COVID-19 is a lesson

By Darren Lum

Loss. The word itself is filled with sorrow.
The pandemic has had a pronounced affect on our lives. Loss has and continues to be felt by everyone, whether it is visible or not
What have we lost from this pandemic? Everything and nothing, depending on the perspective. Some have prospered, building homes for new and seasonal residents, ready for a life to embrace rural beauty, or have found new freedom from the constraints of office work with the option to perform duties remotely, finding the pleasure in eating lunch at home, with loved ones, sharing laughs that would have been lost to a solitary session of chewing at a work desk; business owners were forced to close, dreams dashed, families separated, friends and lovers broken from disappointment and betrayal.
I feel for everyone, who has lost.

As I write this, I know there are weightier issues this editorial could be based on such as the budget, which does little for our rural area, particularly the most vulnerable, adding to a feeling of being left out and lost.
However, with congestion in my chest and a tickle in my throat, with intermittent soreness across my back and a foggy head, I’m afflicted with what I’ve been working hard at not contracting, COVID-19.
What I have lost? A potential Easter weekend visit to my parents out of an abundance of caution, and foolish notion I can’t contract the virus.
Although I was careful, I’m aware of my slip up and how easily COVID-19 (whatever the variant – Omicron, Delta or BA.2) can be contracted. A poor decision, precipitated to personal challenge on a physical and mental level to get this paper completed. A minor inconvenience when so many have died, or have been hospitalized. I’ll take it. Yes, I’m fully vaccinated with a booster.

Are the symptoms similar to having a cold? Yes, and no. Although I haven’t been sick with a cold or flu for close to two years, I remember what it felt like to be sick with either one of those illness. I can say what I’ve experienced the past several days is a little different. It’s difficult to describe (what I would characterize as mild symptoms). The one thing that is clear is how symptoms seemingly changed hour to hour – sometimes every quarter of the hour to the next. In one instance, I’d feel healthy, ready to go for a run, with just a minor difficulty in swallowing. The next I’d be completely exhausted, or hacking uncontrollably for a half a minute and then expel a great violent sneeze and feel like I didn’t have any symptoms. I’m not sure of the long-term effects. I have always wore masks for others and didn’t in one instance, so I’m not sure if I transmitted the virus, which bothers me. Lesson learned. Guilt felt. I welcome a return to a mask mandate for indoor settings to help lessen the potential loss of any loved ones from contracting COVID-19. It’s worth noting I’ve always worn masks in public indoor spaces.
For all the debate around mask wearing, it’s pretty clear how on the whole rates have gone up in the past several weeks since the the provincial government lifted health actions.

Like some people around here will tell you, I haven’t been alive very long, but I believe there’s no greater pain than not being able to say goodbye to a loved one. I cannot imagine being among the early patients during the pandemic who were admitted to the ICU with COVID and not seeing people in person before dying. I understand visits are allowed now, but I’m sure that doesn’t instill confidence in the suffering for hope of survival.
What I lost is relatively nothing. What others have lost cannot be truly understood without living it … or dying with it.
Another wave and another lesson. Let’s hope we can learn from this one.