It’s 2 a.m. on a chilly mid-March morning, and I am tossing and turning on my bed, hoping I’m not disturbing Teresa, my wife, peacefully sleeping next to me.
Unbearable aches accompany my fever, which just jumped from low grade to 39C and persistent chills now violently shake my body. The past three days, I’ve been lethargic and a little achy, but I chalked those up to a touch of flu.
Now, I suddenly fear the worst: thoughts of the coronavirus flood my mind.
The symptoms got overwhelming, and a day later, I awoke to a splitting headache and pain in my lungs. Suffice it to say things did not get better. I was forced to see a doctor. I soon found myself in the emergency department at Royal Jubilee Hospital and in quarantine.
Two weeks later, I felt better. I chalked up the lingering symptoms to the fact I’d done nothing but sat or sleep. I thought a run would be the thing to get me going. Indeed, it did get things going: my symptoms returned.
Seven months have gone by since I walked into the ER for treatment. I still have some symptoms: cough and fatigue, but they’re dissipating, however slowly. I’m one of the lucky ones.
I still don’t know how I caught COVID-19. I likely never will.
Small mercies are big blessings when you’re a lucky one. Eighty per cent of Covidites have mild symptoms and recover in two weeks.
Still, I shake my head at those who won’t listen to medical advice and are openly willing to take the risk of contracting COVID-19. I suppose, statistically, it will probably be fine for you.
But please also know, whatever you think of your own life and however much risk you are willing to take on for yourself, that’s not how this works.
What you need to consider if you continue to downplay this virus is this: think about the person you most love in this life, the person you most cherish and most care for – that’s the person who you may lose.
You can say I’m not afraid to get COVID, especially after months of “bubbles” and self-isolation from family and friends. But you don’t get that choice – it will likely be the most important person you care about in the world, and how can you bear that?
Whatever you do, don’t get this thing. Please do whatever you can from getting it. That means practice physical distancing, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask.
For Christmas this year, no one should expect to spend the holidays in a typical way. That means office parties and big family gatherings are out of the question. And that’s not so bad if you or someone in your family doesn’t get COVID-19.
“There’s hope. We will have Christmas. It’ll look different,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week. “There’s not going to be a vaccine here that’s going to save the day by Christmas. There’s no one thing that we can do that’s going to make this all go away.”
COVID-19 is as scary as hell.
Take those careful precautions laid out by the Health Ministry and don’t get this virus or pass it on to someone you love.
And where a mask. Just wear a mask.
Kevin Laird is editor of the Sooke News Mirror.