Photo: BA50 Bloggers Writing Retreat
I truly thought we were done. I foolishly thought we were done. After being vaccinated and boostered I felt like I had a shield around me. But then I went on a two-night retreat sharing a house and meals and lots of glorious writing and even more glorious laughter with seven other vaxxed women. It felt so good and so back-to-normal again… until it wasn’t.
Three days after we got home the group text dinged: ‘Hi All, I wanted to let you know I tested positive for COVID today. I woke up feeling achy and took a rapid test…. I feel absolutely terrible about this and hoping and praying that I picked this up after I was with you…’
Thus began the mad scramble to find rapid tests (gone-nope-sorry) and appointments for a PCR. Out of eight of us, one other of us tested positive. After testing three times, I was not that one other. But the doubts and uncertainty of the past eighteen months came flooding back like a firestorm. What if. What if… Apparently I had exhaled too soon. I was not invincible, we were not invincible, the vaccine is not a suit of armor and the danger of Covid is still lurking.
I’m of the age and health where in spite of my vaccination status, Covid still could be pretty dire. While I wasn’t distraught I was still pretty distressed. . I had stopped being diligent about mask-wearing but I had to resume. I started to pay attention to the numbers again..to the ‘hot spots.’ I had to rethink choices I’ve made of where I’ve been and where I’m going.
‘Hi Kathy. It’s Liz. It pains me to write this but out of an abundance of caution Jack and I will not be able to attend Susanna and John’s wedding. I was exposed to Covid last week. I tested negative but it rattled the shit out of me’… I pressed send and prayed my dear friend would understand my decision not to attend her son’s wedding in Boston the upcoming weekend.
This was the first wedding we’d been invited to since Covid. When we got the save-the-date last summer, I clutched the card to my chest and wept. Finally, we were seeing our way back. Hugging and dancing and socially un-distancing were going to make us joyful again. I wrote about it in a BA50 blog a few months ago, waxing on about my beautiful hot pink jumpsuit, my silver sparkly shoes, my brush-the-shoulder earrings. I made the nail appointment, facial appointment and hair appointment. I was ready for my comeback… until I wasn’t. My nerves, my fears, my anxiety all got the better of me. I wasn’t ready to be in a large crowd whose vaccine status was unknown. I’m not sure that would have even mattered anyway. My gut was telling me not to go and I’ve always been one to follow my gut.
Thankfully, my friend was more than gracious to our cancellation. I do have a feeling that we were not the only ones. Now I’m left with another choice, another dilemma. I have concert tickets in Boston this upcoming weekend. Again, bought months ago. The theatre venue has a proof-of-vaccine and mandatory mask policy. These do give me some measure of comfort. But still.. Getting-or spreading- Covid scare me equally.
I’ll watch the numbers this week. I’ll see how I feel: how I sleep is usually a pretty good gauge for me so let’s see how that goes. I’m left thinking.. will this unsettled feeling be something that will always be with us from here on in? Is this something we just have to live with? And once again the voice in my head is back on loud volume..
GOD DAMN YOU COVID!
December 11, 2021
Addendum: So I did attend that concert in Boston. With my three (much younger) nieces. Although vaccination proof was required, no one checked. Ditto for masks once seated. We were in tight quarters, dancing and singing along. After we went to three bars. THREE! More dancing, making new friends and hugging! Strangers!! The next morning I woke up in the hotel room and thought ‘wtf did I do last night?’ I was completely irresponsible, no excuses. Except Jesus, it felt good. IT FELT SO DAMN GOOD. Five days later I’ve tested negative. Feeling fine. Going to test again in two days. Fingers crossed. I’m hoping I dodged a bullet.