Goodbye 2021, Welcome 2022!

by Elpidio Estioko

The year 2021 was exactly right for me and my family, except for one isolated case which served as a warning for me to be careful and later this new year.

On Dec. 25, I had a stomach problem which cause me discomfort and weak for a while. We were about to leave for a family Christmas party at my niece’s house when I had to delay the trip so I can take a rest.

My children immediately checked my blood pressure, blood sugar and temperature but everything was normal. After an hour or so, the pain disappeared and I felt better so I was able to attend the party.

I thought to myself but this must be a reminder for me and everyone to stay alert and careful when it comes to even the smallest body discomfort especially at a senior age.

After two days, the pain came back and as usual, my children checked my vitals which, again, came out to be normal. After an hour, I again felt better.

The situation bothered me so much that my wife Delia suggested that I immediately call my doctor for an urgent appointment. What I thought was a regular medical consultation became a scary one when my doctor read my ECG results.

It was abnormal. My heartbeat was irregular which may cause a blood clot or a heart attack any time. My doctor was so alarmed that he had to send me to the emergency room. He said, “It’s better to be safe than to be sorry!”

As soon as I arrived at the emergency hospital, the staff immediately took care of me as they were called ahead by my doctor. They conducted another ECG, but this time, the results were normal. Then, they took a blood test which also turned out to be normal. A chest x-ray was done too which, again, resulted to normal.

After three hours of laboratory works, Thank God everything was normal and I was sent on my way home.

God is good! I was safe, as well as my wife and family. We retained our jobs during the pandemic. We ate three meals a day. In short, the year 2021 was beneficial to us.

But before we approached the new year, 2021’s Christmas season kept everyone busy that they might’ve not seen the Omicron variant of COVID-19 coming. We are confused that both President Joe Biden and Vice president Kamala Harris said that nobody saw Omicron coming!

“We didn’t see Delta coming. I think most scientists did not – upon whose advice and direction we have relied – didn’t see Delta coming,” Harris told the Los Angeles Times in a year-end interview. “We didn’t see Omicron coming. And that is the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

We probably didn’t see the new variant coming for the following reasons. The country was busy preparing for the holiday season while the GOP were busy defending former President Donald Trump’s idea that he won the presidency and discrediting the vaccines. Moreover, the Democrats were busy defending Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and the healthcare industry were busy combating the Delta variant.

In a press conference last month, Biden said he didn’t anticipate the sudden surge of Omicron variant cases. When reporters pressed him about his administration’s slow response to the nationwide testing shortage, he said “It all started suddenly.”

The president unveiled the new federal plans, which is currently still in the works, to fight a tidal wave of Omicron cases.

A key plank of Biden’s latest proposed plan is to mail 500 million at-home rapid tests to people who request them online.

“We will distribute these tests to Americans for free,” the president said. “We will have websites where you can get them delivered to your home.”

Biden also said that Washington will open federally run COVID-19 testing sites beginning this week in New York City – and will expand related sites to other cities in need of more capacity.

“We’re preparing hospitals for what is coming. I have directed the Pentagon to mobilize an additional 1,000 troops to be deployed to help staff local hospitals and expand capacity,” he said. “This is on top of 300 federal medical personnel that are now on the ground having deployed since we’ve learned about Omicron.”

In January 2021, Biden has resolved to address the pandemic as his priority within his first 100 days in office. He outlined his national plan to combat the pandemic as if saying that it is his New Year’s resolution to really defeat the virus, among others.

As to us, we also have our resolutions to make as we welcome the New Year. While most New Year’s resolutions fail, despite this, we do it anyway!

To me, the most important resolution, should be to keep the family together. If your family is one, united, and well-connected – maintain it by all means! If there is a lot of disconnections, dysfunctions, and misunderstandings – pick up the pieces and put them together.

So, with that, let us make and nourish this year’s resolution to greater heights. Make the family the center of our heart, the center of our life, the center of our existence. In fact, make it the center of everything we do in life without any mental reservation!

With or without a New Year’s resolution, we can do many good things in our life. If we can set our New Year’s goals and can commit to these resolutions, our life will even be more meaningful. It will have direction with a goal that we can aim for and attain!

We can start saying goodbye to year 2021… welcome year 2022 and embrace the New Year with hope and added enthusiasm for a better tomorrow!

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author:

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