COVID Caught Up!

Well, after dodging the coronavirus for over two years, it finally caught up to me. Last week, I woke up feeling a bit down, tested negative, and tried to go about my day. Within a couple of hours, I went downhill and could barely get out of bed for the next two days. Walking to the bathroom was about all I could muster up, as I wasn’t eating much or even sitting up. I healed quickly in the following 36-48 hours. Sunday, I started taking the antiviral medication Paxlovid and have barely had any symptoms since. I feel that my pre-existing status was very helpful in the recovery. I can see how this virus and its subsequent inflammatory processes could overwhelm someone who isn’t unvaccinated or in good health.
This isn’t a story about being sick and feeling bad for myself, though. It’s a story of thanks to all of those around who were able to help out in a pinch. First of all, my wife Colleen made sure I had water, Advil and other amenities. Secondly, I had people around me at work to help make sure it kept running. Third, and most importantly, I had the resources to manage this illness: access to an early vaccine, the ability to exercise regularly, generally nine of 10 days, and eat well, access to medications and healthy food, a nice, spacious place to quarantine with streaming TV, the understanding of the disease process that I was going through, and the ability to test for COVID-19 daily to check my status.
You realize all of these are at your disposal and you just assume that is normal. It is not. Think of the people out there who don’t have the medical education to understand the disease process and those who lose out on valuable income not working – or, worse, working when they shouldn’t – because they can’t afford to miss. Not everyone has a large bottle of ibuprofen in the closet or a grocery store two blocks away that my wife could run to at any moment to grab what I might need or desire being sick (the popsicle was very nice). I had a bed to sleep in, ceiling fan and air conditioning to keep my hot body cooled down. There are so many things many of us take for granted that many don’t or didn’t have.
I am not sure if the question is, how do we make this better for others moving forward? What I think needs to happen is sick people need to stay home and be paid for it. The government needs to pass laws for paid sick time, not just FMLA, which works well if you are well off enough to take some time away from work. We need a better healthcare system to make it easier for people to be able to get the necessary treatment and help.
At my first job 28 years ago, I had five sick days per year, and never used them. If you did get sick, most of us fought through it because you didn’t want to lose your sick days, and we were mainly taught to tough it out. Well, as we have learned, that doesn’t go well with a virus that travels in tiny air droplets.