friendship and shared memories. but may his memory bring comfort forever on.

    Vaccines. *sigh* Washington State finally admitted what my County execs had suspected: we’ve been shortchanged big time in the vacc supply. Still not getting enough, so each week we fall behind. I don’t qualify for any of the announced tiers anyway, so my jab is still looking a long long ways off.

    BUT: I celebrate each and every one of you who have been fortunate to receive your vaccines, and look forward to the day I join you all.

  16. John Lehman says:

    Good friends are more precious than gold.
    That is one heavy soul wounding loss.
    Hoping for a complete healing

    Wife and I got J+J shots three days ago thanks to a vigilant step-daughter.

      • John Lehman says:

        We both had minor arm soreness and a day of feeling extra tired and exhausted.
        Bio-medical engineer son-in-law said those were good signs that the inoculation was taking effect.

      • John K says:

        My side effects were essentially the same as John Lehman but I made one huge mistake which I feel compelled to warn people about. I got the J & J shot on Wednesday around noon. I was very tired Wed. P.M. and all day Thursday. Friday was so so. I woke up Saturday morning feeling better than normal and proceeded to pressure wash the north side of my house, a fairly big task for a 64 year old with three lower back surgeries, a four level fusion in my neck, a short gut and liver and kidney issues. It was too much. The physiological response was much greater than simple muscle soreness. Every single part of my body felt painful, disjointed, and/or sick. I had trouble sleeping because I could not get comfortable. Luckily, it only lasted about 24 hours and I was back to normal by Sunday evening, just normal soreness. But it was absolutely horrible for those 24 hours.

        So, please, everyone take heed and ease into any kind of major physical exertion. I would recommend postponing such activity for at least a week.

        I’m sorry for your loss, bmaz. Try to keep in mind the fact that the meaning and value of such a friendship can never be diminished.

        • timbo says:

          Yah, I shouldn’t have been chainsawing the next day after my shot. Felt dizzy after an hour of that—so, uh, yeah, chainsawing and dizzy don’t go so well together so I stopped. A day later, it really hit. Felt like I might be coming down with SARS in fact. Ugh. But by day 5 it had cleared up. getting my booster this week, fingers crossed. I’m not killing myself before or after that shot this time!

  17. FiestyBlueBird says:

    Sorry, man. It sucks. A cousin of mine was taken by Covid as well. Good guy. Sports writer. And then no cousins, indeed no siblings, attended the service, due to the risk. More recently, my sister. Not to Covid, but again, no family gathering except her kids and her husband. And it was an unexpected passing. A shock. I’m too young to be in line just yet for the shot. But that horizon nears, just as spring nears. It’s going to get better. I second Savage L’s sentiment on being so very glad we at least have decent leadership at the top now helping to lead us out of this shit. They’ll do the best they can to clean up the mess during the time they have. I’m also very grateful both of my parents were already gone before Covid, and before at least most of the other guy’s time in the OO. Again, sorry, bmaz. Some normalcy and good times are coming. Bittersweet, though, at least for awhile.

  18. ApacheTrout says:

    I’m sorry, bmaz. I understand what you’re feeling (I think).

    I lost my best friend from high school in December last year, but not from Covid. Complications from a life of terrible choices piled on top of obesity. Sports was our link and I still find myself about to write a message to him to talk hockey, the Giants-Dodgers, and golf. It sucks.

    Peace to you.

    ps. getting m first vaccine shot tomorrow evening. A big sigh is coming.

  19. P J Evans says:

    My condolences, and hope that it will get better soon for everyone.
    (I still miss my mother – dead more than 15 years – and my father, who died in the mid-90s, and his older sister, who died in 2016 at a very old age. It just hurts less now, but I still want to call and talk, or go out to the garden or the shop in ‘Arthur’ or down to the basement shop, for my father.)

    I’d get the shot[s], but no place around here has any, of the ones that I know about.

  20. Raven Eye says:

    Condolences — And I hear you.

    My first shot is scheduled, and the *biggest* reason for getting it is not for myself…Just like wearing a mask and avoiding crowds was not primarily for myself. It’s more of that (hopefully) enlightened self-interest…A functioning, vibrant, and productive society (writ large) IS in my self-interest.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time doing both time-sensitive and deliberate planning, so I’ve had to figure out how to operationalize *big* concepts. In the first sentence of the Constitution are a few words that are often skipped over in the rush to get to the Bill of Rights. Those words address our collective responsibilities and obligations. Operationalize those and get a shot. Don’t drop your guard and try to wriggle out of your social distancing parachute harness 500 feet above ground.

    Half a million dead in this country, and both obvious and lurking health problems that we will be dealing with for the rest of the century.

  21. greengiant says:

    My condolences bmaz.

    In line with your theme, double down on getting vaccinated because with virus variants such as various E484K people previously infected have basically no immunity. The vaccines give significant immunity against these but not as much as against earlier variants. The previously infected will not be helping out with herd immunity or lowering spread. We have to do it with vaccinations and future infections.

