I simply could not figure out how I got it.
For our economy, our lives, our social interactions and life in general, that one question about COVID-19 says it all.
I know this. Sometime nearly four weeks ago I was exposed to COVID. And within a few days, I figure, I started feeling sick. But I didn’t know I had COVID those first few days, when I probably unknowingly shed the virus, which is a nice way of saying I may have “innocently” infected other people.
The symptoms after those first few days? I felt a heaviness in my chest. I experienced oddly severe bouts of coughing. Then a general feeling of malaise set in and I knew I was sick. But I thought to myself that it couldn’t possibly be COVID.
It wasn’t until a full week after my likely exposure when I noticed that I couldn’t smell things like incense, food cooking and the odor of a scented candle. Nothing. I’d put my nose right over the smoke and sources of the scent. Nothing.
I drove to the pharmacy at City Market in Granby and bought a home test kit. And sure enough, it showed I was positive with COVID. While I was filled with disbelief at first, I then suddenly realized that this was an explanation of how poorly I was feeling.
My stomach and guts just didn’t feel right at all. I was very fatigued — but sometimes I could sleep and sometimes I couldn’t. It was strange. But the worst thing for me was the symptom I’ve heard called “brain fog.” I couldn’t make decisions and when I did I second-guessed them three or four times. I’d forget what I had just done five minutes prior. I just didn’t feel on top of anything.
It was not pleasant and it was real.
I was fully vaccinated, so that makes my illness a “break-through” case. I had even had my booster vaccine shot two or three days before I think I was exposed. The booster had not been given enough time for its antibodies to kick in, so I got sick.
But I’m grateful for the vaccines because I’m pretty sure the vaccines are what prevented me from getting extremely ill. I have friends and acquaintances who got sick with COVID and then died. They were unvaccinated, mostly because they caught it before vaccines were available. I was lucky, partly because of the vaccine.
I reported it to public health and was put under quarantine. And in the series of questions I was asked the most disturbing element of this disease became readily apparent. I was asked how I think I contracted the illness.
I rattled off the possibilities. Could it have been my son bringing the virus home from college? Could it have been the board meeting I attended, unmasked? Could it have been the club meeting I attended, unmasked? Could it have been brought home from local schools by my other children? Could it have been my unmasked visits to the post office or the grocery store? Could it have been the chance passing by an anonymous pedestrian on the sidewalk?
My point here is that I don’t know. And the public health system doesn’t know. So the source of infection was listed officially as “community spread.” Community spread is not a good thing because it suggests strongly that this extremely contagious virus that can kill and sicken is just out there, most anywhere, right here in Grand County. That is bad news.
Cases are going up in Colorado and parts of the Northeast, again. Parts of Europe are seeing increases again. Hospitals are near capacity in our state because of COVID hospitalizations, for which 80 percent are unvaccinated.
As I write this I am counting my blessings that I was vaccinated. That just might be what kept me out of the hospital. After all, I am no spring chicken.
My guess is that the economic challenges of renewed mask mandates in public places and vaccine mandates are going to continue and return, time and time again, to the detriment of our economy and our happiness. Darn.
I know I’ll be wearing my mask more and more than in the recent past, before the likely orders come. And I’m already wondering about the next booster shot.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He provides free and confidential business management coaching for anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He is also the author of the book “KILLDOZER: The True Story of the Colorado Bulldozer Rampage.” He can be reached at 970-531-0632 or at email@example.com.