It just keeps coming
In the last two days two of my good friends have been diagnosed with COVID. Sunday and Monday, two texted pictures of RAT sticks.* First infection for both of them. And they’re both swinging back and forth between blasé and entirely panicked. (1)
I have a whole set of recommendations at this point: any drugs you can take for a cold you can take for COVID. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Do not try to work through your COVID; it’s my personal opinion that not resting during your infection increases your risk of long COVID. So tell your boss you’re sick and your brain fog is severe and you’ll be unavailable and then stay in bed and sleep as much as you can. Pay attention to your breathing - watch for shortness of breath, too much phlegm, or difficulty breathing. If you feel like you need medical attention, don’t hesitate to get it. Do not be brave.
Two friends, two days, two sets of two lines. That’s just my close circle. In the last month, so many more than two friends have been infected. My careful friends are finally getting COVID - like my elderly mom’s elderly friends who are seeing it rip through their social circle after an ill-advised wedding event. My careless yet lucky friends are at last running out of luck. And my most vulnerable friends are facing their second or third infections.
I tell my careful friends this: you did a really good job avoiding COVID for so long. It feels like you were so careful and it was all for nothing, but that’s not true. Flattening the curve assumed COVID would get us all eventually. You got your COVID now, when hospitals have room if you need it, and your doctors know how to handle it. There are drugs if your COVID gets really bad. Your vaccine means your COVID will probably be mild. This infection is not a moral judgment or an indictment of your choices. The world failed the challenge of COVID and you are a casualty but it is not your fault.
I tell my careless friends the same thing. Because no one believes they’re being careless - they all think they’re doing everything they can. And I’m not going to kick them when they’re down. But when they recover, we will talk about avoiding reinfection.
And I tell my multiple infection friends this: If you’ve had it twice, you’ll probably get it a third time. Maybe your career is putting you at risk (shout-out to my friend who owns a restaurant), maybe structural racism is taking its toll, and maybe your genetics make you more susceptible to infection. Whatever the reason, you need to be aware that your risk of infection is higher than average. Take as many individual precautions as you can: Make sure your health insurance is good. Consider changing jobs to one with less public contact. Find masks you like and wear them. Take care of your health as well as possible so you minimize comorbidities. Get vaccine boosters every time you’re eligible.
I have noticed this - a lot of the careful people were starting to believe they’d found their system and they’d never get COVID. They were still taking care, but it was pro forma. On some level they thought maybe they were immune. Same with the careless people. They figured if they hadn’t had COVID by now, they never would. The multiple-infection folks, though, are just depressed. They know what this means. COVID is one more fact of their life now.
That’s true for all of us. COVID is still there for everyone. No matter how hard we try to avoid it. It’s not a happy thing to think about but that does not make it untrue.
I’ve been texted a lot of those plastic stick pictures in the last year and a half. I’m the health sector friend, after all: people text me all their diagnoses. For common stuff I usually do have some insight. For rare diagnoses I can do a better web search than most people. And thanks to the TED fellows, I know a lot of medical geniuses. (Looking at you, Edsel Salvana, Victoria Forster, Jimmy Lin, Francisca Mutapi)
We're going to a wedding, next week, in RI. - - - And looking back, early Spring, 2020, good Friends visited us from NC. My good Friends, they didn't stay with us. We only met and went out for lunch. My Friend, she had a "pink eye" which she wrote off, and a slightly scratchy throat that she mentioned in brief. "Nothing major", she said. We hugged after lunch and said our goodbyes. A couple days latter, C, my wife, she was in bed, down for the count, for maybe two days. A case of the Flu we thought. I got a lesser case of same, two days latter. We leapfrogged one another. Spring 2020... did our Friend have COVID? Did she share her COVID with us? - - - We've been "All Clear" since. Every dose of vaccine, every booster. And still, we look to this upcoming wedding with a wary eye. - - - - thank you for the timely tips Alanna. it is good to have a Friend "in the know".