Those Really were the Days

It is strange when you can think back to only three years ago and struggle to remember with any ease of relation to how life was back then. “Back then.” It is astounding that I am attributing the words “back then” to a life lived only three years ago.

But I am.

Three years isn’t even a full presidential term. Three years doesn’t even get you through high school. Your driver’s license isn’t even expired in three years, yet still, three years feel like the distant past.

At least to me it does.

And I know everyone’s personal perspective on this differs. For most of us, life changed in 2020. We all quarantined from loved ones. Didn’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Social lives for most were non-existent.

And then 2021 rolls in and vaccinations and everyone is excited to get back to life. Sports are back. Concerts are back. Restaurants and bars are alive again. I, too, was looking forward to getting back to life.

In March of 2021, I went to a restaurant for just the second time in a year. I spent the day at a riverwalk with my nephew. I was walking amongst people again and was starting to feel normal.

Then symptoms of a muscle disease I have started to rear its ugly head and with it wiped away any semblance or hope of getting back to what I considered “normal” life.

I look at pictures from three years ago and I hardly recognize myself or that life lived just three years ago.

2019.

The last time I went to a concert. The last time I went to the movies. The last time I went to a coffee shop to relax with a cup of coffee and a book. The last time I went to the library, where I’d sit at my favorite desk to work on what I hoped to be a good story. I miss the smell of books. I miss the quietness of a library that forced me to stay focused on those words I wrote. A good portion of my book, “A Penny on the Tracks” was written at my local library.

I miss the change of scenery. I miss getting up and going wherever my mood takes me. I had many different writing destinations, and I miss them all.

My circumstances are different from most people. My health, or lack of, plays a huge part in why life isn’t normal for me. It isn’t just covid. But with covid cases rising again, along with hospital rates, even if I felt better and was able to do everything as I had done before, would I still look back at 2019 as a far-away time?

A life where facemasks weren’t needed to enter medical facilities or grocery stores or banks.

A life where you’d give an odd expression to a person walking past you wearing a facemask because the concept was so foreign to you.

A life where you could impulsively hug a person hello without asking first if they’re okay with hugs because the not-so-distant past had no personal boundaries.

A life where if a person sitting at the table over from you at Starbucks coughs and you hardly notice because it is just a cough. How harmful can a simple cough be?

Oh, those were the days. 2019, I really, really, really miss you.

I fondly remember the time I met a woman at Starbucks. Betsy. She was in her 60’s and had MS. She wanted my seat at the window. She liked sitting by the window. I gave it to her, and she peppered the top of my hand with kisses. At the time I considered that a sweet gesture. She made me smile. Not once did I think about germs and rush to squirt sanitizer on my hands.

Those really were the days.

Covid Got Me Again

I have covid…again. I first got covid back in Nov 2020. It was a breeze. My only symptoms were mild congestion and loss of taste and smell. I wasn’t vaccinated then. Vaccinations weren’t available yet, but I am double-vaccinated and boosted now, and covid is kicking my ass.

I was healthier in Nov 2020 when I dealt with covid as an unvaccinated person, as opposed to how I’ve been the past year, and I’m sure that is making a difference.  It’s almost laughable that someone like me gets covid. At the time I tested positive I hadn’t been out of the house (except for dog walks) in almost two weeks and the only people outside my household I was around was my neighbor, who came over and sat with me and my dog in the grass and chatted for a bit, and four members of my extended family who visited for a couple hours. But that’s all it took. Being in contact with five people I don’t live with was enough to give me covid. It’s no wonder cases are starting to surge again.

I’ll get through this bout of covid just as I did a year and a half ago. My only concern is any long-term effect it may have on the Myasthenia Gravis that I have. I can’t be one hundred percent certain that the flareup I’ve been living through the past fourteen months wasn’t triggered by my Nov 2020 covid diagnosis. The doctors I’ve talked to can’t say for sure. I had no lingering effects from that first covid case. I went back to living normally for four months until my current flareup started and fourteen months later, I’m still living it.

I only hope the covid inside my body now won’t make me worse months down the road because I desperately need to get better. Get my life back. It’s crazy and awfully scary how fast life can change. I look at pictures from 2019, just three years ago, and it feels like another lifetime because it’s been so long since I’ve lived “normally.” I went from isolating in 2020 because of a deadly virus, to isolating in 2021 because of a flareup in my health that now, over five months into 2022, I’m still dealing with.

I know I’m not the only one dealing with lingering health issues that make getting out of bed feel like an Olympic accomplishment. You’re not alone. I know that can be an easy concept to forget when health issues can frustrate and depress every fiber of your soul. But you’re not alone. Reach out if you need help. I do. All the time. I have friends that must feel like veteran therapists of fifty years after dealing with me this past year.

I tell them every day how appreciative I am of them.

What Do We Have If We Don’t Have Hope?

I try to end each year with hope. Being hopeful. With Gratitude. Being grateful. I have much to be thankful for as the year winds to an end. My health is much improved from where it was nine months ago. My life finally shows some semblance of what it used to be. I’m grateful for that. A couple months ago I found a home for a book I had spent over two years writing, a book I wasn’t very optimistic I’d ever get contracted, but I did.  I’m grateful for that, too.

The year is ending on two personal high notes for me.  I should be running into the new year cheerful and exuberant, feeling like nothing can stop me now! But then I turn on the news.  

Just like last year, we are ending the year with rising cases of Covid. Hospitals in some states are at capacity and staffed with nurses and doctors who are tired. They’re tired of coming to the rescue of people who are too ignorant, too selfish, too politically brainwashed to get a vaccine.

