Golden Boomer Reflections -Experiencing COVID-19 Virus
Halloween Horror or Divine Intervention? – Catching and dealing with the virus!
BY CYBRSCRYBE Â· MAY 7, 2023
Halloween Horror or Divine Intervention? â€“ Catching and dealing with the virus!
Life in 2020 sure has been interesting! From the Impeachment of the President at the beginning of the year, through months of quarantining, also called â€œstay at homeâ€ orders, the world has been on a very different path this year due to a tiny bug that looks like the one on this page. At the writing of this blog entry, the United States currently has near 5 million cases and 225,000 deaths.
But my story started before the Chinese became aware of it in December, or the US became aware of it in January 2020. It starts on Halloween Day of 2019. I was doing my regular volunteer experience at the Veterans Home in a town near me. I had volunteered to help set up a computer lab in the home library for vets to use in their spare time. Another retired teacher and I had volunteered back in September and been able to set up a whole new lab with new computers. The DVV (Delaware Volunteers for Veterans) that ran the gift shop inside the home, had extra funding, and because the computers were so out of date, and would become extinct in January due to having only Windows 7 on them, the DVV put JJ and I to work outfitting a new lab. And how providential the timing for obtaining the computers and setting up the lab was! Who knew that this year would become the year of Zoom meetings, Google Duos or Skype? I still think my Dad, who has been deceased for over 40 years, was upstairs pulling strings to point me there. You see, Dad worked for IBM, and had inspired my career leading to my PH.D. in Computing in Education. So I was uniquely experienced in online learning and the tools available. Indeed, I had taught computers to kids in elementary and middle school, teachers and professors, both online across the country, and face to face. And now that I was retired, I was giving those skills back to the community by setting up this lab for the Veterans. And for some reason, I pushed to have the communication packages put on the computer, and JJ and I had oriented the staff and several veterans to their use. So I was very grateful to understand that the staff was using what we taught and provided for them to keep in touch with their families during this pandemic time.
But I digress! I was there Halloween Day to help individual veterans find their interests on the computer. As I was signing out to leave the building, a group of school kids (I think middle school age) came in the door complete in their Halloween costumes for the parade and activities. As I walked past the group, one young man lifted his mask and gave a horrendous cough. I thought to myself as I turned away from the cough â€œThank God, Iâ€™m outta here before I catch something!â€ So I thought I had escaped the flu or a cold. However, the next evening my throat felt scratchy and it led to laryngitis a day later. I went to a bull and oyster roast with friends and was not able to talk. It was in a tent outside, and I suspected that didnâ€™t help my germs, but the raw oysters were worth the pain. In hindsight, itâ€™s a miracle I didnâ€™t pass the germ onto my friends, but being outside was probably providential in that circumstance. Then two days later laryngitis turned to a horrific cough that I couldnâ€™t shake for two weeks. I had trouble sleeping and almost took myself to the hospital twice because I couldnâ€™t breathe with coughing so badly.
I used cough & allergy medicine, sprayed my throat with Chloraseptic, and constantly drank tea with honey to soothe my throat and ease the cough. When I called in sick from volunteering the next two weeks, the coordinator said, â€œGee thatâ€™s funny, all the volunteers are calling in sick with this â€˜crud’â€. In addition, when I went to my doctorâ€™s two weeks later, I described what I had and he said, â€œYou just had some kind of virus.â€ That statement became relevant this next spring as the world woke up to the pandemic and the symptoms of COVID19. It was becoming highly contagious!
As I read news reports and CDC guidelines and descriptions of the virus, it sounded just like I had experienced back in November. So when I had a tele-checkup with my doctor scheduled, I asked for an antibody test for COVID-19 as part of my regular cholesterol and A1C blood test. It came back positive for the COVID-19 antigens! So I had had the virus 6 months prior. I received a phone call from the Health Department, as well as paperwork telling me to quarantine for at least 10 days. This was 6 months after I had the virus. But at this point it was unknown if I was still contagious with having the antibodies.
However, 2 months later, they were asking for plasma from those who had tested positive for the virus to be able to develop vaccines, so since I regularly donated blood, I volunteered. Giving blood plasma was a little longer process than giving whole blood as my blood was sent through a centrifuge, separated white from red cells, then pumped back into me. I felt fine after giving, and followed normal procedures of waiting 15 minutes, and still felt ok. I drove home the 4 blocks to my place, even stopping to let a family of ducks cross the road. However, when I got out of my car and headed up in the elevator, I started feeling woozy. I called my neighbor who is a retired nurse, and she came and sat with me until the white-out, wooziness worked itâ€™s way out of my system. We suspected I was just dehydrated and drank lots of water and juice. A little scary experience!
The government ramped up production of the vaccine (they had been experimenting with it for 10 years), and the scientists were able to get it out to folks quickly. Over the next year, everyone was encouraged to get 2 vaccines, 3 weeks apart, then two booster shots every 6 months, with a final yearly shot coming in Fall 2022. Vaccines were first prioritized to health care workers, and seniors (my age group) because the workers were exposed on a daily basis, and seniors were the most likely to have severe complications and death.
Since Iâ€™m posting this blog entry in 2023, after the pandemic has been officially declared no longer a pandemic by the World Health Organization, I can also add that I tested positive again for the virus in 2022. I had no symptoms, and had taken a COVID test only as a precaution before visiting my sister in shock trauma after she was hit by a car. The test came back positive for 6 days, and I quarantined during that time.
As a result, our post pandemic world has brought many changes in how we interact with others and our world. People more freely wear masks to fight allergies and when they were exposed to the virus. Society, including education, medicine, media, and many others facets have learned to use technology to communicate with others. Many procedures like doctorsâ€™ visit have metamorphed to using televisits. At least our government, so far, has been able to keep us from going into the deep depression that followed the Roaring 20â€™s during the last pandemic. Weâ€™ve dealt with some inflation, but it is still fluctuating, so hopefully we wonâ€™t repeat history on that front.
And now it feels like a blessing to be able to get back to being Golden Age Boomersâ€¦ without the specter of a pandemic that loomed especially over seniors!