    For the covid denialists and covid and vaccine stupid, this means you all can get infected a second time

  22. burnt says:

    We’re so sorry bmaz. We are so close right now to getting enough people vaccinated and yet there are people like your friend Pat. For some reason with the end of the pandemic in sight it hurts more. Bittersweet got the Johnson and Johnson jab on Wednesday. She felt a little fuzzy headed for an hour or two late in the day but otherwise nothing. I’m not yet in an eligible group but things are ramping up here on the tundra and so I’m hoping in the next two weeks I’ll get something. I don’t care which version since all three are effective at preventing serious illness and death. I agree with you that it’s our civic duty to get vaccinated. Do it for the herd especially since there are a few members of the herd who can’t be safely vaccinated.

      • burnt says:

        We just purchased tickets for late April. Will let you know details via email. Would love to have lunch and a cocktail provided I get jabbed/shot. Bittersweet will be good to go before we fly, so she will be in regardless.

  23. klynn says:

    Bmaz, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and will keep his family in my thoughts.

    A friend lost his mother earlier this past year. A neighbor is a long hauler. You are so correct – get vaccinated! My 1st shot comes in a week!

    • bmaz says:

      Excellent, go get it! It is, really, painless. And such a good thing for both you and everybody. Very cool.

      • P J Evans says:

        Friend’s wife got one a few weeks ago (in Oregon) and said it’s a teeny diameter needle; you really can’t feel it (and no way could a microchip get through it).

  24. Bay State Librul says:


    What a great tribute you paid to “Pat”
    Your feelings come across as clear as day.
    Last Saturday I received the J&J vaccine at a former Wang Lab facility in Lowell, Massachusetts. The volunteers and Lowell General Hospital deserve a round of applause.
    To Ed, no side effects after a week with the J&J.
    My wife received her Pfizer shot yesterday, and will return on April 3rd for her second.
    We are very fortunate.
    Hope all is well for you and your family.

  25. Leoghann says:

    My condolences to you and to Pat’s family, bmaz. My next-door neighbor was one of the first Arizona covid deaths, last March. The medical examiner couldn’t even test him until late April. My neighbor across the street lost his brother in September. My son passed in June, thanks to Greg Abbott’s inhuman cruelty (he was incarcerated in Texas). And although there’s news about wide vaccine availability in parts of Arizona, here in Gosar Land, they’re cancelling appointments left and right. Until a week ago, the county people were still blaming the lack of vaccine on the big winter storm that was in mid-February. But at least I’ve finally been able to register.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Leoghann, I am so terribly sorry about your son. What you wrote triggered a surge of anger in me; it is just so brutally familiar. I do a lot of research and writing about “criminal justice” in Texas. My original project has taken me there too many times; over and over I find injustices of stunning variety committed at every stage of the legal process. It sounds as if your son fell victim to one of these which has wrought less visible, but no less horrific damage. You have my deepest sympathy. Please know that some of us out here are fighting to change this awful system.

  26. RAW says:

    Hi bmaz,
    Sorry to hear about your friend. My wife and I are nursing students, second profession, in the greater Phoenix area. Just got our first vaccine the other day and going to our hospital clinicals soon, slightly nervous. I’m thankful there’s an administration taking this seriously. Stay healthy!

    • bmaz says:

      Thank you for the thoughts, but even more for doing what you are as a second profession. Not something that can always be said in AZ, but the POD sites in Maricopa County are really pretty impressive in the job they are doing.

  27. ThomasH says:

    My sincere condolences after the loss of your dear friend. How right you are: COVID is as real as it gets! My former colleagues, Bay Area anesthesiologists, told me in February 2020 that this pandemic is “unlike anything we’ve seen in this country” since at least the “Spanish” flu pandemic. May your memories of Pat stay with you.

  28. Geoguy says:

    Bmaz. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Spouse got both Pfizer shots. My crazy Fox news watching mother-in-law just got her second Pfizer shot today. It was a struggle but we convinced her that we would leave her housebound if she didn’t get it. I am registered as 1C which means I don’t have an appointment yet.

    This is for Ed Walker. In NJ you get whichever vaccine is being used at the site of your appointment. Mrs. geoguy is conducting a highly unscientific study; every one she knows that received the Pfizer shots had no side effects. Everyone she knows that received the Moderna shots had flu like side effects for a few days.

    • bmaz says:

      I had Pfizers. First was nothing. Second mostly the same, but residual left arm soreness from the second. Think was from the fact that I sleep on that side of my body though, and I annoyed the arm.

