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I caught COVID-19 over the holidays. I'm not sure where I picked it up, but I do know I had become more lax in my precautions.

I'd stopped wearing a mask everywhere I went. I wasn't being as diligent in washing my hands routinely. I wasn't social distancing, although I did still try and avoid crowds.

Truth is, I was getting tired -- worn to a nub by two years of the coronavirus outbreak. I was vaccinated but had not yet received my booster.

Fortunately for me, my symptoms have been mild. The first night I developed a fever was probably the worst.

I began to feel a little off while watching the Packers-Vikings game. My infant son was asleep on my chest, unknown to me at the time being exposed to the virus.

That night I fell asleep on the couch and awoke in the middle of the night with intense chills and a 102.1 fever.

I developed a cough. Runny nose. A little shortness of breath.

But five days later, I began to feel no worse than if I'd had a common cold. While sitting in our back bedroom, with little else to do, I began to think about things.

It's surreal and a little sobering to have a virus that has killed 831,000 Americans and 9,256 Arkansans. One morning I woke up hacking up gunk, which briefly clogged my airways, and I couldn't help but imagine that moment, but stretched out over days, struggling to breathe through a layer of phlegm to the point I no longer can and they have to put me in the ground.

A friend of mine reached out to let me know another friend of ours died from the virus a week ago.

His story was not like mine.

And I have to remember as tough as this is, there are so many for whom it was tougher. I scrolled back through my phone, looked at text messages from people who died from the virus. One from Jody Jenkins, Atkins Superintendent and my former junior high football coach, who died from the virus in 2020, texted me a week before he died, "I've felt worse from the flu."

So I sat there thinking, "Well, I've also felt worse from the flu. Am I about to crash?"

So far, so good. Every day I have been incrementally better. I've even been able to get some work done. It's tough though to remember that this wasn't the case for so many. 

Some anecdotal evidence for you: My 6-year-old was recently vaccinated and did not catch the virus. My wife was boosted and did not catch the virus. My 9-month-old baby, through a miracle of God, did not catch the virus, despite sleeping on my chest for several hours when I first began showing symptoms.

While I have the platform: Shout out to my wife, who has had to do everything alone for the past week while I am sick. She's handled it with grace. Honestly, I'm a little worried she's going to finally realize she doesn't need me at all to get things done. 

Joking. 

But for real. I'm blessed. 

This new wave of COVID is far more contagious than the last. Be safe. Be well. And most of all be kind.