Taking precautions until the pandemic truly ends

As a writer, I’ve learned to strive for universals truths; writing stories readers can relate to. This time, I’m writing about a subject I’m hoping doesn’t hit a universal sweet spot with my readers: getting COVID.

The last bit of normalcy my husband and I recall before the pandemic was attending our niece Phoebe’s wedding on March 14, 2020. She and her fiancé Jacob chose March 14th because they originally met on that date, and because it celebrates “Pi Day.” You know, as in, “3.14” plus a million decimal places. We feasted on pies that night instead of wedding cake. Family came in from all around. We had a wonderful evening celebrating the lucky and fun-loving couple. There were rumblings about an unknown virus on the loose from China, but we set aside concerns that evening. No infected bat worries for us. Blissful ignorance reigned.

Within days life changed forever. Blissful ignorance turned to abject fear. Businesses slammed shut, including my husband’s optometric office. We planned for Mike to be back at work in a few weeks (oh, the optimism,) but instead, his office, like most other businesses, was closed for three months. When he finally got back to work, the restrictions in place to keep himself and his patients safe were cumbersome, but necessary.

Never known for my superior housecleaning skills, I sanitized at home until you could eat off my floors. Ok, that’s a stretch, but I did do constant battle with Lysol wipes (when I could find them) to banish any rogue spike proteins that tried to sneak in with groceries.

It was unsettling to hear the reports of thousands of families nationwide losing loved ones, and others who were suffering with long-COVID symptoms. Our ages put us in a high-risk category. When Mike and I got our first vaccinations in January of 2021, we were overwhelmed with emotion, thinking we were finally on our way to protection from the virus.

We embraced the mask evolution, as guidance changed through variants and surges. We didn’t need masks, then we did. Started with fabric masks, then moved on to surgical masks, and finally got our hands on some of those hard-to-get KN95’s. We’ve continued to mask up in public when most have thrown caution to the wind.

Though we have taken extreme precautions the last two years, we still got COVID. We have no idea where or how we got it.

Two years and two months in, Mike woke up on May 12 feeling out of sorts. He was running a fever and felt congested. He hoped it was seasonal allergies. I suggested he home-test for COVID-19. Positive. I still felt fine. Until a day and a half later when my symptoms came on fast and furious. We’ve both received monoclonal antibody infusions now, meant to boost our immune systems and shorten the course of the virus. Mike is doing better. I’m making progress, but it’s been rough. We are grateful that our vaccinations and first booster shots likely kept us from serious illness or hospitalization, but don’t be fooled into a false sense of security right now; even a “moderate” case of COVID-19 is very unpleasant.

It’s not over ‘til it’s over, and it’s not over yet. Please think twice before going maskless in public. If you’re not vaccinated, please consider it. Take it from this granny, you don’t want COVID. One day this will all be a story to tell, but right now we’re still living it. Remember TV’s Sergeant Esterhaus from “Hill Street Blues” years ago? I’m claiming his motto until the pandemic is over: “Let’s be careful out there!”