A couple of weeks ago, I got sick. Not the typical man-wimp sick; I mean sick. I went to a local care facility, and they asked me to consent to a COVID-19 test, which I did. I then went home to self-quarantine while I awaited the results.
COVID-19 seems like nothing when it doesn’t affect you or the people around you. It suddenly becomes very real when you get sicker than you have been in years and consent to the test. The funny thing is, I wasn’t scared. I actually felt guilty.
I have never given in to the politicization of this disease. I listen to science, not Facebook, not the quacks or conspiracy theorists on the Internet, and certainly not the politicians. I made it a habit to wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, social distance, and wear a mask. That’s right. I wear a mask when I am around others.
The guilt I felt as I awaited my results was for the people I may have exposed for the few times I forgot to wear one or just wasn’t thinking. I started to create a list in my head of the people I needed to contact to let them know what I was going through.
I first let my family know, and they began to make plans for quarantining if the results were positive.
My church has gotten into the habit of following the guidelines, including wearing masks. Still, I emailed everyone to let them know what was going on just in case.
I then started wracking my brain trying to figure out who else I needed to contact. However, as sick as I still was, it was difficult to focus, but I did come up with a list of people to notify.
Fortunately, the results came back within two days, which, according to many people I spoke to, was just short of a miracle. I tested negative. The prognosis was sinusitis, and I started on antibiotics.
A couple of weeks later, I am still wrestling with the after effects, but the whole episode taught me something very important: wearing a mask protects the people around me, my family, friends, and neighbors. The latest science also shows that if worn properly (and having the right kind of mask) it also protects me.
I’ll admit, there are times I forget to wear a mask when I’m outside or getting my picture taken. It takes several weeks, they say, for a habit to take hold, so I will keep trying.
The results from other nations where masks were worn and other protocols followed are conclusive: They work. Period. That’s a fact, not a myth. We will not recover from this pandemic unless we stop being ignorant by choice and do what we need to do to make it happen.
Our area has been spared the real ravages of this disease, but for how long? No one knows. I, like many others, hope we manage to stay this way, but if we continue to deny the facts and ignore what the science is telling us, it is only a matter of time before it hits us with the ferocity that it has hit other locations.
I will continue to wear a mask because it is the right thing to do. I will try to do everything I can to prevent our community from the disaster that has struck so many others.
Frankly, I don’t know if I could live with the guilt of knowing I may have made someone else sick–or even worse.