February 28, 2020...
Dinner on the outdoor patio at Chuy's in North Austin - not to be safe, but because here in Texas we often have gorgeous weather in February (we also have terrible weather, but that was not the case three years ago) - with my niece, an emergency room medical professional who was at the time based in Seattle.
She was for the weekend here on business. My husband and I took her to dinner on Friday evening before her meetings on Saturday and Sunday. As we caught up over chips, queso, and their famous jalapeño ranch dip, her phone blew up. Her colleagues in the Pacific Northwest were seeing reports of a strange respiratory virus in the ER, and said she would need to come back to work pretty much the moment she landed.
|Covid positive - February 23, 2023|
As I have previously noted, while this started as a jewelry blog it has evolved over the past eight years; because it's mine I can and will write about other things including policy and social issues if I want to...and that's what I'm doing here.
Before I launch into my tirade...
I want to express my gratitude to every single person working - now and from the beginning - in the fight to protect us from this disease, many of them before I ever heard of it.
Thanks to those people I am vaccinated (a total of 5 doses, because I'm over 50), taking Paxlovid to shorten both the duration of the virus and - fingers crossed - prevent any long-term adverse effects.
For three years, I managed to avoid catching Covid. I know this definitively because I participated in the Texas Cares antibody study, and as of my blood draw last October, my fourth, I had no infection antibodies.
We (my husband, immediate family, and close friends) have been careful - I mean VERY careful - from the beginning because I have some underlying health conditions (which are well controlled with diet, exercise, and medication) that put me at higher risk of long term disability or dying if I contract the virus.
|Dec 1, 2021 - wearing my Livinguard mask -|
waiting to board my flight to St. Thomas
When our daughter came home from grad school during the first fall of the pandemic - before vaccines - she got a PCR test before she traveled, then waited five days before getting another one at a drive through testing site in Austin, to make sure she was negative. In between those tests we wore masks in the house, ate separately or outside, and kept our distance.
For my first foray back into the big wide world at the end of 2021, I got a PCR test before heading to St. Thomas with my girlfriends (because a negative test was required to enter the USVI). When I returned home, I followed the same protocol - despite being vaccinated and boosted - until I had a negative test.
As soon as they were available, we ordered our at home test kits - first from Amazon and then from the Post Office (thanks, Joe Biden), continued to wear our masks, and started get back out into the real world. We had Thanksgiving with our kids, we went to DC to make wedding plans...and then later to celebrate, I went on another girls' trip, my husband returned to doing group bike rides and our daughter attended professional conferences and her (now) sister-in-law's bridal shower weekend.
The three of us were all Covid unicorns until December; our daughter got caught up in the Southwest snow storm debacle and was stranded in LA airports for two and a half days. Despite taking every precaution, she was around too many people in concentrated spaces for too long, and popped positive a few days after finally getting back to her home by train (she never did make it to our house over winter break).
Sad, but not surprising...she was around a lot of random people, and as we all know entirely too many Americans think the pandemic is over. She took Paxlovid, slowly got back to living her normal life, and seems to have avoided any long term consequences. We haven't seen her since Thanksgiving - which makes me mad, but not blog post mad - hopefully we'll be able to get her home to Austin for a few days soon.
|Xiao Qi Ji in his yard, enjoying a treat, |
on a particularly nice February day
As I said earlier, we've been careful since the pandemic began, but we made a point of being extra careful the couple of weeks before our trip. We tested before we left, we masked in the airport, on the plane and metro, made a point of doing most of our sight seeing outside - we had a great day at the National Zoo - and an absolutely lovely long weekend.
We came home and tested negative (and as far as I know, so did everyone we were with over those five days...including at the 4 year old birthday party). Yay for being vaccinated and careful, and returning to a little bit of normal.
Here's why I'm blog post mad...
a week later, both my husband and I got sick, canceled plans and isolated...and I'm pissed as hell.
We tested when we got home both because it's the responsible thing to do and because he had committed to making a trip to help a family member the weekend after our return.
We failed to heed the wisdom (paraphrased here) of Thomas Aquinas that no good deed goes unpunished.
It was a very short trip...he was there less than 24 hours, and that was all it took for him to be exposed.
|@NewYorkerCartoons on Instagram|
We care about these people - they are our family; they both have autoimmune conditions and take immunosuppressing medications. We have ordered tests for them from the post offices, and masks from the same place we ordered ours. We have pleaded with them to be careful and protect themselves...and they did not...so now, we have all been sick, and I am angry.
Fortunately we my husband and I were prescribed Paxlovid and have tested negative again...now we wait to see if we have long Covid symptoms.
Covid doesn't care if you live in a nice house. Covid doesn't care if you believe in God. Covid doesn't care about your political views, what kind of car you drive, whether you have a college education, or anything else that makes you privileged. Covid is an equal opportunity virus...and it's not going away.
I still wear a mask when I go inside the Post Office or UPS store, to get a haircut or into the credit union - anyplace where someone I don't know might be standing next to me - I get a lot of side eye...and I don't give a you know what...(I'd swear, but this is a family blog).
I hope I make a full recovery, it's going to take a while to know..and I'll keep wearing my mask, getting my boosters, and writing about whatever I want.
Until next time.