      • Geoguy says:

        Funny you mentioned residual arm soreness. A friend who is a nursing home administrator was one of the first that I know of to get the vaccine. She was advised to get the shots in the arm on the side she doesn’t sleep on regardless of whether she is left or right handed.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I got no such good advice, but it would not have mattered as I shift from side to side by rolling over. Have tried to learn to just sleep flat on back, but to no consistent avail. Few years ago, I actually had a minor rotator cuff issue on the other side, again from ….. sleeping like an idiot. So the current issue has not really concerned me much, but there it is nevertheless.

        • timbo says:

          Good advice, sort of. I was advised that it is best to get the shot in your strong arm so that it gets as much reaction as quickly as possible in the muscles. I did htis and it didn’t hurt that much for about 24 four hour… But, yeah, I couldn’t sleep on that arm for three days after that…

    • pdaly says:

      I’ve wondered the same, but I haven’t seen a scientific poll.

      I had no symptoms after my first Moderna vaccine. I was worried I might have received a dud, so I was greatly reassured 4 weeks later by chills, nausea, headache and body aches starting 8 hours after I received my second Moderna vaccine. Nausea and headache were the most prominent for me, but my symptoms lasted only 24 hours.

      Other people in my office after their second Moderna vaccine had different symptoms than I did. One nurse came to work the day following her second shot, but developed a high fever by noon and went home. Another colleague, about 10 years younger, felt tired at work the day after his second Moderna shot but muddled through the day just fine.

      The people I know who received the Pfizer vaccine did not have as many symptoms other than fatigue and mild body aches.

      • Eureka says:

        Spouse got Pfizer and some hours after the second dose said it felt like he was injected with tryptophan. Chills / body aches / GI followed. Brief, a day or so.

        Of course there is another anecdotal side-poll as to how many of the frontline folks may have been pre-titred up to some extent, unawares (and lots of those, hospital-based at the front of 1a, did get Pfizer for reasons of logistics and availability). We’ll never know, but I’d like to see reaction profiles from studies of folks vaccinated who are known to have had it.

        ETA: pdaly, apropos of some of the recent COVID anniversaries I was recalling some of our convos here from then, much appreciated dialog.

        • pdaly says:

          Yes, Eureka. I remember those crazy early days. Hoping this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. At the very least, with vaccinations, it may become just a nuisance virus with periodic vaccine boosters.
          Glad to hear your spouse is vaccinated.

    • Sharon says:

      Son had Pfizer and had terrible headaches and other flu like symptoms to both first and second vaccinations. Hubby and I had Moderna. Had no symptoms after first shot and I had almost nothing after second. Hubby took a nap and that’s about all there is to report.

  29. posaune says:

    My dearest longtime friend just retired from her job as the head nurse in ER triage at a major medical center in NYC (she saw the 3rd person dx with covid in the US, called Head of Infectious Disease, and put the pt in isolation.) She worked in ER triage for 30 years.

    Bored with “retirement” after a week, she got a new job administering vaccines in Manhattan. Older guy comes in around 6pm wearing a golf jacket. She looks at the chart, and says
    RN: “Hi Mr. Torre — are you stopping in on your way home from work?”
    Patient: “Oh, no. I’m retired now.”
    RN: “what did you do before you retired?
    Patient: “I was managing the Yankees.”
    RN: “WHAT?” ( stepping back 6 feet): “Take your mask off and let me see!!”
    Patient: “This is refreshing! I’m so happy to get the vaccine.”
    Patient reaches into his tote bag and gives her and 5 other nurses signed baseballs, ” Thanks for the vaccine. Joe Torre”

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      OMG! That made my day. So nice to hear that Joe is still in New York, and actually the sweetheart I always thought he was back in the glory days. This brings back so many memories: Wade Boggs on that horse, Andy Pettitt and rookie Derek Jeter. Officially I “hated” the Yankees (lifelong, fourth-generation Cubs fan). But they were so fun to watch.

      • posaune says:

        I always thought that Joe Torre was a nice guy — so even tempered in the face of George Steinbrenner. Makes me miss my days in New York. Glad you enjoyed the anecdote.

  30. pdaly says:

    My condolences, bmaz, to you and to your friend’s grieving family.

    This virus remains strange a year out– although medical research has identified risk factors for severe complications, the virus does not always treat with kid gloves people who seem to be low risk for complications. One of my patients with COVID-19 spent a month in the ICU last April and several months subsequently in rehab. He is still relearning to walk, and he has not recovered full use of his arms after COVID-related clotting caused strokes. By contrast, his elderly mother, with whom he lives, never became infected and remains fine to this day.

    Wholeheartedly agree that everyone should get the COVID vaccines (and continue wearing face masks in public until we reach herd immunity via vaccination).
    Vaccination against COVID-19 remains our best way out of this pandemic.
    I completed my Moderna vaccinations in late February.

    Vaccine availability is still an issue in MA, but it is improving now with the J&J vaccine added to the options. Our Dept of Public Health is constantly updating their website with the evolving criteria for eligibility and listings of vaccination site locations.

