In For The Long Haul?

I certainly hope not.

I did all the right stuff for 2-1/2 years. I stayed home. I wore a mask. I cleansed and sanitized my hands so often they cracked and bled. I even somehow managed to evade COVID when my husband, with whom I shared a bed right up til his diagnosis day, succumbed back in June.

Testing my little guy proved a bridge too far.

We returned from the Twin Cities late August having delivered Child #1 to The U. To say that my immune system and every other element involving my body, heart, and soul had been taxed and tested to its limit is underselling the emotional wringer that dropping your firstborn at college is. I was trashed. I was vulnerable. Little did we know upon our homecoming that our younger son had been exposed–of course, he didn’t know he’d been exposed until he came home from school, utter garbage on Thursday that week and by then, well, this is why COVID is still a thing. He tested positive Friday morning. The boy lit up that test strip like a Christmas tree! By Sunday evening I was achy and my throat began to tickle.

With the hubris of well, the hubris of the comically uninformed and willfully ignorant, I became convinced I would be impervious to COVID. I hadn’t endured even the faintest hint of a sniffle since my husband’s accident and I wore that badge like it had been an Olympic medal hung around my neck. Simply put, I (not really but a little) believed I was just never, ever, ever going to be sick again. I figured the universe was like, “Girl, you’ve been through a real lot the last couple years and you’ve got a metric ton to manage as a result of that never-ending shitstorm, so we’re just gonna give you a pass on the common cold, the flu, and oooooooooobviously you’re never gonna get COVID. You’re gonna be one of those people who participate in some ‘how’d they never get it?’ study” fifteen years from now.

I kinda actually believed it. Well, I wanted to believe it anyway.

Twenty-one days past my positive test result and twelve past my negative, I remain bone weary. A slight dry cough rears its ugly head a few times a day, but that, with the help of an industrial size bag of cough drops is manageable. It’s the tired that’s killing me. I. Am. So. Tired. And I miss my grey matter firing on all cylinders. The brain fog is real and I think a person can’t really understand what that means until it’s experienced. You wouldn’t believe me, but then you would.

I don’t *think* I’m a long-hauler, but my bounce-back trajectory is a long, minimally arcing up line, not the spike I’d expected and (damn you, hubris) assumed would be my fate.

On the bright side? I can stay awake all day long now! I went to yoga class, and met my intention to finish class. Twice! I ran two meetings where I was the one in the front of the room and probably provided clear information and correct answers, buffered by my ace comedic asides. Probably.

I didn’t talk much about getting got. I didn’t bring anything new to the discussion really, but I’ll say this—to those of you still holding tight to your anti-vaccine/COVID is a hoax stance, please consider science. I was knocked out by my vaccines and booster, for which I felt extremely grateful (having access to the vaccine, not the ague, though compared to death is a TOTAL WIN). I don’t know if this necessarily follows, but I think if I’d contracted COVID prior to the vaccines, I’d have been in a real bad way.

If I had to cave to the corona, my timing was good and my timing in this world sucks about 98% of the time, y’all. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket? Maybe I should be quietly thankful I reached retirement age in otherwise good shape and good health.

I can retire, it’s official. I can’t retire for reals because I like to do things like eat and pay my mortgage, but it’s pretty sweet knowing that my career days are numbered. It makes the days I think about work-crying less tearful. It makes the frustrations less frustrating. It makes quarantining away from work five days a less devastating hole from which to claw my way out. It’s the light at the end of that COVID recovery slope.

It’s the 21st night of September and if you don’t immediately bust out singing Earth Wind and Fire’s September when you hear those words, are we even friends??

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2 thoughts on “In For The Long Haul?

  1. My wife and I are both still, to our surprise, COVID virgins. I mean, we’re vaxxed, boosted, and re-boosted (as of last week), and we wear our masks in grocery stores and the like, but it’s not like we haven’t been out to dinners and happy hours — in New York and Los Angeles and elsewhere. We took several trips this year — back to the West Coast, then down south for a wedding — and each time we were absolutely sure we must’ve gotten COVID…

    Nope. A few weeks ago, my wife went to a Yankee game, after which they went for drinks at a crowded sports bar across the street. Once again, she was sure she contracted COVID.

    No again.

    I wouldn’t say I feel “invincible,” more like I’m waiting for the hammer to drop. Even continuing to take sensible precautions, it seems inevitable one or more likely both of us will get it. But when? Now it’s become much more about: How long can we continue to outrun this thing…? And that’s fatiguing in its own way.

    Anyway, I wish you a full recovery, Wendy. And congrats on reaching retirement eligibility. Sometimes just knowing that — even if you aren’t yet ready to cash out — can make life a little more bearable.

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  2. I know I’ll get it eventually. There’s a certain dread that hangs over you, like Sean said, waiting for the hammer to drop. Glad you weren’t deathly ill, and I hope you feel better every day. I’ve heard it takes a while to get back to normal, but now you have the retirement light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

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