My COVID hiatus is over.
After one year of voluntary isolation, and a second year of carefully and selectively picking my spots to re-enter the society, the gloves finally came off this summer. The month of hell I went through physically with a myriad of issues that all popped up at the same time was the tipping point.
My re-entry wasn’t without trepidation however, but not because I was afraid of getting sick. By now I already had the virus once, had been immunized, boosted, and given monoclonal antibody injections because of my immunocompromised condition. I am as medicated as anyone can be, and assuming I refrained from being reckless or stupid, and kept current with whatever immunizations and treatments my neurologist recommends, I’m confident that I am keeping myself and my family as safe as possible. Besides, the virus isn’t going to go away any time soon, so it was time to get busy living again rather than existing.
My primary trepidation concerned the MS, and whether I was physically capable of doing the same things I did before the pandemic. Prior to 2020, I’d travel without question, see a number of Red Sox games in Boston without thinking twice, and do generally whatever the hell I felt like.
But two years for a person with MS is an eternity, and I knew that my physical capabilities had declined. Walking is harder, my balance is much worse, I trip over my feet more often (but still don’t fall) and I wondered if I remained physically capable of dealing with trains, planes, and crowds of people. Was my mind writing checks my body could no longer cash? I worried that I would put myself in a position where I would need assistance to do any of this and not have it readily available. Even worse, I worried about getting tangled up with crowds of people who are oblivious about who or what is around them, tripping over their feet and falling to the ground, making a general spectacle of myself. Fortunately, none of that came to pass, but travelling is much more cumbersome than it used to be. The day will come where I don’t enjoy it anymore, but I’m not there yet.
Being out in the world does feel different though. How could it not? COVID is part of life now, as it keeps mutating and evolving. I suspect it will be years before it is not a threat, so it is impossible to think, act or go about life believing nothing has changed. This does not hold me back anymore, but the difference between now and then is I back then I never thought twice about doing anything I wanted to do. If I had the time and opportunity to do something, I would do it, no questions asked.
Now, I more calculating, and think about all the contingencies, scenarios, and what-ifs. I still won’t go into a public building without a mask and will eat outside when going to a restaurant if the main dining areas are crowded. I’m careful, but not afraid, and I think fear has been the biggest hurdle for most people, especially if they have conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.
I must admit though, I was becoming a little complacent regarding the risks out there given my string of recent successes, but life has a way of reminding you to refocus.
Case in point: Nidan, who had accompanied me on my most recent trip, had been coughing and commenting about a scratchy throat the last few days, but he is prone to allergies, so it wasn’t cause for alarm. Yesterday morning however, several hours before a group of family members were about to arrive for a gathering at our house, he said the cough and throat was worse and that he wasn’t feeling very well. So we home tested him for COVID and the results were positive.
Later that morning his fever spiked and he looked and felt like crap, so I am sure the results from the PCR test he received hours after the home test will confirm the obvious. We had to scramble around to isolate him from the rest of us, and contacted everyone who had planned to come to inform them to stay away, while he notified everyone he had been in contact with the let them know he was sick. It will be a minor miracle if none of us get it, as it appears this had been brewing for several days and we have all been in close contact with him. This is the reality we all face, the difference being that while we may become ill, it won’t kill us.
So I am back in the saddle, and the generally apathy that has developed over the last two years is fading. Perhaps disappearing apathy will resurrect my desire to write. There have been numerous occasions where I have sat in front of the keyboard, started at the screen for a while, then shut the computer down because I couldn’t muster the words or the desire to mine them. There is a half-finished novel I haven’t touched in more than a year, and I keep telling myself I haven’t posted on this blog for months, so the itch is still there. But knowing something and acting upon it are two different things.
If apathy has not prevented me from writing, then I have a wicked case of writer’s block. The ensuing weeks should let me know, but whatever the answer, it should give me something to write about.