    I spend as much time as I can reassuring patients who are on the fence about getting the vaccine that the vaccines are not only safe and effective but they save lives. People can save their own lives, and, by breaking a chain of virus spread, save the lives of others.

  31. stethant says:

    Every Covid death is an important story, for you and for all of us. I am sorry for the loss of your friend – the older we get the harder they are to come by.

    My condolences to you, your friend’s son and all his family.

    When the pandemic started last Spring I lost so many patients at one point I couldn’t remember their names. I have never felt such shame. Covid scars us all. Do right by your friend’s memory and try to save the lives of others, as you are doing. There will be light at the end of this tunnel.

  32. punaise says:

    That’s very sad, bmaz, sorry to learn of your loss. Sounds like his son will have good community support.

    We’ve been patiently waiting our turn for the vaccine, conscious of the inequities in distribution and not wanting to take someone more deserving’s dose.

    But thanks to a temporary glitch in the Kaiser matrix Mme. punaise was able to book an appointment for next week, no eligibility criteria to meet. (News traveled like brushfire that day). No such luck for me; it was pretty random luck I think. Of course I will escort Mme. to the appointment *just in case* they are giving out matched pairs.

    • bmaz says:

      I know more about all this than I would like to, because of Mrs. Bmaz’s line of work. I hope your appointment is closer to the end of the day, because they are far more likely to give the spare shot then. It really does happen. The stories about providers literally calling around at 4:50 pm for someone, anyone, are true, and the dedicated folks never want to waste a shot. So good luck, and do not be afraid to ask for it, they may have it!

      • punaise says:

        There’s a lot of anecdotal chatter about the “use it or lose it” scenarios, which makes sense: no-shows (?!), serial appointment bookers, etc.

        This is kind of shocking:

        364,000 people would be alive today if US had SF’s COVID numbers, expert says

      • josap says:

        The loss of a cherished friend is never easy. It hurts for a long time, yet eases within that time. What you don’t lose is the care and closeness you gave each other. The bittersweet memories today will become memories that make you smile from a warmth inside.

        Just yesterday when I went to pick up my medication the pharmacist asked me if I had gotten my shots. Yes I have. He asked me if I knew anyone who wanted a shot. He had one dose, use it or lose it. I called one of my friends and he got his first shot. Being in the right place at the right time. His wife went with him and the pharmacist told them if/when he has another extra the wife would get that one.

  33. Eureka says:

    bmaz, I’m sorry you lost your friend, so sorry. RIP.

    To the rest of your post:

    2018 Elton rocked that song, if you think 2011 counts for old.

    I lost my mom, as you might recall (not long after you lost Kiki), going into COVID-19, and I was afraid I would lose my spouse due to line of work. He did lose some coworkers, others ran the ICU gauntlet, others are left with permanent disabilities (like hearing loss). Hard to describe that appointment clock leading up to the day the shots finally became available shortly before Christmas: the Thanksgiving surge was ongoing, dangerous, impossible, and it was excruciating to watch and wait. I marked the tenth day past the first shot on the calendar as a safe(r)-zone miracle and took another breath.

    He’s been quite a vaccine evangelist; also advocated for coworkers who were in some kind of gray zone as to early 1a rules to be counted and get their shots, too. I’m proud of him. It’s been a long hard year+ and I don’t know how they’ve done it.

    Meanwhile local, state, and federal lawmakers are trying to sort out our effed up vaccine situation/ shorted allotment and I wait…

  34. foggycoast says:

    very sorry to hear of your loss. it sucks. got both shots and am at peak immunity as of today.

  35. joel fisher says:

    Sorry to hear of this painful loss; it does
    appear that he had a good friend in life. So regrettable.

  36. dimmsdale says:

    My condolences on your loss, bmaz. (And to everyone suffering these horrible, needless losses.) 2 Pfizer doses onboard here. Side effects with shot #2: every arthritic joint in my body that ever gave me trouble, gave me DOUBLE trouble post-shot. (Inflammation, pain, etc.) I personally assume that the side effects (barring something extreme like anaphylaxis, which is exceedingly rare) are simply manifestations of the body mounting its immune response to whatever’s in the shot, so going in for shot #2 I was like, “Side effects?? Bring ’em on!!!”

  37. FLwolverine says:

    Condolences for your loss, Bmaz . My husband and I have both had our two vaccinations – Pfeizer – and had only minor effects after the second shot: sore arms and some fatigue. But the change in mood is noticeable! We haven’t changed our behavior much, except now we get to hug our grandkids.

    And as always, thank you to you and Marcy and Rayne and others for this blog. It’s been an anchor to reality for me for the last few years.

  38. Bay State Librul says:


    Your Joe Torre tidbit is a hoot.
    One of “Baseball’s Good Guys”

  39. Steve13209 says:

    Sorry for your loss, bmaz. It’s so sad when someone leaves us before their time.

