fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Not Me!

Three years, nine months, and thirteen days: That’s how long it had been since the shutdown, since the first time I was exposed to this mysterious, dreaded disease, which I’d never gotten. I was exposed at least three times that I know of in 2020, before we had a vaccine. And I’d never gotten it.

But now I was staring at two red lines in the Covid test. Two red lines indicating positive. My first thought was “Not me!” Sure, I was congested, sneezing, coughing, and achy, but for two days I’d been convincing myself it was just a cold. People get colds in winter. I’ve gotten colds, but I don’t get COVID!

Yet deny as I might, the test didn’t lie. For the next five days I had little appetite, went through boxes of tissues, lived on Tylenol and tea, stayed hydrated (I was constantly thirsty), and peed every hour or so because I was drinking so much. Fatigue and brain fog were my constant companions. I usually go to the gym three or four times a week. My exercise now was getting from the couch to the chair, and that was a Herculean effort.

When I reached day six, the sniffles had mostly abated. The coughing had stopped and I was eating and sleeping more normally. The brain fog persists. I’m waiting a day or so more before I test again because I’m afraid to see two red lines again. Even though what I’ve gone through is nothing compared to how people suffered in 2020 and 2021, this disease is still mysterious and terrifying. I’ve heard that less than ten percent of the U.S. population got the most recent vaccine booster, which amazes me (I’ve gotten every booster I’ve been eligible for). At times, in my stupor, I wondered how bad my symptoms might have been if I hadn’t been fully vaccinated.

None of us, not one of you reading this, is immune to this virus. I thought I was. Must be the vitamins I take, went my thinking, the precautions I use, the masks I kept wearing long after others had discarded theirs. I was wrong. I got COVID. I’ll get better. Hopefully the fog will soon lift.

Before, I was cautious but I didn’t fear the virus. I hate to live in fear of something, so I’ll respect it. And keep wearing my mask.

Ron Katz
New York, New York

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