So we head into 2022 unsure how much worse things are going to get. How much farther north the Covid deaths will tick above the 806,000 people who have already died. It’s a daunting prospect. 

But I’m going to be hopeful. I am going to end this year hopeful that this coming year will be better than the last. Maybe for no other reason that it simply just has to. Please???

I wish for all people who had health setbacks this year that they, too, are seeing progress and will be ringing in the new year hopeful. Because what do we have if we don’t have hope?

Thanks to the Vaccinated

 I’m not vaccinated. It’s not a political statement. It’s doctor’s orders. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. I’ve written a couple blogs about it. I’ve had my ups and downs with the disease, but with medication and various treatments, I’ve been living relatively well with the disease in recent years, and it’d been a somewhat quiet seven years or so. But like all good things, that had to end too.

In mid-March my brother had an appointment to get the vaccine and could get me one, too. At that time it was still difficult to secure appointments for the vaccine. Despite really wanting it since I am one of the immune-compromised vulnerable ones, I listened to my body and it was telling me that something wasn’t right. I won’t go into details, but I suspected it wasn’t a good time for my body to take on a vaccine.

Two weeks would prove me right as I was in the midst of a full-blown flareup. Emails to my doctor put me on more medication and orders to stay away from the vaccine until things got better. This was the last week of March and as we head into mid-July, I am doing better, but not well enough to get vaccinated yet. 

I’m hoping a few more weeks changes that, but I’ve been hoping that for months now. I’m not writing about this to get sympathy. I don’t need that. We all have our health issues. I’m writing this to thank the people who have gotten vaccinated.  Because of you, people like me are safer. I know some people are unvaccinated by choice, but I am sure I can’t be the only one unvaccinated for health reasons. 

It is frustrating that politics have played such an integral role in the attitude to this virus, as well as to its vaccine. If the former idiot in the Oval Office would have just worn a mask at its inception, without complaint or political divide, and did not take his own vaccine in secret, maybe over 600,000 Americans wouldn’t have died and today more people would be vaccinated, thus helping to put a stop to this mutating deadly virus. But we’ll never know if that would have happened because, like I said, we had a dangerous idiot in the White House.  

So this blog is to simply thank those who had the good sense to get vaccinated, because while you did it to protect yourselves, you are also protecting vulnerable people like me by slowing the spread of this virus. I read an article a couple weeks ago (I’m sorry but I forgot where) that showed statistics that the more Republican a county is, the less vaccinated they are. The unvaccinated would be at a high risk in those counties, and as I read about the more contagious Delta variant, I am grateful I don’t live in those counties. 

Thank you to everyone who got the shot. 

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

The Year We Never Saw Coming

As we wind down another year, a year I’m sure no one was anticipating when they clinked champagne glasses at the countdown to midnight, ringing in the year 2020. Celebrations erupted. It was 2020! The start of a new decade. 

There’s so much to be excited for when a new year begins. We wipe the slate clean from the previous year.  Tell ourselves we’ll do better. Right our mistakes. Change our ways, if that’s what’s needed.  The resolutions begin, and we jump into January ready to take on the new year with so much promise, so much hope.

And then Covid stops us in our tracks and changes everything. 

I thought I rang in the New Year in such a lame way. I was sick as hell. Spent the night on the couch, barely staying awake to watch the ball drop. Turns out,  being sick was the most accurate way to start the year that would be 2020.

I think about those whose lives were taken by Covid-19. What their New Year resolutions were? Did they have expectations or goals for 2020? A new job? A promotion? Getting pregnant? Becoming engaged? Getting married? Maybe someone had become a grandparent for the first time, and 2020 was going to be all about loving that new child and building memories with him/her. 

As I write this, the U.S confirmed death toll is 302,141 people. Those three hundred thousand people can no longer build memories with their loved ones, they have now become memories to their loved ones. 

No one can know for sure if those people wouldn’t have died of other reasons in 2020, but Covid made sure that they did. The horrific fact is, the dying is reportedly not even close to ending. The casualty predictions are dire. Vaccines have been approved, but many thousands will die before the vaccine becomes available to them. 

Two weeks ago, I recovered from my case of Covid-19. I was ashamed that I got it because it made me feel irresponsible when I thought I was being cautious. I’m not an anti-masker. I avoided large gatherings. But I still got it, and I can only hope I didn’t spread it to anyone else. My case was very mild. I’m lucky and grateful for that.  

As this disastrous year comes to an end, I hope for a new year of recovery, healing, and as much peace as we can achieve. 

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Photo courtesy of Scrolldroll.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is going to be a strange Thanksgiving for a lot of people. For those of us who have decided to spend this day of thanks apart from the very people we are most thankful for, I know it’s hard, but hang in there. This is all temporary and soon we will again be joining our friends and family at the dinner table, sharing good food, good conversation, and lasting memories. 

The key is to live to see another day. Survive until we have a vaccine. I write those words as I am in day 13 of having Covid. I was one of the lucky ones who suffered only mild symptoms, and during this time I’ve been thinking about all of those who lost their lives to this virus. Why do some survive while others don’t? I wish that weren’t so. 

So although this Thanksgiving I’m not with all of my family, I do have much to be thankful for. I’m still here.

Since I didn’t get to shop for my usual Thanksgiving favorites, I will celebrate and give thanks this holiday as I tear into a delicious vegan pizza. Because why not choose cruelty free when you can?

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone. Stay safe. 

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