After a month of sickness where I watched each member of my family fall under the evil grasp of ‘Rona, I am happy to say that we have all survived and are now on the road to recovery. With anosmia taking away the taste of victory for a few of the family members, and the hubble’s residual chest infection sounding like sludgy blocked pipes every time he coughs, it still feels incredible to say that we survived her visit and lived to tell the tale.
The scales were weighed against us from the onset of this crazy year and a half since the news broke about a new, more deadly virus sweeping across the world. As people panicked and tossed toilet rolls into their trollies, the hubble and I made a plan to shield for as long as possible, setting up cleaning stations for the children on their return from school and berating the older two when they dared go out into the invisible dangers that threatened our lives. The year swept by with the same speed and violence as the virus and 2021 brought opportunities to vaccinate ourselves against the deadly disease. I was called up for my first vaccination in March. It wasn’t a pleasant experience as the side effects knocked me down for a few days, making me regret my decision. Before I had a chance to recover my wits, the hubble was hit with a massive heart attack. I watched helplessly as they wheeled him to the ambulance and told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to go with him to the hospital. He was alone. There are no words to describe the gut-wrenching moment you realise your life partner might never return and this would be your final good-bye. His last words before the doors closed were of him begging the paramedics to give him the vaccine before taking him to the hospital. We were terrified at the prospect of him going into a place riddled with the virus as we had heard horror stories of patients catching Covid and dying once they entered the hospital.
He survived. A surprise phone call two hours later reassured me that our world had not completely imploded and that the super heroes working the wards at the hospitals were still fighting fearlessly to keep everyone alive. Over the next few months we moved forward as a family, making sure the hubble’s recovery went smoothly. All was well and he received his vaccinations making us both double vaxxed and supposedly safe. That is, until the virus decided to catch a ride on one of our older children and arrived home at the beginning of July. It didn’t take long for ‘Rona to make herself feel at home, nestling in the folds of the family, sucking the breath and life out of each member as they fell under her spell. The older two were the first to fall, followed by my youngest. I nursed them, watching them turn and twist with the fever, cry out at the blinding headaches and cough up phlegm and what sounded like lung into mountains of tissues. My hands turned crusty from the amount of bleach and disinfectant used in the battle to keep the virus to their rooms, but she was clever. She hitched a ride on me. Just as the first lot finished their isolation, she attacked the next, knocking down the hubble and my middle child within a day. By this time I had fallen to her wily ways too and lost a weekend to delirium.
Weak, washed out and weary, we struggled to hold each other up during what felt like endless days of illness. Work had to continue and each family member limped on, trying their best to keep some semblance of order after a sudden reshuffle of life cards. I think the worst part was the fear – the fear of watching the children burn up day and night without respite. The fear of hearing their airways close as they struggled to talk and slowly lost their sense of smell and taste. Stress over the hubble’s weak heart created palpitations in my own ticker. Would he be removed from our lives again? Would the children have to watch him disappear into the back of an ambulance, never to return? ‘Rona had us all in her tight grasp and refused to let go.
There are those among us who don’t believe that the vaccines work or protect us. I, myself, had my doubts whilst fighting through the riptide of ‘Rona’s wrath. All I can say is that my worst fears were not realised. Were were not hospitalized and for that, I am grateful to the vaccines for what little or immense support they gave our bodies in fighting off the virus. As I sit here now, I still have a cough and a very husky voice that will rival a heavy smoker. The hubble is sitting across from me working at his desk, suffering coughing attacks every few minutes and continuously blowing his nose. If this is the price we have to pay for tussling with the b*tch from hell, then I am okay with that. When I think of all those friends and family who have lost loved ones in this battle to survive, I count our blessings and breath a shaky sigh of relief. We are probably not completely out of the woods yet as ‘Rona has a way of paying her respects to her victims in the form of long Covid. That’s a fear that we will just have to live with.
We all have different experiences and opinions about this virus. Some are educated and others less informed. The media does not help with the scare tactics and misinformation, which is spreading fear and segregation as fast as the virus is killing us off. She doesn’t need help, yet here we are giving her an extra hand. I’m sharing my experience with you not to sway you towards a certain opinion or to share the gross facts of the side effects of what awaits those who fall under ‘Rona’s spell. No. Instead, this is me acknowledging just how awful the past few months have been for us as a family and realising that the virus itself was bad, but the fear of it was far worse. Yes, I will be that person wearing a mask when you come near me and I will take a few steps to bridge a gap between us because I know just how much of a toll this virus has taken on myself and my family. I am going to do my level best to make sure she doesn’t get a return visit.