The winter of my immune system’s discontent

So I’m sick again, sore throat sniffles, probably not COVID but maybe and even if it is, who cares – I feel like death, for the third time since October. Between our three core households, someone’s been sick all fall. I can’t remember if it was like this every fall pre-COVID (it probably was). It definitely wasn’t like this during the restrictions of the pandemic.

Inevitable conclusion: we may have hated the mask mandate and the lockdowns… but they worked.

My kids usually get sick first (schools are disgusting) and as soon as any one of them is coughing or sneezing – they’ve been sick so much this fall – I wear a mask to the grocery store, to Pilates, and I don’t go into the office. These days, I feel self-conscious in a mask. I live in Alberta after all, the anti-masking and anti-vaxing capital of Canada. Odds are most of the people I’m trying to protect from my children’s germs are pegging me as a paranoid freak and thinking unkind things about me. (And how whack is that, friends? The worst thing about the pandemic: it seems to have killed  the capacity for kindness and compassion in so many of us.)

Thing is, I’m resigned to getting sick myself. If my kids are sick, I’m gonna be sick. In most families, children are the patient zero, binging in diseases from their schools. All I’m trying to do is not to pass o this latest gross thing to you and yours just before Christmas. You might get it from elsewhere – I just don’t want you to get it from me.

You’re welcome.

(I know you’re not grateful. Whatever. My capacity for kindness and compassion is also not where it was pre-2020. If someone invents a pill or shot to give me back that, sign me up.)

When I’m sick, wearing a mask in public basically doesn’t arise because since my bout with COVID last spring, when I get sick, I get hammered: I can barely get out of bed, never mind the house. Isolation caused by inability to move is my default setting.

I also start to think that life has no meaning and that if the cold-flu-COVID takes a turn for the worse… well. What does it all matter?

Yes. One of my flu symptoms is existential angst and despair.

I had a pre-Christmas weekend full of fun planned as I felt the first tickle in my throat develop into hacking and needles in my lungs. There was to be a work Christmas lunch, a solstice celebration and a crazy 90s dance party, the YC Queer Writers Christmas party and, most importantly, a family pierogi making assembly line… Throughout the week, during the good moments, when the meds kicked in, I deluded myself that I’d be ok, I’d be fine – surely, a sore throat wouldn’t last all the way until Friday, right? I’d be good to go by Saturday, right? I’d get to do all the things on Sunday, right?

Hope springs eternal until the existential angst sets in and I crawl back under my blankets, sobbing.

If I don’t survive – have a merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Rocking Omisoka and a Happy New Year.

If I make it through – see you in 2023… or next week if I have a really good idea for a post.

xoxo

“Jane”

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