December 27, 2022
Forced by COVID to isolate and wear masks, during the height of the pandemic I remained free of respiratory infections which normally plagued me once or twice a year. The two cases of COVID that I experienced during the pandemic years were mild compared to my usual illnesses. The one time that I sensed a cold coming on, I had to think hard about how to treat it, and thwarted it early.
Thus it was annoying that upon return from a hectic December weekend in Chicago, I was felled with bronchitis and sinus infection. We had masked and tried to stay away from the risk of crowds, but the combination of travel, cold weather, poor diet, and alcohol lowered my immunity. Naively I hoped a good night’s sleep in my own bed would ward off illness. But the inflammation in my lungs as white blood cells waged war against the evil bacteria kept me awake. By the next morning, I knew I was sick. What to do? At some point I remembered that I would take zinc to contain the infection. Although I tried, it was too late. Two days later and three days prior to Christmas, I decided to beat the holiday rush and visited urgent care. Antibiotic, cough syrup, and inhaler in hand, I settled into my room. The day before Christmas, I went through an entire box of Kleenex, carpeting the floor with tissues. By Christmas day, I was able to join the family for a low-key celebration before retreating back to bed.
I hear from my friends and family that COVID and other illnesses are rampant right now. So far, Mike is the only inhabitant of our house to escape illness. But it ain’t over yet. There is still time for him to jump on the bandwagon.
I will say it for all of us: I am sick of sick. I am sick of preventing sick. I fear that masks will be a permanent accessory, that avoidance of crowds or at least awareness of risk will flavor our lives. In the history of mankind, three years is but a dot on the calendar. In the autumn of my life, three years feels like a decade. A decade I can’t get back.
Excuse me while I blow my nose.