Christmas Covid

For over two years, I dodged the bullet, but Covid finally caught up with me.

Suitcase was all packed in readiness for a family Christmas. My daughter was picking me up, I’d take her to the Spa for lunch, we’d cross the Causeway to the airport and pick up my grandson; then off to Lakewood Ranch for a five-day family Christmas.

A scratchiness in my throat warned me; I haven’t had a cold for twenty years. So just in case, I got out the swab kit, and saw the dreaded two lines of Covid.

Not fair! When Covid was rampant, I was one of the really cautions ones. Always masked in public, and socialized with a pod of about six friends or relatives, all of whom were fanatics of CDC protocol. Nobody came within breathing distance of us, an elbow or fist bump were rare. And we only hugged immediate family. In addition to Zoom, we would visit in front yards, or the parks, with lawn chairs six feet apart. We were making the best of it in our own little pods. We listened to live music and danced on the Spa veranda, keeping our distance from those outside our group.

Gradually, with the advent of vaccines and boosters, our confidence rose. We added outdoor dining at Water Oak to our repertoire. We went grocery shopping unmasked, and began traveling by air to out of town relatives. Little by little, life was beginning to normalize. And the ingrown need for human touch began to seem less risky.

It was early 2022, and fully vaccinated, craving increased human connectedness, I tiptoed into a more inclusive social environment. Back in Covid days.  Back during Covid. Speaking of Covid as if in the past made it easier. I added some indoor restaurants to my list of hangouts. On Third Friday, and in the clubs, I threw my arms around friends who, a year ago, I would only have fist bumped. The warmth of human embrace made me feel as if the new normal might emerge into something good.

Christmas Covid. Bam!

My mind catapulted back to early 2020 pre-vaccine days, when my children’s father died of Covid.

Stuffy nose and heavy fatigue, my only symptoms. Post-cancer immune system already returned to normal, and I had no comorbid illnesses. I’m in the at-risk age group, but thanks to the vaccines and boosters, along with inherent good health, I was enduring discomfort, but not risking death. Yes, I definitely dodged the bullet. Feeling grateful that I beat the odds at my age.

On Christmas eve, I crawled out of bed at five o’clock, divested of pjs, showered, put on a nice outfit, and most importantly, makeup. When I showed up on the family Zoom cocktail hour, I displayed an ideal image of vitality: “Mommy, you don’t look at all sick.” Of course, I paid for it by draggin’ ass throughout the next day, but the family energy felt so darned good. On December 26, my daughter, son in-law, and grandkids showed up at my doorstep and dropped off containers of every dish from the missed Christmas meal.

Throughout the five-day quarantine, friends boosted me with encouragement via Facebook, texts, and phone calls. My new neighbors retrieved a daily bag of trash hanging on my doorknob. There was no shortage of advice from Covid alumni.

Christmas Covid, was, indeed, a bummer. (In the privacy of my home, I had two major temper tantrums). But I realized that five days of Covid quarantine was a small price to pay for the past nine months of hugging beloved friends and family.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
Author of “You Can Go Home Again

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