It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since COVID-19 came to the US officially. In reality, my one year anniversary was last month. In mid-February 2020, I was terribly sick with a “respiratory infection” the likes of which I had never experienced before and hope never to experience again. There were no tests at that point. We’d barely even heard about it at that point. I have been knocked flat by some nasty viruses over the years – the flu multiple times (about six times at this point), strep, even community acquired pneumonia. Nothing has ever affected me the way that respiratory infection did. For the first time in my life I needed an inhaler. Ironically, I hesitated to get it initially. At the time, I wasn’t as sick as I would become (this was around day three) but I was still pretty sick. Thanks to my loving husband, who encouraged me strongly to get it (his words – worst case, you don’t use it and Phoenix, who has asthma, can use it). I am so thankful I did get it – it probably saved my life.
Within 48 hours of getting the inhaler, I was having breathing issues. I couldn’t walk up the stairs without wheezing. I was coughing so much. I couldn’t catch my breath. At one point, I went to the ER, certain I had pneumonia and was going to die. I remember telling the ER doctor that something didn’t feel right. It was hard for me to really express my severe difficulty with breathing, something I’d never experienced before, but my instincts were, this bug was different. I just knew it in my gut. It took months for me to fully recover and even today, I have some minor issues. Brain fog. My short term memory is just about non-existent, which is really frustrating for my husband. I can’t remember conversations we’ve had. Or simple instructions. And I definitely have breathing issues since. My lungs feel different. Somehow smaller. Because of these experiences, I fear COVID-19. I know it for the deadly, dangerous virus it is. I’m grateful my family had much milder symptoms than I did, along with my work colleagues. Because somehow I was the first one to get sick, and then everyone around me got sick with the same thing but with different symptoms. Looking back, we suspect some work colleagues who visited China may have brought it with them unknowingly.
I’m grateful now, to still be here. So I take the steps to protect myself and our family from COVID. Thankfully, using delivery services and wearing a mask plus limiting our exposure to groups of people as much as possible, has prevented any infections. Thanks to my husband coming out of retirement and returning to truck driving (he delivers food around the country), we’re financially secure. He has become a trainer for the company he works for as well which gives us more income too. So we’re fortunate.
But who knew how much our world would change overnight? I’ve tried to find inspiration for my writing during the course of the pandemic, while I have watched, sadly, as the tragedy unfolds around the world. More than 500,000 people have lost their lives. So I wrote a story about finding a cure. Because I hope one day science will do exactly that. One day we won’t have this collective worry hanging over us all like a dark cloud. One day we’ll be free of COVID and hopefully the experience of it all, will have made us stronger. I hope it will have inspired us to be better. Inspired change and acceptance of others. Inspired gratitude. Hope. Courage. But most importantly, hope.