I have to admit that during covid-19 I pretty much abandoned my hopes of continuing my travel blog. I live in a situation where I could not go anywhere without compromising the people that I loved; and therefore, travel has been problematic.
Now that we are on the cusp of a world in which there is a vaccine that will hopefully work, and all the places that I want to go will open back up to me because I now have agency in moving across the world, I want to begin my blog by stating that I believe in us as a people. I don't just mean my own City, my own State, Nation, or even continent. I believe in the world, even though we made a lot of mistakes concerning this pandemic. We had a terrible crisis. This crisis pushed us to fight one another, to cut ourselves off from each other, and to live lives that were very different than just one year ago. Still, we have persevered.
I want to tell you my covid story.
We went to Disneyland on March 11, 2020.
When we left the house, covid was something happening ‘there’, and was really not something that we were thinking about too much. It had been mentioned, but it wasn't really a primary concern. We knew that it existed, but we also knew, or at least believe, that it was pretty much under control.
No one was wearing masks yet, and the best advice that we had was to make sure not touch surfaces and to wash our hands for 20 seconds.
Standing in one of the bathrooms on our little day trip made me realize that 20 seconds could be a very long time. A woman standing next to me at the sinks in the bathroom looked over as we both worked on our 20 second hand wash and laughed, and laughed in return when she mentioned that 20 seconds could be a very long time.
The thing was I was in the bathroom quite a bit that day. My tummy seemed to be just a little upset, but that was not actually all that abnormal. We enjoyed our day immensely, and we were at peace with all of our experiences, and it had been a nice, relaxed day. We didn't push ourselves to do things that had long lines, neither did we worry about the fact that we were having this experience.
As we were driving home, my throat began to feel a little sore. That actually isn't all that unusual either, because sometimes certain types of flowers will give me a little bit of an allergic reaction, but the soreness was getting increasingly worse.
When we got home, the news was lit up with the fact that Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for covid 19.
I don't know why, but this was not the first time in my life that a celebrity diagnosis had made something real for me. During the 80s when the HIV Crisis began to ramp up, it was the knowledge that a certain celebrity had tested positive that suddenly made HIV seem real. It wasn’t just happening to the faceless other, it was happening to people that had names. The same is true for covid 19, and I suddenly realized that it was a very real problem.
Meanwhile, my sore throat turned into cold symptoms, and eventually I was pretty sick.
Except, it wasn't really a cold. It wasn't really the flu either. For 3 weeks I was sick every single day, and it took a while to recover after that 3 weeks. I called the doctor, but because of the pandemic it was ill-advised to go into the office, and I also wasn't eligible for a test because I hadn't been out of the country.
Two nights during that three week period I contemplated going to the hospital because it was hard to breathe, but we are over an hour away from the hospital, and I had to weigh the effects of having someone drive me that hour to the hospital against whether or not it was just something that I could get through on my own.
Luckily, I got through on my own.
At the same time, I was marveling at the fact that a generic liquid cold medicine actually tasted okay. Instead of feeling like I was going to gag, it went down just fine.
When I started to get better after that 3 weeks, I suddenly realized that the stuff tasted awful.
It occurred to me that I had lost my sense of taste.
Because of the types of symptoms that I had, my doctor believes that I had covid-19. I believe that as well, because I have never in my life taken three weeks to get over the type of symptoms that I experienced.
I knew it wasn't an average cold, and I knew it wasn't the flu.
I also knew because I started getting sick on the way home from our trip to Disneyland that I didn’t get it there. Actually, it is likely that I had it there because of the gastrointestinal symptoms that I had that day.
My guilt is overwhelming. How many people did I infect?
It's possible I was my own superspreader event.
Once we suspected that I was sick at all, I isolated myself in my bedroom, my meals brought to me by my guy friend, who wiped everything down with antiseptic and I'm pretty sure he boiled his hands, or at least scalded them pretty frequently.
Thankfully, neither he nor his father got sick.
I'm grateful that there is a vaccine. I am grateful that hopefully next week I will qualify to be able to take that vaccine, and when I finally have access, I can get back to doing the things that make this blog so much fun. I couldn't write about travel when I couldn't actually travel. I certainly have no problem writing about things I did in the past, but it was with a certain amount of grief with the fact that isolation and staying at home orders were a part of our present. I knew that I would write too much about the effects of the pandemic, and while I am indulging this right now, this is the last that I'm going to write about covid-19 and travel. It will come up, because it is not over, but I don't want to again have to write specifically about the virus.
Hopefully, it will be a feature of life from this point on, and not the core of it.