Just when I thought I was safe

By Nancy Black

I knew the moment I woke up Thursday morning that something was wrong. I had no use of my nose or sinuses, and I had a dull, throbbing headache. 

“Is this what COVID-19 feels like?” I thought to myself as I struggled to get out of bed.

After pondering my situation all morning, I finally dragged myself out of the house and to a pharmacy. I actually caught myself starting to go inside the store without a mask!

Once back home, I followed the instructions and swabbed my nostrils with a giant Q-Tip. The little lines on the rapid home test turned blue and pink almost immediately once they hit the solution. Yep. It was COVID. After two and a half years avoiding it like the plague (pun intended), I finally got it. I blame my 40th high school reunion, which I had attended the weekend before.

Regardless of where I picked up the virus, I am so glad I got vaccinated, and double boosted, before becoming infected. Because, as a smoker who has a horrible diet, an unvaccinated me likely would have required hospitalization and might have even died. 

As it was, I was still pretty sick with a fever, body aches and a wicked cough for about a week. And I felt really weak for another seven days, too. 

It turns out, I’m not alone. Dallas County is now reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases. Medical professionals are suggesting we start wearing our masks again in crowded public places. They are also warning about a new virus we should be aware of — Monkey Pox.

“Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans and between humans, according to the World Health Organization,” the Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday. “Symptoms usually include a fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions.” 


Health officials in Texas said they have identified the first case of monkeypox in the state but noted “the illness does not currently present a risk to the general public.”

Yeah. I remember when “officials” said, “Fifteen days to stop the spread,” too.

But let’s agree not to worry about Monkey Pox. At least for now. Personally, my brain does not have the bandwidth with everything else going on.  

As far as COVID goes, it looks like we are resuming life as almost normal. And maybe that’s OK — hospitalizations and deaths are still relatively low. And I know we’re all tired of “not normal.” But that doesn’t mean COVID is not out there or it’s no big deal to get it. So be vaccinated and boosted, of course. Wear a good mask if your health status puts you at high risk and/or you are in a high-risk situation. And don’t be like me and be without some COVID tests in the house. Order yours for free (!) at covid.gov/tests.  

Good luck out there!