The COVID Club

Clipboard01Wednesday I woke up with an annoyingly persistent cough, the kind of cough I’d probably had hundreds of times in my 78 years and thought, Shoot, I must be getting a cold.   But that was before the arrival of COVID 19.  As a senior with several medical issues, I tested myself one of the COVID self-test kits President Biden sent (for free, imagine that).  In case you haven’t seen one of these, it looks like a pregnancy test.  I was neither infected with COVID or pregnant.  After 24 hours of worsening symptoms, I tried again and tested solid positive.  Welcome to The COVID Club.  I received a club T-shirt in the mail from Biden and a card from Trump that said, See? I told you it wouldn’t kill you!  DONATE NOW TO STOP THE STEAL!

If you’ve done your research on what to expect when Omicron finds its way into your body, you know that the virus offers a range of symptoms to suit anyone’s taste:  Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of sense of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. For me, Omicron selected the sorest throat I’d ever experienced and a persistent congested cough that made is feel as if my head were on fire.   And for dessert, mind-numbing exhaustion.  Yes, I am aware that two years ago men my age were dying alone in the hospital from Omicron’s cousin, Delta, and I am very grateful to the scientists who developed the vaccine and the national leaders who actually promoted getting vaccinated instead of standing in it’s way.

Using the CDC’s Quarantine and Isolation Calculator (here) I know I have to quarantine until Tuesday, which means my wife and I are  occupying catmaskseparate spaces and masked up when we are in the vicinity of each other.   I have also been careful to mask when my cat, Tyson, comes around.   Yes cats can be infected by coronavirus but they seem to tolerate it better than we do, exhibiting only mild symptoms.  Tuesday I can end my isolation (as long as any fever is gone) … and for the next five days, venture out into the world with a well fitting mask any time I’m going to be around people and avoid places I can’t wear a mask.  This phase lasts five days, after which, as Joni Mitchell says, I am a free man in Paris.

But in this era of The COVID Club, just how free?  I am fully vaccinated and after initially being quite cautious, I’ve been getting too casual.  We went to see Hello Dolly last week with friends and wore masks but we went to see Top Gun – Maverick and didn’t.  I’d say one in ten wear masks in stores right now and I haven’t been one of them.  Apparently my casual COVID protocol didn’t work.  And now my wife has it, too.   I hadn’t looked at the CDC statistics in quite a while so I went back for a look.  The numbers aren’t as horrifying as they were a year and a half ago but there are still on the order of 100,000 new cases every day in the US.  On the average, hundreds die every day.    The COVID what-me-worry crowd says, Oh, it’s just like a cold or a mild flu.  Don’t sweat it.  Well, it wasn’t for me.  I felt very sick for four days, sick enough to wonder, is this going to send me to the hospital?  And my doctor tells me the fatigue could last of weeks or months.  Just wonderful … now my fatigue is fatigued.  And so I will be masking up again and social distancing too (even though most places have removed the six-foot markers from their floors).  How about you?  Club memberships are free.  Just pretend it’s over.

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3 Comments on “The COVID Club”

  1. granny1947 Says:

    So sorry to hear this. Wishing you and your wife a speedy recovery.
    We still have to wear masks in shops but not outdoors.
    I try to avoid the shops, only going early in the morning when it is quiet.

  2. Jane Fritz Says:

    Oh no. So sorry you’ve had to experience this.

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