After 8 months, remember to remain vigilant

So far, anxiety has been the worst COVID-19 affliction suffered in these parts.

We’ve been very fortunate. The anxiety was bad enough.

In the past two weeks, we had reason to think some members of our family may have been exposed to the virus that has killed nearly 180,000 Americans in the past eight months and inflicted 5.7 million. One of our tribe even experienced what we thought were some symptoms — enough so to get an immediate test at urgent care. A day or so later, the test came back negative. For now, I’m relieved to report that all four of us have tested negative. But I can also admit the few days of waiting for those results gave me plenty of time to pray and try hard not to worry too much. The latter was challenging.

Don’t get me started on having a swab stuck that far into my nasal cavity.

We spent a few days with everyone essentially quarantined to a bedroom. Janet and I slept in separate rooms. And we became more vigilant about best practices. We wore masks in communal parts of the house, stocked up on hand soap and sanitizer and scrubbed the kitchen and bathrooms. Door knobs, light switches and the like were wiped down multiple times. I’m grateful to have the type of job, home, food in the house and everything else that enabled us to do these things.

As a 53-year-old with type 2 diabetes and a Body Mass Index that is north of 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says I have increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. I can’t think of anyone I knew well who has died from COVID-19. But I have a growing list of friends around the country who have had it. Most describe similar symptoms that, in some cases, lasted for many weeks: Headaches, nausea, body aches, vertigo, confusion, chills, and loss of taste and/or smell. It’s enough to make me overthink and worry even though my friends have experienced what medical experts call milder cases of COVID-19. It’s much worse for anyone who experiences respiratory problems. No one wants to go through that.

So each negative test result came as a big relief at our house. I’m choosing to view the past few weeks as a reminder from God — a teaching moment, so to speak — to be cautious and safe. Keep ourselves socially distanced as often as possible. When it’s not possible, wear a mask. Wash our hands often. Keep things clean and disinfected. Be smart.

These are the sort of things over which we all have some control. It’s common sense.

And yet, it’s human nature to start out gung ho only to lose steam over time. How often have you made a New Year’s Resolution that you maintain for more than a few days? The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 20 — eight months ago today. COVID-19 is likely to be here for much longer. Maybe even for years.

The anxiety of the past few weeks at my house was bad enough. I’m beyond grateful for the reminder we’ve been given to be safe and vigilant. I encourage you to do the same.

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