By a trick of the calendar, I will be posting on the Soulmate Author’s Blog for consecutive Mondays. Today is Part 1, and we shall see what happens between now and January 11. Reading the blog posts of my fellow Soulie’s over the past few months has been both a comfort and escape. No one should feel alone during a pandemic.
The bookending of a most (ahem) extraordinary year is quite a challenge since, for most of us, not much is happening since we’re in varying stages of a “pause.” But for sure, we can all say that none amongst us could have predicted that 2020 would unravel the way it did. And the hangover will last well into 2021 as we all retrace, bemoan, and process and try to exorcise the course of events that unfolded–and continue to unfold.
My “day job” is in public health, and despite being in the trenches on the front lines, I have successfully survived the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, the H1N1 (Swine) flu and Ebola pandemics. I did suffer two bouts of seasonal influenza many years ago when vaccines were not as readily available, and I can honestly say I understood both times how people could die from the flu. I contracted pertussis from a patient, even though I had been vaccinated, and no one could figure out what made me so sick until much later. There are lingering effects of that pertussis that I have never been able to shake.
COVID-19 will not go away, but will likely turn into a moderately tamed beast by some ilk of antibody or antiviral treatments. But the cornerstone will likely be a yearly vaccine tweaked to contain the latest variants circulating around. The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 spurned yearly seasonal vaccinations. And there will be many who will turn both down (at their own risk), but once a significant number of individuals are vaccinated, COVID mutations will return with along seasonal epidemic episodes of influenza like the H1N1 influenza virus has done.
I surmise that it will take some time for the PTSD effects to wear off for what is likely to be more than a year of quarantines, restrictions, and COVID precautions for the general public. And there will be something akin to PPE dependance disorder amongst health professionals that have been so traumatized by the chaos and death toll during the first wave of the COVID pandemic that they’ll never be able to stand down.
COVID-19 has been a game changer, and for some, a wake up call. The resilience, ingenuity, camraderie, and secondary social effects have created a greater appreciation for family, friends, and a kindness and forbearance that I certainly hope will linger long after the mandates, shutdowns, and restrictions are lifted.
I never imagined my life in 2020 would be so different. As I write this, all of my grown children are home for an extended quarantine Christmas interspersed with weekly COVID tests, and without seeing my extended family and dear friends. New Year’s 2021 will arrive without Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve from Times Square.
Writing has created an outlet for nights I was too distressed to sleep, or when I needed to escape into a fictional world I could control. I finished a new novel and am midway through a second. I’ve had significant nonfiction, including a personal essay on activism and an academic paper, published. My writing has always paralleled current events, and 2020 has been no exception.
The Widow’s Walk contract was extended, and I am very pleased that all three of my SMP novel series will remain in the nest. And that I will remain a very happy Soulmate Author. Stand by for Part 2, or pass along a suggestion for the January 11 topic.