    Work hard to get the vaccination for yourself and others. In NY, it’s a webpage you need to pound over and over. If you are computer literate, try to help others you know. If you don’t think you qualify for getting a vaccine, call your doctor. You may not know of some underlying condition that helps you make the list (BMI works for almost everyone!)

    Be safe!

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Steve, In CT too it’s a webpage you have to pound over and over, as you memorably put it. I’ve had more success (I hope) evangelizing with others about the vaccine than I have getting myself locked into an appointment, but the only solution for that? Don’t quit.

      • P J Evans says:

        I haven’t figured out how to get one in CA – you can find places that should *get* the vaccine, but they never seem to *have* it, and if they don’t have it you can’t even make an appointment.

        • MB says:

          Have you tried this website?

          I’ve had both Modernas – one in January and one in February
          at the site they are calling “LAFD Crenshaw” but which is really a large parking lot next to the Crenshaw Christian Center on 79th St., 1 block east of Normandie. This is a drive-thru site staffed by volunteers of CORE, which is Sean Penn’s charity outfit. There were some issues of vaccine availability between my 1st and 2nd shots in February, but my impression is that’s no longer the case here in L.A. in March. I’ve had many friends and family who have already gotten their shots at Dodger Stadium, at The Forum, at the Pomona Fairplex, even a friend of a friend who got a J & J shot at a CVS in Altadena, so it shouldn’t be that hard to get an appointment this month, I wouldn’t think!

  40. phred says:

    Bmaz, I am so sorry for your loss. You have our (the Mr. saw your post before I did) deepest condolences. My college chums are practically family to me, so I can imagine how much this hurts.

    We have been fortunate to not lose any family or close friends to COVID, but this year has been one of endless worry not just about the threat of the pandemic, but also run of the mill life threatening illnesses that have continued even while our focus has been on COVID. Not to mention having reached an age when beloved elder family members leave us simply because that time has come. It has been stressful to have loved ones in and out of the hospital and rehab even for ailments unrelated to COVID-19 because one never knew if they would come into contact with the virus.

    It has been an enormous relief to us to have our eligible relatives and friends receive their vaccines. We are not yet eligible, but with each passing day it feels like we are closer to the end of this miserable pandemic. We are happy to wait our turn and look forward to the time when we can gather with our friends and family to celebrate the end of our seclusion. I am so very sorry that you have been deprived of that simple joy with your friend Pat by this terrible disease.

    We send your our love and long distance hugs…

  41. Ginevra diBenci says:

    bmaz, thank you. I had tried to get a vaccine appointment but gave up quickly and since then merely whined about the difficulties and procrastinated (my long suit). Until, that is, I read your post. I knew I could not respond to it unless I had made an effort to comply with your exhortation. So I just made that effort, to no avail except to demonstrate to myself that I can do it and have no excuse for not doing it as many times as it takes. Because every thing you said is true, and the part about social responsibility was like a gong struck a pace from my head.
    I am sorry about your friend. And I’m angry that this disease was allowed to rage so out of control for so long that it is still claiming lives like his this far out. You are in my prayers, for what that’s worth to you. And I’m going to get the damn vaccine if it’s the last thing I do.

  42. Chetnolian says:

    Late, but so sorry for your loss. Was the TeePee the Cantina you took me to the last time (it seems so long) I was in Az?

    As yet I have not lost anyone from Covid, but we need to recall that the rest of the world, good and bad, continues. I lost my brother in Canada a month or so ago, but that was good old fashioned cancer.

    I’ve had my first blast of Pfizer jab, which gave me a sore arm for a day. Because of our twelve week delay I await the second in about three weeks.

  43. punaise says:

    Josh Marshall has been publishing selected TPM readers accounts of coming to terms with covid. They are pay-walled but it looks like individual pieces may be sharable. This account is tough (lightly edited):

    In 2019, months before the COVID crisis struck, my elderly mother moved from Florida to the NY exurbs to live with my family…. When the crisis struck last year, we seemed to be doing all the right things: working and attending school from home, wiping down our groceries, wearing masks, etc.
    However, I have teenagers, one of whom has been slowly radicalized by sociopaths on YouTube…At some point, my teen decided that COVID was overblown, masks were stupid, and it would all be over on election day.
    … my teen’s lack of belief brought COVID into our house, and two weeks later, my mother died from it… after nearly a year of keeping her safe, two days before her vaccine appointment, and a week shy of her 89th birthday.
    … in many families, our story will play out over years or even generations. No one deliberately set out to kill their beloved grandmother or grandfather, but nonetheless they’re dead, and many families (thousands of families?) will be dealing with the guilt, shame, and intra-family blame for years to come.

    • timbo says:

      Yeah, that was a hard one to read. I think just about everyone knows a friend or relative that has at least had to contend with their own friends and relatives that are refusing to act like responsible adults in this pandemic. On my mother’s side of the family there’s a couple of Trumpers who have caused extended family events to be cancelled because of their rudeness and cavalier attitude when it comes to everyone else’s health. It is really sad when such folks cause death to those we are close too—it’s not just the virus itself that our society must contend with, but those who were so inconsiderate or pathological that it caused so much illness and death that could have been prevented by basic human decency and common sense.

