COTTAGE GROVE – I need to make more masks for my husband, but I really don’t want to. 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy making masks. I love sewing, and one of my favorite things is digging into my fabric scraps and finding fun patterns to use. 

I’m reluctant to make more masks because it means acknowledging an unfortunate truth: we’re not yet done masking and social distancing.

I remember back in March when we first shut down thinking that this would only be for a short time. We’d do our part and make sacrifices so that the spread of COVID-19 would be stopped. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. While the sacrifices of those in our community have made an enormous impact – Oregon has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the country – they have lasted a lot longer than I had hoped. Hence the reason I need to make a second round of masks.

In addition to the disappointment I feel about this, however, I’m also filled with a huge amount of gratitude for this community. You see, when I’m not sewing masks, I work as an emergency medicine physician. I’ve spent the better part of this past year witnessing the impact of COVID-19 on my patients. I’m so thankful every time I see a masked face at the grocery store, because I know that person is making my job easier.

Dr. Ann Cooley

I received my first COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 23 and my second on Jan. 13. It’s hard to describe the sense of relief and excitement I felt that day. It was as if, for the first time since the pandemic began, I could see the end. I also felt protected, and with that came a renewed energy to keep working as hard as I can to support the people of this community until they can get vaccinated as well.

I know that some people reading this can’t wait to get vaccinated, and others have significant reservations. I can tell you that I have absolutely no regrets about getting vaccinated, and I have recommended it to everyone I love. I eagerly await the day when anyone who wants to get vaccinated can because I know that will mean a return to eating in restaurants, listening to live music and gathering together. 

Until that day, I’m off to make more masks.

Dr. Ann Cooley is an emergency medicine physician at PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center.