I woke up this morning with no great expectations of what my day would hold. I had no plans, no appointments and was not unhappy about what many would consider a boring day ahead.
My day started like any other.
Pain, pain meds, try and get out of bed, try again and again. Eventually grab my crutches and slowly start my daily chronic illness management routine.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of my pain and my morning routine in this blog post, as this story is all about an ordinary day becoming just a little extraordinary.
First, I need to wind back 48 hours to a previous morning. I was eating my cereal, and watching news breakfast TV on ABC, while sitting in my comfy chair in the lounge room.
COVID Vaccine Website launch
I was happily munching away on my cereal, one eye and both ears on the breakfast TV news show, and one eye on my phone reading my FB support forum posts. My forum is global so there is always a lot to catchup with in the mornings over breakfast. I like to think of it as a “working” meal.
My forum focus was suddenly interrupted though. The news presenter began talking about COVID-19 vaccines becoming available for those with chronic illness.
Our Australian Government was launching a website which allowed you to check your eligibility and then find medical centres, or respiratory clinics in your area, to make a booking to get an AstraZeneca vaccine.
This was exciting news.
My first thought was to maybe wait a week or so before booking, as there would likely be a rush of phone calls, or the website might crash.
Of course while my first thought was a sensible one, I don’t tend to wait if I can take action, so I quickly found the website. It opened straight away and I was able to complete the short questionnaire to check if I was eligible for the chronic illness vaccine rollout. I was then led to a list of clinics in my area with contact details to make a booking.
So far so good. The first clinic on the list was five minutes from home so I rang them.
A lovely receptionist answered immediately, asked me a few relevant questions and booked both my husband and I into a vaccine clinic session for next week. Perfect! I couldn’t believe how smooth and easy the process was.
I was both relieved and excited at the prospect of getting my first vaccine, plus having some peace of mind.
Fast Forward 24 hours
The next morning I was back to my normal routine thinking no more about my vaccine booking.
The breakfast news was again on TV and the headlines were bombarded with stories about the COVID-19 vaccine booking website launch. None of them were good stories.
I felt like I’d woken to a parallel universe. How could my experience be so different from supposedly a vast majority of others?
I have no idea why but I decided a different point of view needed to be shared. I am not normally someone who sends radical emails requesting change. Yes I’m a patient advocate but I’m comfortable with my blog, podcast, online forums and a bit of social media.
On this day I just felt I needed to send an email to the breakfast news show, letting them know how positive my booking experience had been.
With not too much thought I quickly typed the following email to the TV hosts and clicked send…
“Hi Lisa & Michael,
We often hear the bad experiences when initiatives are rolled out. I’m chronically ill so eligible for stage 1b. I used the Government website yesterday morning. I found a medical centre on the list close to home (not my usual medical practice as they are not receiving the vaccines this round). I rang the listed clinic, got through straight away, spoke to a helpful, bright receptionist and my husband and I are booked in for our AstraZeneca vaccine next week.
Very excited and couldn’t be happier with the process
The show was nearly finished when I sent the email so I had no expectations of it being read on air and I wasn’t even sure if it would be read at all.
I had other commitments to think about, so I pushed the morning events aside and started to get on with my day.
Back to The Present Day
Another day and I was back in my lounge room first thing in the morning, watching breakfast TV and……well you know the routine as well as me by now.
I’d had a really bad night and had been awake since 3am, so by 9am I desperately needed to lie down to take the pressure of my broken bones.
I don’t mind enforced rest periods as I can lie down and write, check emails and administer my forum, all on my phone.
My phone pinged and the notifications indicated a new email.
It was not an email I was expecting. It was however an email waiting to change my day from an ordinary day to a very surreal day.
“Good morning Sam,
I got your contact details from the ABC’s News Breakfast team. I’m wondering if you’d be happy to do a very quick two minute radio interview (pre-recorded) talking to me about how you’re looking forward to getting the vaccine next week and how important it is for you as a person with a chronic illness?
It’d be for the ABC’s The World Today program.
Kind regards, ABC “
Oh my goodness. When I sent my email yesterday to the breakfast show, I never anticipated they would forward it to a National radio program. I never thought I would be asked to be interviewed.
It was all so surreal.
I thought about what I should do for about 10 minutes. I was so tired from lack of sleep and I wasn’t sure I wanted to discuss my chronic illness issues with such a wide national audience.
I then thought about why I blog, why I write, why I administer online support forums.
I do it to encourage others walking in similar shoes to mine. I do it because I want to help people. I do it so this disabled and decrepit body has a purpose.
Once I’d reminded myself of my motives, the response was easy. Yes I would be more than happy to be interviewed.
So Without Further Ado….
Within 30 minutes I found myself answering the phone to one of Australia’s well known journalists. She was excellent and a very natural chat unfolded, despite no time for me to prepare.
So without further ado here is the interview. My 2 minutes of fame. The event which turned my very ordinary day into a very extraordinary one!
Thanks for listening. I truly hope we will all soon be vaccinated and this COVID-19 pandemic will be a chapter in our history books.
Stay safe and take care
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you prefer an audible blog post, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story
Australian Aspire Awards 2020 Nominee – Awarded Medal of Recognition for Individual Best Achievement Community Advocacy.
Thank you to Arthritis Queensland for the nomination!