  44. Stephen Calhoun says:

    You have my deep sympathies.

    Wife and me are halfway through the Pfizer pair. After I got my first jab at CVS, two people in their late forties got jabbed right after me, both confessing they lied about their age. Luckily for them and the rest of us, the needleman jabbed them both.

    Fortunately, there have been no losses among my immediate friends and family, yet many losses two degrees out in the so-called social network. Several have reported getting reinfected, and reports of long covid among a few whose hospital tests were false negatives. Covid is jaw-droppingly nasty.

    The USA is closing in on 10% of the population having come down with covid. I feel fortunate to live in a blue Cleveland suburb where most everybody is toeing the public health line. Yet, our zip code’s weekly numbers remain terrible!

    Get the shot and stay home. We’re close to seeing the distant light peak through.

  45. What Constitution? says:

    Very sorry to hear about your friend, bmaz. Haven’t experienced such a close COVID loss here (knock on wood), though I did have a fascinating run-in with two 30ish yuppie yokels in a narrow Home Depot aisle, chatting away by the extension cord section with their masks down around their necks and, when I politely asked if they could put on their masks, they stopped, looked right at me and said “no”. I asked why they refused to do that with all these other people around, and the response, I kid you not, was — and I quote — “Because America”. I suppose it could be they’re both dead now, that wouldn’t bother me as much as losing a real American would though it would still be a shame.

    Spouse and I both have received both Moderna shots, easy peasy. Got to stand in line in the rain at a Disneyland parking lot (the joke was “the vaccination is free, but parking costs $30”).

  46. bmaz says:

    For all who have offered condolences and well wishes to me, thank you. I’ll admit I wrote this a bit out of an attempt at catharsis from the loss of a long time and great friend, but it’s not about me or him. Not that old of a man, still years away from Medicare, no co-morbidities, excellent health, fantastic health insurance and in hands down one of the two best hospitals in Arizona. If you had to be in a hospital, you should be so lucky to be in one this fine with doctors as accomplished as his were. Everything, and I mean everything, you could possibly have, including his own private money. And, boom, he is dead.

    The virus just does not care. The rest was background to try to get that point across.

    • punaise says:

      It. does. not. care.

      My buddy wrote a song fairly early in the pandemic; we’ve been playing it ever since being able to safely/distantly gather again.

      Dodging It

      So jumping to the heart of the matter,
      I gotta tell ya, the virus
      is gonna kill me

      or I’ll be spending,
      spending the rest of my life,
      dodging it.

      It’s less about fear
      Than a desire to see:
      how we behave with each other
      in the face of such idiocy and evil,

      gilded in grievance,
      as the refrigerated trucks rumble
      and the empire quickly crumbles.

      It’s not gonna be pretty—
      I can’t say if I’m a player,
      or merely a witness,
      but the virus
      is gonna kill me

      or I’ll be spending,
      spending the rest of my life,
      dodging it.

  47. Wm. Boyce says:

    Condolences bmaz, to you and your friend’s families.
    Just heard the other night that an acquaintance who was a fellow trumpet player died after a weeks-long battle with the virus in hospital. The thought of a disease that takes your breath away, literally, is truly frightening.

    Got my first Pfizer shot and can’t wait for the second in about a week.

  48. Alan Charbonneau says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend.
    I get shot #2 this Saturday. Walmart came through in Austin, whereas the govt database filled up within seconds.
    It’s sad that the statistics are so horrific that they are numbing. I recall that when I was 13-15 years old (1967-69) the losses in Vietnam were a driving force to end the war. We had national nightmares when 300 soldiers died each week, but now the 7-day moving average for DAILY deaths in California alone is 227. Multiply by 7 = 1,589 deaths per week. Again, that’s just in California. And the rate has come well down in recent weeks.

  49. Cali Flower says:

    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

    – Christina Rossetti, ‘Remember’

    Thank you, Bmaz, for your kind and important words.

  50. P J Evans says:

    OT good news: Haaland has been confirmed. 4 Rs voted yes: Graham, Collins, Murkowski, and Sullivan.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Graham did?!? I wonder what his play is here. Or did he just have a drink and come back to his senses, like after the riot?

  51. Zinsky says:

    My deepest condolences to you for the loss of your friend. I have cried more in the past year than I have in the previous fifty years, because of this brutal disease. Friends, relatives and neighbors – gone. In twelve months. It is hard not to wonder why you survive when your friends don’t. Honor their memory by spreading love. I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine last Friday.

  52. pdaly says:

    My condolences to you for the loss of your sister, holding steady.

    re: your request for Yoo Yoo Ma’s 15 minute impromptu recital after his second COVID vaccine, here’s an Instagram link.
    He’s in Pittsfield, MA not far from the famed Tanglewood music venue.
    I couldn’t find a continuous video, but it might exist.
    Click right to see the individual snippets.

