Inevitably

What is it about me and Christmas?

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was gifted with kidney stones.

This year, Christmas began with a headache and mild nausea. A couple of Ibuprofen took care of the first, and breakfast largely resolved the latter. The lassitude and general unwillingness to move I blamed on “weekend” and “interrupted sleep due to pre-Christmas work schedules.” All went well until late evening, when the shivers started.

A couple of minutes, I could have blamed on the not-so-great insulation in our walls–nighttime temperatures around here have been in the low forties lately–but when they go on for the larger part of an hour, one has to admit to sickness. In any year that didn’t begin with “202”, I’d have said “seasonal flu” and retired to my bed. Not this decade, of course.

Sunday, I skipped breakfast–a once-every-half-decade-or-so event–because the thought of anything with any sugar in it made me a bit green around the gills. Fortunately, the chills had stopped, because finding my way to a testing center* while shivering violently would have been problematic. Pre-emptively called out sick to work for my Monday shift, ate a small dinner with no dessert, and basically fell asleep, rousing only to feed felines.

* Big “thank you”s to the person who recommended that testing center and to the staff who explained how to work the system so they could take me as a walk-in.

Felt much more functional on Monday. Got the results in the afternoon and, no surprise, they were positive*. So, despite being almost back to normal–as I write this on Tuesday, I’ve got a sore throat and am intermittently sneezy; at this rate of improvement, I should feel fine by the end of the week–I’m sidelined for an indefinite period.

* For the record, Maggie got tested on Tuesday, despite being largely asymptomatic, and we expect to get official word of her status sometime today.

Naturally, this has been playing out against the backdrop of the CDC’s new recommendation for shorter quarantines. Will they be adopted by my corporate masters? Or, more importantly, by my cow-orkers? They really ought to have some say in the matter.

Because, frankly, it’s only a matter of time before COVID-19 nails them too–as several people have said, it’s a minor miracle it took this long for me to get it–and I fully support what I assume is their desire to put it off as long as possible.

Regardless, the weirdest thing about the whole experience so far has been how normal it’s felt, and how matter-of-fact everybody has been about it.

“Hey, I’ve contracted a potentially life-threatening disease, and I might have given it to you, too.” “Don’t sweat it. Get lots of rest and feel better.”

I mean, yes, I’m fully vaxxed and boostered. It’s probably omicron*.

* The next person who tells me that omicron’s comparatively mild symptoms mean the end of COVID-19 is near is getting smacked across the face. The next variant could have omicron’s breakthrough infection abilities with symptoms as severe (or even worse) than the original strain. And the next person who refuses to get vaccinated because “omicron isn’t so bad” gets a baseball bat to the head–if you’re not vaccinated, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get omicron, rather than some other variant when your number comes up.

But still.

It’s not that people seem numb. It’s just, COVID-19 has become normal. A part of daily life.

And it’s putting me off balance. I expected to feel more alarm.

4 thoughts on “Inevitably

  1. Holy shit. I am alarmed and sorry to hear this.

    I am yea lucky in that I am my own employer and already drawing Social Security, and my partner’s job can be done perfectly efficiently from his office upstairs. We have been battened down ever since the weekend before Christmas when Omicron data started rolling in earnest, essentially returning to the level of precaution we adopted when there was no vaccine. I expect we will stay this way as long as it takes to get a specific booster or the universal coronavirus vaccine that the Department of Defense is said to be developing — a nanoparticle that has capacity against TWENTY FOUR coronaviruses and is currently in early human trials, apparently.

    Meanwhile, god DAMN it employers need to take this seriously and everyone needs to take this seriously and can I have a baseball bat? My partner’s stepmother just droned that “the vaccine is working because Omicron only causes mild symptoms in vaccinated people” and I want to shot-put her. But that would mean personal contact and she’s several states away, fortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but what can a poor, helpless national retail chain do? Seriously, when the (still blocked by the courts) national vaccine mandate was announced, my employer’s internal forum immediately filled up with threats of lawsuits if the company terminated anyone for not being vaccinated.

      And if you think the store managers’ comments were awful, you should have seen what the frontline employees were saying.

      I’m 100% sure my place of employment was not unique in this.

      Anyway, all one can do is protect oneself as much as possible. Get your shots and wear a mask in public is a minimum (and free!), not a maximum. Do what you can.

      As for the bat, I strongly recommend aluminum over wood for this application. They’re much easier to clean and sanitize after use. Amazon has several models under $20–just check the estimated delivery date before ordering. Given current supply chain issues, I wouldn’t recommend anything that isn’t available for immediate delivery.

      Liked by 1 person

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