It isn’t a hoax

Some folks asked me to continue updating my Covid experience. If it will help provide a reality check on a real-life experience, I don’t mind doing it. For those not interested, do not feel obligated to read this.

My husband and I are still wandering around our intriguing Covid journey. We are almost past wondering if the next shoe is going to drop. Almost.

I have a cough that hangs on and we are both still amazed over the extreme fatigue. We now understand we can do one thing a day. Unpack one box. Play with one horse (or scoop poop – one or the other). Pay a few bills. Talk to one or two friends (I apologize for un-returned calls.) I’m navigating energy conservation after 1 p.m. This is a very strange new world.

I can attest to the “surprises” that appear or linger almost two months after Covid. Blood-pressure fluctuations and gastric issues with my husband. The “hand-pushing-on-my-chest” feeling I have almost every night. We are both much better but ask ourselves daily, “When will this be over?”

This virus is not a hoax. We are now going into the equivalent of a 9-11 death toll daily.

I wish this virus on No One. Sincerely, no one. Probably not even my worst enemy (I’ll have to think about that), which leads me into ethics. The health nurse congratulated me that I may (she said MAY) be “safe” for 90 days. Dang… I’m in the sweet spot of Covid. It’s a weird feeling not to feel terrified to go into a store (still masked). Heck, I even considered getting a haircut (not that the cut from my husband and friend was not good.)

That said, I’m no longer horribly worried about us. I wonder about possible damage to my lungs (I’ll get an xray to see) but I suspect we are climbing out of this abyss. However, I’m now experiencing a strange new world of Covid ethics.

There is a surge in the Four Corners. New Mexico is in lockdown, Colorado has gone red and Utah is on the verge of another partial lockdown. The governor of Utah has said no social gatherings outside of people you live with. He is trying to keep the medical system from becoming overwhelmed.

How exactly do we interpret this in our day-to-day living? Is this plea from the governor for other people or does it apply to me? Does this mean I can’t do what I want (gather with friends) or am I an exception because I’m now declared safe? This is puzzling.

I did a survey of some friends and asked if they would participate in a social gathering if it were outdoors with people they know. Some said yes and others (mostly local) said no. It kind of boils down to how we individually choose to interpret the declarations and pleas of our state leaders. They have a finger on the pulse of what is actually occurring in real time. I only see from the optic of my own individual life.

Given the new perspective of being a Covid survivor, I now fear this virus will uncontrollably spread if we continue to think of ourselves as “exceptions” to the rule.

I got sloppy. Not horribly sloppy, but I abbreviated some of my neurotic behavior when I was in Mancos this summer and fall. I think most of us are Covid tired. Dead tired. We want our lives back. We want friends, family and connections. This really sucks. I get it. But… I GOT it. This is not a second-hand experience, it’s mine. And if you really want to know what sucks it’s pulling out your wills after breakfast to go over them. We had no idea if we would become the next fatality or hospitalization.

So, what now? I’m cautiously declared “safe” and theoretically cannot get it or give it. Does this grant me a license to play with friends even though the governor has declared a state of emergency? Do I gamble with infecting others? I think not. I do not want anyone else to get this. Anyone. Ever. This has forced me to look beyond myself. I may be theoretically safe, but is this about me? No, it’s about my friends, my community, and my species. This is how my actions and choices affect friends, family or the grocery store clerk who supports a family on a single income.

One day a book may be written on Covid ethics. I doubt it will be riveting reading. But given this very personal experience, I now hold a poised finger on the unsteady scale of what is right or wrong in unchartered territory.

I think I would rather err on the side of considering others instead of myself. I had this monster in my body. I do not want it in yours.

We are ordinary people who did not require hospitalization but have not just “bounced” back. Please stay safe and think of those in your orbit. Wear a darn mask.

Be safe and be well.

Nancy Schaufele writes from Moab, Utah.

From Nancy Schaufele.