    • pdaly says:

      oops. Yo-Yo Ma
      (I think I’ve seen and typed the unrelated name Yoo too many times on this website ;-) )

        • pdaly says:

          If there were ever a musical face off, I assume it would be Yo-Yo on the peaceful cello vs. Yoo clicking castanets in a menacing manner.

        • punaise says:

          I can connect those dots: Yo Yo Ma played all of the Bach cello suites in a brilliant performance a couple of years ago at the Greek Theater on the Cal campus, where, to Berkeley Law’s everlasting shame (and to law student punaisette’s deep regret) John Yoo remains on the faculty.

          It was a great concert as the warm late afternoon turned to twilight fog.

          • posuane says:

            Lucky person you are! Seems so far away now to imaging live music like that!
            The only thing I survive on is the Met daily free stream.

  53. Mipiti3 says:

    Sorry for your loss, Bmaz. Had my own tough loss: my Dad at 98, a Covid statistic in June. I hadn’t seen him in his care place since Feb. as I was too scared to cross the border from March onward to a state with a then-high infection rate. But for some reason, one noontime on a beautiful Sunday in June, I decided I really needed/wanted to go see him, just like that, out of the blue. And I was tired of getting few and 2nd or 3rd hand reports about him from the nasty family member in charge of his affairs, so I jumped in the car to go see him, even though I knew the roundtrip would bring me back well past midnight. I was shocked to see him. He looked like a corpse, such a change from Feb. He couldn’t focus and I doubt he could hear me. I was glad to see him, but knew things were not good, thinking he maybe had a few more days… I skedaddled out of there, anxious to put me in the shower and my clothes in the wash. Little did I know that he would pass away just two hours after I got home, which I learned from a message in the morning… Amazing to think what spurred me suddenly to decide I had to go see him. Glad I did.

    This is so scary- especially with the nasty variants around too. We can only hope the scientists can tweak the vaccines and get out targeted boosters to protect us further. My administration wants us all back to work in full in just a few weeks- going against science and way before any of us get second doses, let alone first ones or wait for them to take hold. So cruel to put our health at such a low priority. Thank goodness the Biden administration believes in science and is pushing out the vaccines. YES! Go get your shots! Take care, everyone. It’s still gonna be a while before we’re out of the woods.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      mipiti, I am sorry about your dad. I lost mine in May. He was a very healthy 89, looking forward to his 90th birthday. He got sick a thousand miles from where any of us (me, my sisters, my step-sister) live, and none of us could get there in time. He was gone in three days. We still feel stunned, cheated and angry. It is hard to grieve under conditions like this. I pray for you and your family to recover the good memories.

      • Mipiti3 says:

        Thanks for your kind thoughts, Ginevra, and I offer my condolences to you too. I was lucky I was allowed in to see him at the time, but had no inkling he was in such dreadful shape, so it was really lucky I had that sudden feeling I had to go and see him, really just out of the blue, not knowing those were his last hours after all. Many elderly do not get the terrible outward signs of Covid, but it ravages them inside and makes them listless and not themselves. That’s what happened to him. A tough way to go and very little time to access the person who is so sick. All we can do is think back on the good, and in this case, long life the person had and treasure those thoughts. Take care!

  54. LeeNLP says:

    So sorry for your loss, Bmaz. My family has also felt the effects of Covid, including an older brother who died just last month. My oldest sister, in her 80s, also caught it along with her two daughters, one of which is looking to be a long-hauler.

    I was just talking with another brother last night. I reminded him of the importance of wearing a mask out in public, and he announced he had no intention to. When I asked why, he said since everyone else was making up, he had no need to. When I suggested “uh … how about civic duty?” he just smirked. He’s the type who, on finding $1000 in an envelop in the street (true story), immediately made plans on how to spend it; it never occurred to him to try to find the owner. He also didn’t grieve the loss of our brother one bit- never liked him; glad he’s gone.

    And yes, he voted for Trump. It’s troubling and hard to understand how some people spend their lives in a complete moral vacuum.

  55. Rugger9 says:

    My belated condolences, bmaz.

    Then I read this in Digby, which makes me irate. It seems that the politicization of CDC was rather thorough and frankly means Giroir and Birx and Azar all need to roast along with the jamokes who placed these into the CDC website. It isn’t just a DJT thing, although he and Jarvanka took it to extremes. Recall how W used to talk about “catapulting the propaganda” and Darth Cheney about creating alternate realities. Disinformation is standard GOP practice, like taking credit for the relief bill they all voted against.

  56. PeterS says:

    The tiny country of which I am a resident received the first thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine three or four weeks ago. Initially it was rightly offered to frontline workers and the over 65s, but now with more doses having arrived the vaccine is available to all adults. So I got my first shot this morning, yay! No website, no appointments, no queues.

