Thirteen days into December, despite being fully vaccinated and “boosted,” I was diagnosed with COVID-19. I tested when I was alerted that someone in my inner circle became sick and was shocked to learn that the insidious virus was hanging out in my body. I immediately contacted the few people I was in the company of in the suspect time frame. It’s an understatement to say it was challenging to wrap my head around this.
Once having COVID became public knowledge, a couple of reactions left me feeling like an irresponsible human snatching joy from our planet. The “Oh, No, I hope you didn’t get me sick; I have a busy calendar,” and the unsaid yet implied, “How Could You?” were really upsetting. As the “Oh No” chain grew, I fell apart.
Some awareness during that first “I have COVID” week:
1. I haven’t always done my due diligence by asking everyone I’m with if they’re vaccinated or if they’ve been exposed to the disease.
2. A few times, I strayed outside the limits of my home with multiple masks left in my car.
3. Like almost everyone I know, I’ve been with friends and family in restaurants or coffee shops, not knowing who around me could—knowingly or unknowingly—be infected. (I was basically unsymptomatic and wouldn’t have known I was sick unless someone I care about was infected.)
I’m fine now (fine being relative, of course!), and I’m fortunate to be healthy with no pre-existing physical vulnerability issues. (I am, however, vulnerable to hurt or sorrow.)
Ironically, the person I most likely contracted it from is the most conscientious mask-wearer I know. And, I certainly didn’t think anything like, “how dare that person give me COVID!”
I isolated as mandated, of course, which offered an uncharacteristically slow, last few weeks of the year mindset, and had plenty of time to revisit what matters most: other humans. (I’m always aware of that, but there are times in life’s craziness that I haven’t always prioritized that.) And, I was blessed with gems like the notes and phone calls I received from people who love me and were just “checking in,” and by my dear friend, Monica, driving forty minutes, each way, to bring soup, candy canes, and “church-lady made” pierogies to my front door.
My takeaways from this experience include:
• if you’re diagnosed with coronavirus, notify those you’ve physically been with during the required period
• let anyone you’ve spent time with recently know if you’ve been in contact with someone who’s sick
• don’t share other people’s medical conditions (of any kind) without consent
• don’t assume that because someone has the virus, s/he was irresponsible
• if you’re carrying guilt about inadvertently exposing someone recognize that you did not create COVID-19
• be kind to yourself—we all deserve that regardless of our health
Part two tomorrow morning!