A few thoughts on Surviving COVID-19

I promised myself I would write something light and funny this month. But then, I went to town. I hadn’t been for a while. I’d been pretty much holed up at home for a couple of weeks, since a few days before I tested positive for COVID-19.

I am very grateful that my bout with it was somewhat of a nonevent. I started monitoring myself after the onset of what I hoped was a mild case of sniffles. I had no other symptoms. After those few days, though, it came time to fuel up the snow-blower. I couldn’t smell the gasoline. I put my nose right in the container. Nothing. I couldn’t smell anything else, either. Off to get a test I went the next day.

The exam was simple and basically painless, and less than 48 hours later, I was notified that I had tested positive, which in itself is sort of weird. I’ve always thought of “positive” as a reference to something, well — positive. For me, the result was positively negative. Following that came a flurry of phone calls and emails to people I had been in close contact with during the preceding ten days. That list isn’t very long, thank goodness. I’ve been pretty diligent about following the advice of the medical world and science when it comes to staying safe and keeping others safe as well.

None of the people I knew to contact tested positive, which was positively great.

I could say that I have no idea where I contracted COVID, but that wouldn’t be completely true. I have a short list of possible situations in which I might have been exposed. All but two were situations that I chose to be in with people I know. Two were not my choice, result of the behavior of a couple of folks I don’t know. Let’s just say that they were clueless about masks and social distancing. I was very uncomfortable during those encounters, but I was too polite to tell them to back off. I will not be so polite next time.

Two weeks after my test, my sense of smell has returned, though oddly modified. I can smell at what I think of as the top of the scale — stuff like gasoline, mayonnaise, citrus, Ivory soap. Coffee and red wine, not so much, dammit. But, still. Whew!

By all the information I can gather, I have survived the disease nicely. It’s been over three weeks since I noticed those sniffles. And, because I have been cautious and diligent about distancing, wearing a mask and keeping unnecessary exposure to others at a minimum, to the best of my knowledge, I didn’t give it to anyone else. I am grateful. And probably very lucky.

So, having good assurance by the guidelines posted on the Center for Disease Control website (cdc.gov) and a few other sources that I have recovered, I took a cautious trip to town for supplies. It was with a growing sense of anger that I shared store aisles with many folks who don’t seem to give a good goddam about themselves or their fellow passengers on this orb. They don’t seem to care about their neighbors and they don’t seem to care much about the kids in their care, either. Some of them even glanced at me — behind my mask — with a look that said “pshaw.”

What does it take to get people to get it about not getting it? Or giving it.

In reality, I know that the unmasked people care about their friends and families as much as I do. However, the same swirling storm of bullshit misinformation, lies and acrimony that has been accruing in our politics and American culture for the past 20 years — since the Bush-Gore election of Y2K, I believe — obscures any clear path to recovery from the pandemic. And most of our other national problems, as well.

Twenty-eight million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. A large minority of us seems to think COVID is not a personal problem because they believe certain “leaders” and media sources who tell them it’s a plot, or of no real consequence to healthy people. 485,000 — and counting — of their friends, family and neighbors would tell them different, if they weren’t dead of the disease. It will approach 600,000 by spring.

If we could unite to beat COVID, imagine all the other things we might be able to unite to accomplish. Wear your masks! And get your vaccinations.