[NOTE: I have no secluded cabin for refuge, but have long hunkered down at home in a manner close to what’s described below. Had two vaxx and three boosters. The beast has missed me so far, but with several near misses; it has hit many friends, and my close family more than once, including just last month. When I go out (not often, mainly shopping, or an occasional furtive meal) I mask a lot. Maybe my biggest advantages are having sort of figured out ZOOM, and being very introverted. With an invisible IV paranoia drip.]
Put your masks back on, please
Opinion by Kathleen Parker — October 28, 2022
CAMDEN, S.C. — There is a tradition in my family of retreating to the woods when illness strikes.
One of my Revolutionary War forefathers, Tarleton Brown of Barnwell, S.C., had to abandon the siege of Augusta in 1781 when he contracted smallpox and returned home, such as it was.
The British, alas, had preceded him, reducing his family’s home to ash and leaving both his father and little brother dead. His mother and sister miraculously escaped both the king’s army and “the Indians,” as he put it in his 1862 memoir, “Memoirs of Tarleton Brown: A Captain of the Revolutionary Army” — a 28-page pamphlet published in New York and “Written by Himself.”
Because no one in his family had previously had smallpox, Brown entered the woods and stayed there for 40 days, lying beneath a large oak and tended only by a Tory woman, according to another account. Once recovered, Brown returned to battle until the war’s end. (The British eventually surrendered Augusta.)
Similarly, if immeasurably more fortunately, I’ve been hunkered down the past two weeks in what we’ve begun calling The Covid Cottage, tending the now-familiar symptoms that seem reluctant to abandon their temporary (I hope) tenancy.
The cottage acquired its name on account of having become sort of a hostel for the sick, my 8-year-old great-niece included..
. . . It’s not exactly Walden Pond, but it’ll do. . . . . Surrounded by woods, the cottage is accessed by dirt road and a wooden bridge. Though less remote than it sounds, the area’s home to countless deer, rafts of geese, several hawks and at least one or two quite vocal owls . . . .
No telling what passes in the night, but morning reveals tracks of varying sizes and sorts that keep me mindful of why I tend to stay indoors once darkness settles so deep and black, only bats can see. Other than a single, dim porch light, there’s no illumination except for an occasional wink from the moon. The quiet is immense.
Maybe nothing’s out there. Maybe everything is. But I’ll tell you what’s everywhere — covid-19, and it smells your fear. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and don’t deceive yourself into thinking we’re all done with it. We’re not by a long shot. Despite our best efforts to thwart the virus that leads to covid — and despite my own adherence to best practices — it got me again. That’s two vaccinations, two boosters, and now, two covids — appropriate for a Libra, I suppose.
This isn’t to suggest that one shouldn’t get the shot and booster. I’m confident that my suffering would have been far greater had I not taken these precautions. The bear of it is that the newest omicron variant doesn’t care. The honey badger of infectious diseases, it will find a way to find you and gobble you up, if you’re not careful.
It also likes to linger, and its victims tend to test positive for longer periods, which translates into longer quarantines. I will say that this time was worse than the previous round, even if experts say this newest version is supposedly “mild.”
Compared with what? Well, smallpox, I’d reckon. I felt very sick for about four days, then slowly better. Also, I’m still testing positive 10 days after symptoms began.
The virus is getting smarter with each new turn, and our bodies and medicines are slow to keep up. What does this mean?
Nobody wants to say this, but I think it means masks are back in order in public spaces and especially in crowded areas. My contagion point was probably a packed art gallery I visited on Saturday, Oct. 15. By Monday night, I had a sore throat; by Tuesday morning, I felt like a plank — immovable with aches, fever, a headache that lasted a week and all the rest.
Today is Oct. 28, and I’m still positive, slightly stuffy, and wondering how much longer before the next variation swings through and isn’t so mild.
If I were you, I’d mask up and get all the shots.