Updated: Apr 6
When Bon moved to Redmond from Washington two years ago, she knew she needed some assistance in getting to know the area and what support was available. She saw a sign for Thrive at the Redmond Library, and started meeting with Sarah once/week to ask questions about housing, medical care, and where to go to connect with others.
Over time she connected with Neighbor Impact for support repairing her home, she received the Housing Choice Voucher through Housing Works for her rent, and was just starting to connect with the Redmond Senior Center when the pandemic hit.
A mature woman, who happens to also be legally blind and have significant hearing impairment, described the pandemic as "when everything went to hell in a hand basket." In December 2019, Bon had been diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery that resulted in a lengthy recovery time at home. Just as she was coming to the tail end of her recovery from surgery, the pandemic shut down services and required that everyone stay home for the foreseeable future.
Prior to surgery, Bon was an active person, liked being outside and in nature, and was generally an outgoing and self-sufficient person. The pandemic created a whole new set of challenges though, exacerbated by her hearing and sight limitations and recent surgery. Going out to the grocery store became a frustrating and insurmountable task: with everyone wearing masks, she didn't know what anyone was saying (she relies on lip-reading to complement her hearing impairment), new signs and processes in stores were confusing and overwhelming, and her normal transportation option, Uber, had become a health risk.
So like most of us, she stayed home. She called in her grocery orders and had them delivered. Her world became smaller and she became more isolated than she ever had been. It was a struggle. Finally, after over a year living with the fear of not only contracting Covid-19 but the fear of navigating the complicated life of pandemic living, you can believe her excitement when a friend of hers called her with information about the vaccine.
Her friend let her know that she had just called and gotten an appointment, and that Bon should call right away. Normally a bit nervous about phone trees because of her hearing impairment, she took a leap and called. She was able to get through and was able to schedule a vaccine appointment for the same day as her friend. Bon was “over the moon”.
Today Bon is waiting for her second vaccination and then she’s “going to go out that door and start my world, and keep on trucking.”
Bon got her vaccination at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, which she said was very organized and efficient. She was most pleased that she didn’t have to explain herself to anyone: information about what to do and where to go was provided in multiple ways for those with varying abilities and levels of understanding. Bon appreciated that they used hand signals, were kind, and knew what they were doing. When she left she said everyone had big smiles, because they were on their way to getting better.
As far as her relief at getting the vaccine, Bon says,
“That’s just one less barrier for me...it kind of opened up my world and gave me a chance. I can go out, I want to live again. I want to be a part of the world and not just hide.”