COVID-19 One and Half Years In

I’ve written this post in my head pretty much every day for at least the last month, but whenever I’m in front of a computer with the time to write it I never want to. With this week being the sort of unofficial official year and half anniversary of the start of the pandemic I decided I would finally make the time to gather my thoughts on “paper” as if nothing else it will be an interesting time capsule about how I was feeling at this point in the pandemic.

Basically the long and short of it is I feel like I’m going insane. I can’t reconcile where we are right now. It’s crazy to me that we have a safe, highly effective tool to bring COVID-19 under control in this country and people don’t want to use it. And I feel like I’m being held hostage by the people who refuse to take the vaccine or do anything else to help keep this disease from spreading and killing thousands of Americans each day. I don’t understand how we’re okay with that. I’m angry and I’m sad. I don’t know how right wing politicians and media people who keep spreading lies about vaccines and masks for their own personal gain can sleep at night. People are literally dying because of it including some of the people spreading the disinformation. Some people feel glee over the schadenfreude of these people dying from their own lies, but I don’t. It just makes me sad that people are so broken that they will buy and sell these lies. There is something seriously wrong with people when they will refuse a vaccine that millions and millions of people around the world have taken with very few side effects and instead eat horse paste.

As much as I grieve for the families who are losing loved ones, I am also ANGRY! I am so mad at these people who are keeping me hostage because they somehow still don’t understand that their actions have consequences for other people. Every time I hear someone say that taking the vaccine is a personal choice I really want to punch them in the face. Nothing about any of this is a personal choice. COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Your decision that you don’t need to adjust living your life in any way or take a vaccine does in fact affect me because if you get sick and spread it around it greatly increases the chances that I or someone I love will also get sick from it. I equally want to punch people spouting off about their freedom because their so-called freedom is keeping me in prison. Your personal freedom ends where it harms other people, and you are harming other people.

There were those glorious few weeks in early summer when things were really looking up. Cases were low and going down. I started to actually do some things. I got to visit with my family and eat outside at a restaurant and go to the Newport Folk Festival. Now I am back to doing none of that.

This is the really crazy making part for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m being overly cautious because I am by nature a very risk adverse person. I know I have family and friends who think I’m being ridiculous at this point, but I’ve had two of my doctor’s separately tell me that I should be doing what I’m doing because I am immunocompromised. Add that to like every article about what it’s safe to do once you’re vaccinated is like except you immunocompromised person. You live like you’re unvaccinated, which is kind of a joke because the people who are unvaccinated at this point aren’t limiting their lives in any way though I take the point.

I see everyone else pretty much going back to living their lives like they did before the pandemic either because they’re vaccinated and have decided that whatever risk of a breakthrough case there is is worth it or because they’re not vaccinated and don’t believe in COVID or whatever and damn the consequences for them or anyone else. I on the other hand have had to retreat back into my shell and I feel like I’m living some sort of shadow life while everyone else gets to live a real life and it’s crazy making. I have so many concert tickets I bought back in May and June thinking that surely by this time we would really be good. Instead I’m just eating the cost of all of them. I should be going to two concerts and a music festival this week and instead I’m going to none of them and I’m so sad and depressed about it. I see other friends off enjoying themselves doing things I want to do so bad including people who take drugs that are equally as immunocompromising as the ones I take who are not being as cautious as I am, but I feel like I’m following the science here and doing what my doctors are telling me to do. We’re supposed to go to Hilton Head and a few weeks and I thought about backing out of that many times while South Carolina’s cases were sky rocketing (they are still way high, but at least coming down now), but my doctor told me to go as long as I basically don’t go inside anywhere. So I’m trying to take that advice too even though I periodically freak out about it.

I’m trying to let the jealousy and anger and all the other unhealthy feelings go and be happy with what I have, but it’s not easy. I am still very lucky as far as this pandemic goes. I don’t know anyone who has died. I never lost a job and was able to work from home for over a year, though I am back in the office now. Even though I know there are people who think I’m nuts at this point, I do still have a number of friends who have tried to be very accommodating for me even though I feel a little guilty that I’m holding other people back from doing things they would prefer to be doing so that they can include me. I also continue to be grateful for the friends I’ve only grown closer to during the pandemic and who I’ve seen so much more both virtually and in-person safely outdoors because our lives have been so much less busy. I’m also thankful that I live in a place that has reasonable people not out there peddling lies or discouraging people from doing what it takes to end of the pandemic. I can’t even imagine how crazy I would be if I lived in the south right now.

I’m trying to hold on to these days where the weather is still nice enough to do stuff outside because there is no guarantee of what things will look like once it gets cold. I would like to hope that some of these mandates start having an effect and despite the normal course of respiratory illnesses things will actually improve. It’s probably a pipe dream, but hope springs eternal I guess. I’m hoping that in another 6 months I won’t be checking in on the pandemic on this blog, but that I’ll be doing it on my regular blog because where we are will actually be making me happy instead of slowly driving me insane.