Updated: 6 days ago
I was at work and I remember now how painful it was to walk up a flight of stairs. I went three steps up and had to pause because my body felt exhausted and the pain in my knee joint was many levels above where it normally registered. Three more steps up, panting. “Man am I out of shape” I said to myself. I made a mental note to hopefully exercise more. Later while taking a shower it was difficult to twist and wash all the parts of my body. Difficulty catching my breath when lifting my hands to wash my hair. Tingles firing all around my arms from my elbows to my fingertips. “If I’m having a heart attack, well, I hope not.” The thought washed away with no alarm bells ringing in my head. Just a sad malaise remaining. Dried myself off and had to sit for several minutes until I could catch my breath. I spent the next five minutes talking to my son about where my finances and insurance could be located. He called his mom and told her he was worried about me. Back at work, don’t remember if this was before or after the other events, the days seem to swirl around and envelope each other. Somewhere during all this or shortly thereafter, lock-down was imposed. I was laid off from work. I remember having trouble focusing on my work, as if I had been up for three days and was wanting sleep but I wasn’t tired. I could not concentrate on what I was doing. Couldn’t remember how everything worked in the intricate system around me. A calm panic flooded through me, wondering if I had suffered a stroke. Wasn’t worried about the stroke, que sera sera bravado. But what about my job? Will someone notice? How can I keep working? The malaise. Leaving the house, “the air sure smells clean and odorless today. I love springtime.” Just bought a fresh, hot, delicious looking bratwurst. “That’s weird, there’s absolutely no flavor. Looks like a bratwurst, chews like a bratwurst, texture like the juiciest best bratwurst I’ve ever had but with zero flavor. Damn I smoke too much.” Woke one morning, with a constricted chest, like a python had wrapped around me and had tightened to the point of where I couldn’t breath. No, I could breath in and out, not a python, but the pressure upon my entire chest would not go away. Heavy pressure, not acute just very heavy pressure, like an anvil placed upon it. Two advils and the pressure went away but the feeling lingered all the rest of the day and into the next.... Then there’s the squirrel woke me one morning, scurrying around in my room. Kneels down about two feet in front of me and puts hands over ears lowering head all the way to the ground. I lose interest. Squirrel comes and sits next to me like two best buds just watching the world go bye. Squirrel doesn’t practice social distancing, less than six inches separate us. I play with his tail, dangling a sock into the furry curl. Swishes tail. Repeat, Squirrel swishes tail. Repeat, Squirrel snatches sock out of my hand with claws and teeth. Awkward pause. My hand stealthily sneaks up on sock, snatching it quickly from underneath squirrel. Awkward pause. Squirrel suddenly yet casually lopes away, disappearing not to return. Wow, I’ve found my spirit animal.
I think Tylex saved my life while I was cleaning the shower. The chlorine bleach vapors must have burned off the macrophages coating my lungs. I still recall the heavy irritation. Maybe President Trump was on to something? Hmm. Don’t remember having a fever. It was very warm one day. No headaches, strange, usually have a sinus pressure headache once a week or so. No dry cough, maybe smoker’s cough now and again, nothing out of the ordinary.
I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then. Around April 13 is when new symptoms started being reported in the media. Looking back I see I had three of what are emergency symptoms to check yourself into a hospital immediately. I’m not exactly sure when realization set in, I’ve survived the Coronavirus. And it has left me feeling ashamed and scared and mad. Last week I woke up with a panic attack. I couldn’t catch my breath! It was back! I couldn’t get enough air! I jumped out of bed to rush for help, to get myself to a hospital. Quickly, realization that this was most likely just part of a dream. Slow your breathing, calm yourself. Everything’s OK. Where was the panic when I was infected and sick? When I thought I was having a heart attack? When I thought I had a stroke! Why was I at work everyday! Oh my god that pregnant woman! I had stopped and chatted with her. How can I ever say I’m sorry!
How could I not have connected the dots?
I’m just like Donald Trump and I hate myself for it. “I take no responsibility at all.” If I had washed my hands more frequently. If I had worn a mask! I knew better and did nothing! I failed to set an example for those around me!
How can I make things better? Ain’t it funny how you revisit your values after a brush with death? One weekend Donald Trump is making bizarre tweets and suggesting injecting disinfectant. I’ve been there buddy!
But we’re talking about bullies. Covid 19 is a bully. And it left me feeling ashamed, scared and mad. Mad that we didn’t read the warning sign when China locked down an entire province of 60 million people. Mad that it was allowed to come swaggering into our playground uninvited. Mad that we’ve waited as long as we have to declare it a bully and madder still that we seem to have resolved to co-exist with it saying just stay out of the bully’s way.
Donald Trump is a bully. President Trump Violated Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1621 & 2387. Why aren’t we doing something about him? #oathgate