“You better stop. Look around. Here comes your Covid-19th nervous breakdown.”
Thank you Mick Jagger for letting me take liberties with your song lyrics. The words are fitting for how I feel today.
A few short months ago I thought America had the coronavirus pandemic under control. Restrictions were loosening up. My life was slowly returning to normal, baby step by baby step. I’ll take whatever normal I can get these days, because I can’t take this virus and all its excess baggage any longer.
Bring on the booster shots! A third dose of the vaccine, just for safety’s sake. Who cares if this medicine has only been in existence for less than a year. Trust me, the government would not use the population as guinea pigs if they weren’t 100 percent certain that it might prove to be okay for us a few years from now. So far so good. From all outward appearances, the vaccine seems to help reduce the symptoms of Covid-19. Especially if you catch the virus for a second or third time. But who’s counting?
I got my second shot of the vaccine in April, and my arm is still sore. Or was it sore before I got jabbed? I can’t remember. Maybe I have brain fog. Whatever you do, do not look up the symptoms of something called “long covid” on the internet. Even without the virus, I’ve got all the symptoms. Brain fog is one of them. Did I mention that already? I can’t recall.
As a homebody, I thought I wouldn’t mind less social activity. Working from home has afforded me invaluable flexibility in my daily routine of going nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love my four walls. But after a year and a half of this, the walls are closing in. Since my wife is designated as an essential service worker, she is lucky enough to be able to leave the house everyday and brave the masked-up public while she tries to do her job and not contract the virus. I get to stay home listening to music and talking to my cats. Who says solitary confinement is detrimental to your health? The cats tell me I’ll get used to it.
I try not to listen to the news when I’m home alone. When I do, the stories making it onto my radar are all bad. Extremely bad. It appears America has lost its collective mind. Now that commuters are back on the highways, road rage shootings have escalated. Fights inside grocery stores are commonplace. Acts of random violence in the streets of formerly peaceful towns are part of everyday life. Something has drastically changed in the past few years. Or maybe I should say everything has changed. An average day was never like this. There’s an underlying level of tension that won’t go away. And its bubbling to the surface faster than the world’s rising water level.
I try to relax but my deep breathing exercises only work for so long. Everyday worries slowly creep into the far corners of my brain. I worry about my grandchildren who are too young to be vaccinated. I hate seeing masks covering their smiling faces. Masks and children’s birthday parties don’t mix. Last year I worried about remote learning affecting their school year. This year I worry about the return to school for in-person teaching. Despite the hardships, the children seem to be thriving. At least for now.
My elderly aunt is in an assisted living facility. She is the only aunt I have left, the only living link to my family’s past generation. I can’t visit her. I don’t want to be the person who brings a deadly germ into the complex regardless of vaccines and mask mandates. I try to send her greeting cards from time to time, but it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Thoughts and prayers only go so far.
Meanwhile in the background of our lives, the mutating virus marches on. The Delta variant is more contagious but slightly less virulent than the original version. The Mu variant is emerging ( is it pronounced moo or mew?). How ever you say it, it’s not good. Meanwhile, in India, the population is being threatened by an even newer virus. Move over Corona, make way for Nipah. Yippee! I can hardly wait to see what horrors Covid-20 brings us when it arrives. Oh you know it’s coming.
Sorry for the rant, the virus made me do it. I have my annual medical check-up in a couple of weeks. I’m going to ask the doctor to up the dosage on my medication. And I don’t care if it’s FDA approved or not.