I am applying for the lamest person of the year award. Now I know it’s still early in the year and the competition is fierce, but I think I have a pretty good shot at it. A few weeks ago, my throat felt a little sore. Allergy season was kicking in, so I wasn’t too worried. With everything else going on this past year, a new allergy symptom didn’t seem worth getting my panties in a twist over. I have allergies pretty much all year long, so, yeah, Life, just go ahead and throw the new symptom on the pile.
But then the next day, my throat was scratchy, and I was congested. Now any normal person would instantly think, Holy crap, I may have COVID! Because that’s what we all have been doing for the last 14 months. And I did think that, but I’m also vaccinated. So then my mind went to: Holy crap, I may have breakthrough COVID! Now I had just written something about this at work. Not about how likely it was, but guidance for docs on what to do if they encounter a patient who might have a breakthrough case, what tests to order, and who to report it to. Let me just say, that all the health care entities are tracking that shit like couture at the Oscars. That information was useless to me, so I had to look up the actual likelihood of it on Google like a commoner. OK, less than 1,000 breakthrough cases worldwide. Soooooo, probably not.
That night I didn’t sleep well, because my nose was running and stuffed up (how is it possible to do both?). Allergies have never made me that sick. Plus, I have allergy meds and sprays up the wazoo–I know how to medicate stupid allergies.
And I couldn’t help but notice that all the symptoms tracked exactly to how I get a cold. The order of my cold symptoms has not changed in at least 15 years. That’s when I had to face facts. The lamest, most embarrassing, and ridiculous fact.
14 months into a pandemic, having been masked, huddling in my home, and working my ass off, I. Caught. A. Goddamn. Cold. Seriously. I was horrified. What would I tell people? Who gets a cold in a pandemic?
No one. Just ask social media. How many posts have you seen that say, “Do you know anyone who has gotten a cold in the past year?” Perhaps you have even posted the question yourself. Gleeful responses follow, with many people claiming they are never going to stop wearing a mask if it means they never get a cold again. Sanctimonious bastards. So now this is somehow my fault, my failing?
I told only my closest friends, and of course the question had to be asked: how? They were nice about it, but you could tell they were really saying, how in the hell did you manage to get a cold when you hardly even leave your house? Even when I do venture out, I never stopped wearing my mask, even after I got vaccinated. I’m that guy.
I pinned it down to a period of 2 days before I got sick, when I got a grocery delivery, a package delivery, and 2 take out deliveries. All were contactless except one of the food deliveries. It’s a restaurant that has its own delivery people, and they have me pay at my door. They swipe my card and have me sign the receipt. Pre-COVID I had trained myself to not touch my hands to my face, and it did cut down on then number of colds I got.
At this point in COVID, we’ve learned that transmission is more through people talking/coughing/singing near each other. Infection from touching surfaces is not as much of a thing. I had been washing or sanitizing my hands after every interaction — heck, even when I came in after a quick walk in the park. But I think I got complacent after I was vaccinated. And also, I’m just damned tired. I still dislike the mask, and I remember after coming back into my apartment with the food, taking off my mask, and rubbing my eyes that were bleary from Zooming all day.
Because guess what virus does live on surfaces, laying in wait for the rookie? Cold viruses. And since I was able to get a cold by touching a surface, doesn’t that indicate that I have immune system of a newborn? Did that COVID vaccine even take? Could I really fight off anything at this point? The indignity of it all is intolerable.
And in the end, it comes back to this. Who gets a cold during a pandemic? It seems that I do. Un-stinking-believable.
Photo credit: https://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/sneeze