Our stay in Grand Teton National Park ended with a lovely breakfast at Signal Mountain Lodge, and as we went out to the parking lot to depart, we spotted Romeo, a twenty-five-year old bull elk who is a celebrity in the area. It was a nice way to conclude our near week-long trip.
The next morning, Teresa awoke with a cough and general achiness. She had a thought that she might have somehow contracted COVID-19, and a home test confirmed her suspicion. Right back to bed she went, where she slept for hours before waking again feeling worse. She asked me to take her to our local emergency room to see if there was a treatment available to mitigate her symptoms, and two hours later we were home with a box of Paxlovid tablets and a sense of hope. Paxlovid is an experimental oral anti-viral medication that basically stops the virus from replicating, and after just one dose, Teresa felt a little better. Me? I had no symptoms at all, but I knew it was just a matter of time. The attending doctor at the ER recommended that I wait till Monday to test, but she said I could count on being positive.
Sunday night, I felt a scratching in my throat and a little discomfort in my upper back. When I tested myself the next morning, the positive result came as no surprise, and so I called my doctor, and, based on my history of developing tiny pulmonary embolisms (another story), he recommended that I, too, start a Paxlovid regimen.
For the next couple of days, my only real symptom was some considerable nasal congestion (I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow account), and by the time my five-day dosage was gone, so was my discomfort. I never had a fever, never felt general aches and pains or headaches. Teresa and I were both feeling pretty good.
All that being said, it was a wild few days. We were scheduled to fly back to Michigan for my fiftieth plus one class reunion and to see family and other friends. We tried to do the math and determine whether we could isolate for five days, mask up for five more, and travel and visit without endangering the health of our loved ones, but it became clear that a trip home would be problematic in a number of ways.
So, we got to work. We canceled airline, rental car, and hotel reservations. We let the organizers of the reunion know we wouldn’t be attending. Then we made the best of our isolation, consoling ourselves with the knowledge that we were keeping other people safe. It wasn’t easy missing out on seeing folks I hadn’t been with for years, decades in some cases, and we were just a bit ticked off that our diligence for two and half years had been snipped in a twinkling. Yet, we’re old enough to know that life is. Simple as that. No sense in worrying about what had happened. What was going on at the moment was much more important.
Thanks to our good friend Gary and his trusty phone, I was able to connect with about ten classmates on Saturday evening as they celebrated at the Marriott. I sat on our deck, surrounded by the beauty of our yard and garden, and I wished them all the merriest of evenings. To see those dear faces over a thousand miles away and to hear their affectionate voices made me tear up just a bit, though I’m not sure they notice through the laugher we were sharing. A virus might have separated us and scores of others who were there that night, but the heart is ever so much stronger.
Try as we might, there are some things that are just plain unavoidable. COVID turned out to be one such matter for us. And now that we’ve had it and appear to suffer no lingering effects, it’s almost a relief to know that we won’t have to worry about preserving that “haven’t caught it” status. Will I be become infected again someday? I wouldn’t be surprised, given the nature of variants, but I’ll continue to be vigilant for my sake and the sake of others in my life because for as long as I can remember, in and outside of our classroom, it’s never been just about me. It’s always been about us.
Wouldn’t have it any other way.