My Experience with COVID
Well, the bug finally bit me.
In spite of being vaccinated, I managed to test positive for the coronavirus earlier this month, and was homebound for a week. The day I got tested, I thought that a busy workweek and general exhaustion triggered a run-of-the-mill cold with a sore throat. Since I was vaccinated and didn't go to any large social gatherings (especially not Art Basel) I thought that taking a COVID test was going to simply affirm that I was negative and enable me to return to work after taking an extra day off to recuperate.
Evidently, this was not the case.
I was never under the impression that COVID was a relic of the past, but perhaps I harbored the false idea that I had successfully dodged being directly impacted. However, as I saw that red square highlight the word "POSITIVE" on my test result, the fantasy of successfully outrunning this illness was quickly replaced with the reality of quarantine.
Naturally, I was highly upset. The plans that I had were ruined. Clients that I was looking forward to serving were at a loss. The Sunday brunch I had been looking forward to for weeks was canceled. Plus, I felt like I was swallowing fire while recovering from being hit by a train. For the first few days, I curled up in bed and fed myself a steady diet of chicken soup, tea, and Tylenol to alleviate my pain and hoped that things wouldn't get any worse than this. While I was confident that being vaccinated would protect me from things taking a tragic turn, I am not under the delusion that COVID is completely benign.
Even so: as I recovered, I couldn't help but be incredibly grateful. I had the luxury of a comfortable room to rest in with no shortage of ways to entertain myself thanks to a strong WiFi connection and stacks of books and magazines at my disposal. My mother was there to help, ensuring that I ate, rested, and even laughed through the long days. Family and friends checked in on me offering a kind word alongside their heartfelt concern. Once my symptoms abated, I took the time to catch up on some cleaning, budgeting, and independent coursework that I had been meaning to complete for ages. I was able to stream Shabbat services via Central Synagogue and watch a rabbi who marched with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receive aliyah, an event that was nothing short of historic. I even watched a few movies, which is something I rarely ever do because, with the exception of this development, two hours in front of a screen seemed like such a waste in the midst of the constant "get up and go" energy that permeates my life. In a world where others are not as fortunate to have these resources, it was not lost on me that my situation was better than most, and for this reason I am incredibly grateful.
As I now return to my life, COVID-free and ready to roll, reflecting on my experience has given me a new perspective on what could have easily been a horror story. What COVID temporarily took from me in health and work was given back to me in the gift of time, and I was able to use it to rest, reassess, and reprioritize what I want my life to look like once it resumes. COVID has one so much to change our world for the worst, and yet in some way I was able to find the gift in it. This not to say that this is the case with everyone, as others have lost their lives or loved ones to this illness, and for these people I have the utmost compassion. Even so, when things don't work out as expected and we're faced with unpleasant surprises, may we all still find the good and look toward the light in what may appear to be the darkest of times.