Traveled lately? Paid for it? I’ve talked to many who have.
My husband B and I were still blissfully unaware of the cost, thank goodness, as he drove us back through the lush rolling hills of upstate New York. (We’d joked about Herschel Walker’s anti-tree gaffe on the way down. “Herschel’s right! There are enough trees!”) We were full to bursting with friendship, joy and music after attending a 3-day outdoor music festival on Martha’s Vineyard, where all our favourite bands had played. At a stop in Syracuse, we scarfed down the “godfather” pizza – caramelized onions, sausage and mildly spicy peppers – and listened to a young girl with an acoustic guitar. Her voice echoed Jewel-like in the new warehouse-style space. She even sang a Jason Isbell song, one he’d just sung to us, “Cover Me Up”:
So girl, leave your boots by the bed
We ain’t leaving this room
Til someone needs medical help
Or the magnolias bloom
Okay, assuming these are relatively healthy people and it’s not early spring? Is this not just about the sexiest thing ever written?!
B was in a slapdash hurry to get back to our room at the A-Loft, but not for the above reasons. And to be clear, I’d be leaving sandals by the bed, not boots. He filed his work report, due the following morning, and crawled into bed to sleep. I watched Serena win the first of her US Open singles matches.
The next day? B was clearing his throat, clearing his throat. But the sure sign something was amiss? He asked me to drive. He eased the seat back, slept. Of course, all the time he’d driven the weather had been clear, while for me? Buckets of rain gushed from the heavens, hindering visibility and frazzling my nerves.
As soon as we got home, B had the test kit out. It took the full 15 minutes, but there it was, the faint second line confirming he had Covid. I tested myself. Negative. I was tired; I put it off to traveling.
The next morning my throat was full to bursting with razor blades. I did another test. Negative. No matter. I was unwell.
After two and a half years of a raging pandemic, one can get complacent. Feel a tad superior, perhaps? I’d see headlines about it. Haven’t had Covid yet? We want to study you! I thought B and I were special somehow. We work out a lot, eat well, take immune-supporting supplements. But as it turns out, we’re just mere mortals, like everyone else on the planet, and completely vulnerable to the whims of this weird illness.
And I’ve talked to others about this too. The best position from which to endure Covid? Flat on one’s back, a super-comfy pillow under the head and a throw pulled up under the chin. That is: not moving.
What can you accomplish in this position?
Doomscroll! My Twitter friends told me: Agent Orange still free, talking, blah-blah-blah. Dark Brandon still getting sh*t done. War in Ukraine still on (but, as you know, they are now kicking some serious Russian assets). The doomsday glacier still hanging on by fingertips I did not know it had.
Binge Netflix, AppleTV, Prime! I prefer nature docs when I’m feeling down, so I watched David Attenborough’s Prehistoric Planet. Did you know dinosaur birds walked around on elbows and feet? Did you know sauropods may have had bizarre inflatable sacs that popped out on their long necks for mating? I watched The Elephant Queen, because elephants are just so darn cute. Dung beetles too, if you can get over the fact that what they’re rolling into that perfect ball is, well, dung. At least you can’t smell it through the TV.
The days went by and the shows piled up: I recommend Wild Wild Country and The Last Days, but the “something for laughs” I started, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, is pretty darn silly.
I had to admit, it was efficient that B and I were both sick at the same time. He’s a great person to be sick with because he doesn’t complain and he remembers to smile from time to time, which I forget when I’m feeling miserable.
As you probably know from reading my blogs, B is the cook, but because we were both feeling lousy, we took turns. It went like this: B made chicken soup from scratch. I heated up a frozen pizza. B cooked a whole chicken. I slapped some peanut butter on bread. But, I did make the bread!
After the excruciating headache cleared I was able to read from that comforting supine position. Looking for Jane is an incredible debut novel by Heather Marshall. Set in Toronto, it’s an important and timely discussion about abortion rights. From Russia with Blood by Heidi Blake is a work of nonfiction which expertly delves into the “Kremlin’s ruthless assassination program” and reads like in a spy thriller.
After a few days, B and I took a walk around the smallest block. We came back so spaced out we had to sit and recuperate with hot lemon ginger tea with honey. After our first fully upright day? We spent a couple of days slothing around again.
I’d been warned the first 48 hours are the worst and that was true. I’d been warned it lingers and that was true.
And now, a couple of weeks post-Covid, I feel immense gratitude. That we didn’t get IT until this year, that we’ve had the opportunity for vaccines and a booster, that we have a mighty fine home in which to be sick, that the nearby grocery store delivers.
I’d feel grateful about getting the illness over with, but dang, you can get IT more than once. So, travel safely. Keep your boosters up to date. And if your throat is ever full to bursting with razor blades, murder that thirst with hot tea, cold ginger ale, or perhaps some cool Liquid Death as in the website photo. The organizers of Beach Road Weekend, the music festival we attended, served water in aluminum cans, not plastic. Not only does it feel badass to drink your water this way – it’s like drinking a tallboy – it’s the most ecological choice. Did you know that about 75% of all the aluminum ever made is still in use today?