    I am an unofficial vaccine ambassador here because there’s a lot of vaccine hesitancy, and that was before the blood clot stories. Having virtually no covid cases at the moment is great but gives people an excuse to pass up a chance to get protected.

  57. Eureka says:

    Do you all know about They ping sites for available appointments, an advantage over knowing which sites are simply providers. Some sites block them: said sites (and the ones they monitor) are listed so you know the scope of your search, if you have to surveil other sites separately.

    They also give the length of time since they’ve identified available appointments (X seconds/minutes/hours ago) and link to each provider. They give a long list of results, it’s worth a scroll since they are ranked by (at least) hybridized recency-of-availability and distance.

    ETA: and back to the sportsball: Ginevra — that does _not_ look like Russell Wilson! (Or are you not attending to free agency)

    • Dogfoster says:

      Much appreciated your link, was able to get my two vaccination appointments finally made. The site is easy to use.

      To everyone, I offer my condolences. It has been a year of utmost sorrow and horror to me. The emptywheel family has been so supportive and I am very appreciative.

  58. Molly Pitcher says:

    Belated but sincere sympathies bmaz. You sound like you have an important roll to play it your friend’s son’s future. That will help with the loss. Finding a purpose makes loss more bearable.

    I get my second Moderna shot on the 18th. I hope that it is as easy as the first one was, but I have heard the second can make itself more annoying.

    You are in my thoughts.

  59. timbo says:

    Condolences to you, bmaz, and to your friend’s family and other friends as well. May we all get the vaccine soon. And it is great to hear you’ve gotten yours!

    I’ve got my first shot 3.5 weeks ago through smart luck, and am now about to venture out to get my booster tomorrow. Just having the first shot has been an incredible morale booster. And also a mark of extreme privilege that I was not anticipating until the day I was in a local CVS and they had some extra shots that would have to be thrown away in a few minutes if I didn’t grab the chance. More importantly though, it has now been over two weeks since my mother got her second shot. And my brother just got his second one five days ago.

    Unfortunately, it is a cousin, who is not yet 40, that looks like they may be a long-hauler trying to recover from her encounter from the virus. It’s been really hard on her two young kids, her husband, and, of course herself, in that she is no longer able to be a strong mom during the pandemic. An advocate of putting the kids back in school until she contracted the virus, she’s now done a 180 (or possible a 540?) on this issue, now strenuously resisting having her kids return to classes while the state of California and her local district are working hard to make that return happen. I and my immediates support her in the fight to keep the kids away from becoming the vectors that “herd immunity!” advocates crave.

    Your tail reminds us all of all the loved ones near and far that could be gone so quickly, that we may still lose suddenly, if we let our guard down even a little. What is frustrating for all is that it is so far beyond the control of any individual, relying on so much to go right. Thank heavens we now have an administration in Washington that takes this deadly virus so serious and is doing a good job of getting the vaccines produced and distributed around the country. May we all live to see further miracles. And if we don’t make it, may we be remembered for that which made us worthy of praise, respect, and love, that whatever efforts we made to make the world a better place for everyone was not lost in vain. Such is the duty of those who survive those who gave so much and are now no more more than memories of the heart.

  60. Eureka says:

    There’s some sketchy Krakenesque (claims of a filing that reporters can’t find actually filed) plot afoot to suggestively smear the Texans’ QB (just search/see his name on twitter).

    ETA: Just realized after sharing a St. Pat’s greeting that perhaps bmaz’ departed friend is a namesake. So here’s to further remembrance of all of our Pats.

  61. tinao says:

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss bmaz Good friends are a big chunk of who we are, so his son is lucky to have you there. We will all be back together soon enough.
    As to shots, I got both of mine and am back to work. I had a sore arm from the first Moderna and not much from the second. The old man got his, but we are both still wearing masks and staying away from folks. I am pissed at the states for dropping mask precautions, stupid self centered behavior. Although, I heard there may be a federal mandate put in place. Here’s hoping that goes through there has been enough death.

  62. e.a.f. says:

    Bmaz, very sorry your friend died. Loosing friends is gut wrenching. Friends are the “family” we chose.

    In our province my age bracket should be able to get our vaccine shot within the next two weeks. Don’t care what people say about some of the vaccines. I’m getting a shot. It will not only save my life, but those of others. If I don’t get infected, I can’t pass it on to others.

    Until I get my shot I’ll be wearing my mask and yes some times I wear two. Carry hand sanitizer at all times and use it. Still practice all the protocols and will continue to do so. Still don’t go recreational shopping and don’t dine out, etc. Its not just that we ourselves can become ill but we could pass it on to some one else and that would be horrible, to know you caused the illness or death of another. Some of us are very lucky in that no one we know has died from the disease.

    Getting your vaccine shot is a part of your social responsibility.

    Again, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend.

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