If there was ever a year to test one’s resilience 2020 is it. Last winter, my seasonal affective disorder was particularly recalcitrant, compounded by a large number of patients during late January and February with what I termed a “really nasty virus” that was not influenza, but had them sidelined for weeks with coughing, difficulty breathing and exhaustion, with a sprinkling of gastro-intestinal upset.
I was sick enough to go to urgent care twice–and the second time I was signed out of work for seven days. My daughter missed two weeks of her senior year in high school as the illness passed amongst she and her classmates. By the time COVID 19 was identified in a critically ill New York State resident who lived along in an area where commuters would ride the subway right past my place of employment, it was too late to stop the surge.
I don’t recall too much about March through June besides how tired, frustrated, angry and scared I was. It was cold well into late spring, but there was almost no snow and everything felt and looked very much like it does now nine months later: dark and drab with a chill I just can’t shake. I don’t know if I had COVID or not, but it doesn’t matter because, like seasonal influenza, it’s possible to get it again.
At a hospital in New York City, food always seemed to arrive when I was hungry. Someone would tap me on the shoulder relieve me so I could rest and gather strength for the rest of my shift. We pulled off shields and masks, ate facing away from each other, then got back to work.
Nature carried on as if nothing was amiss. The flowers bloomed, birds sang, squirrels scampered, and we even had a frog show up in our pond! Only the humans were sidelined.
It has been gratifying, and comforting, to see so many people looking out for and taking care of neighbors, friends–and often strangers. I burst into tears at 5:30 one cold, rainy morning when the parking lot attendant took my car keys and called to me as I headed to the front door, “Now you stay safe in there.”
Somehow, through it all, I have been able to escape into writing fiction. My latest novel is done, and the second book in the series is well underway.
The news is grim, but there is hope in the form of a vaccine that I’ll be helping to administer. We all look forward to a better spring and summer of 2021.
My son just arrived from California for a one month visit, relieved the wildfires didn’t engulf his neighborhood but desperately in need of company, rest, and relaxation. My daughter, who missed senior prom and graduation, made it through the first half of her socially distanced, hybrid learning freshman year of college, and is back home and in her room. And my middle son will be on the subway home from his COVID hot spot in Brooklyn well before Thanksgiving since he is now teaching high school English Literature and Journalism remotely once again.
We all just took our COVID tests and no matter what the results, we’ll be spending Thanksgiving weekend together at home.
I could not be more hopeful–and thankful–for all of them and for all of you!
Be well, stay safe, and Happy Thanksgiving.