After two years of successfully avoiding it, I finally got Covid. With the lifting of mask mandates and the push to return to normal, it feels absurd, almost comically so. Truth be told, I suspect I caught it the one time we went out for dinner two weeks ago and was already sick on pledge Sunday. I felt tired and achey for a week, but didn’t imagine that my back hurting meant I had Covid after two years of not having Covid.
So we flew to my sister’s house in MN for the Christmas visit, turned birthday visit, turned end of March visit. And then I got truly sick. What I learned from the nurse screening call is that “mild” Covid is anything before your skin turns gray or you collapse from respiratory distress. It’s not mild in the spice-free-salsa sense, more mild in the just-not-dying sense.
What was supposed to be a weekend visit turned into a week in which all five members of my sister’s family got sick (despite all being vaccinated, minus the baby) and childcare became a game of “least sick adult.” I couldn’t go to our Covid planning meeting last week because I had Covid, which added to the sense of miserable comedic absurdity.
I finally flew home Saturday night, having crossed both the five-days-since-onset-of-symptoms and no-fever-for-24hrs thresholds. I wore an N95 mask, sanitized regularly, and ate cough drops incessantly to prevent even the whisper of a cough inside my mask. All while the woman next to me wore her ill-fitting t-shirt mask as a neck warmer the whole trip, flight attendant reminders be damned. I did my best.
And the reality is that I’m still sick, even this week. Getting sick meant I got to spend more time with my family – I, for instance, learned that my 1.5-year-old nephew likes to take his scooter for late night joy rides up and down the dark hallway when everyone’s sleeping – and it was also a coughing, delirious mess. This is life.
I hope that you find ways to hold the silly together with the absurd, always, but especially when life is a mess. I hope you do what you can and then let the rest go. Hurrying is not part of healing – something I’m still reminding myself.