Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Another one bites the dust

There I was feeling very self satisfied. I had survived over two years of COVID without even getting a cold. It is dangerous to get complacent. Mind you, I didn't really. I didn't drop my guard. We always wear masks in public, and we are rarely in public.

This month I finally got to visit my family in Ireland for the first time in three years. I masked in the shuttle to the airport, though the driver was not masked and I was the only passenger. I masked in all three airports; Austin, Atlanta and Dublin. You can't get more public than that, and almost no one was masked, including airline staff. I was masked on the two flights; again, almost no one was masked, including cabin crew and the flights were full. Of course, I took my mask off to eat/drink, so that was a risk area. The food was so awful it was a very short space of time maskless, and I understand that planes do have HEPA ventilation. 

I was staying with my sister and we had a large family reunion which was almost entirely outdoors, as Dublin was enjoying unusually good weather. Though yes, there was a lot of hugging, and no, there were no masks. And yes, a lot of young children.

Two days after the family gathering I woke up with a vile sore throat. As mentioned, I was staying with my sister. I messaged her, across the hall and told her to stay away from me and asked her to get me a rapid test kit. She dropped that outside the bedroom door. Sure enough, positive without a doubt. What a huge disappointment, and embarrassment. What if I infected my family? Wait, who did I contact it from? Of course no way of knowing and really, it didn't matter at this point. I was more concerned about who I had infected. My plans to meet up with old friends over the course of the next week were immediately canceled.

All that day and the next, my sister deposited trays of food and drink outside the bedroom door; for good measure I had the bedroom window open all the time and wore an N95 mask when opening the door to pick up the tray. To no avail. on the third day my sister tested positive. At least I was able to join her downstairs but that was small compensation.

Luckily I had nine days before my flight home and with luck would test negative two days before that. I was counting on it because a quick search online revealed that there were almost no alternative flights for the week following my departure date. Also luckily, I had been vaccinated and double boosted so my symptoms were mild and what I experienced was similar to a mild cold. Silver linings to be sure. The best of all was that my sister and I spent an entire week relaxing and catching up. Digging up memories from our childhood and laughing together like the children we still felt we were inside these old bodies.

And at least I had loaded my Kindle with books for the trip. I am never bored when I have my Kindle. Except when Amazon fails miserably to supply decent customer support see this post which describes how my Amazon account was frozen, resulting in my Kindle being deregistered and unusable. My sister purchased me a book that she had read and highly recommended. I can't remember when I read a real, paper book. I am looking forward to this one.

Perhaps I will be cured of my dependency on the Kindle and even Amazon; that would definitely save some money.

It was with considerable apprehension I tested two days before my flight. As expected, and hoped, the test was negative and I was ready to pack my bags and bid farewell to my home country and my sister. 

One final negative test the day of my flight and I was good to go. 

Until the next time. Trip that is! Not COVID! I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. The sore throat and nasal congestion was similar to a head cold, even the slight cough was not worth complaining about. Stomach issues were inconvenient but so too is COVID. It is the head fog that is truly horrible, and you don't realize it is there until it finally lifts and you can think and feel human again. 

When I say I don't wish it on my worst enemy I have to say that anyone stupid enough to not get vaccinated deserves it. That may sound callous but how to we eradicate this awful disease when there are so many people aiding and abetting its tenure?

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