As we near the year anniversary of The Day Everything Shut Down, I thought it would be nice to check in with how everyone is feeling. While the initial "quarantine" may have felt at first like a time for rest and catching up, navigating the long-term limitations of various lockdowns, cancellations and travel restrictions also has been exhausting. And throughout this long year, many people have suffered tremendously -- with job losses, financial setbacks, illness and the death of loved ones.
At this juncture, what are you thoughts? I invite you to participate in the vote, and below that I'll tell you my story. In the comments, I invite you to tell me yours.
For me, the anniversary of when this all started was earlier this month - the day a year ago when I became very ill. I'd had a low-grade cough, which doctors had assured me was a garden-variety cold and past the point of being contagious. The night before, I'd just played what was to be my last set of concerts for a very long time, with the Pasadena Symphony. But on this morning, I awakened with a temperature of 104 degrees and all the typical symptoms of the flu. Despite all the talk of the new "coronavirus," and despite the fact that I'd had a flu shot the previous fall, I assumed I likely had the flu. It was Sunday, and I figured I'd see on Monday if I could get some Tamiflu.
As the day went on, I started finding it difficult to breathe and I became very afraid. I made the decision to cancel all my lessons for the entire next week - something I don't think I've ever done. I knew I was going to be sick for a while. Around dinner time I was downright panicked. I begged my husband Robert to take me to the Kaiser Urgent Care - he was sick too, but not as sick as I was.
Once there, we saw signs, "If you've been to Wuhan, China, you might have coronavirus." I rolled my eyes. As if a virus would contain itself to a single city. No, I hadn't been to Wuhan, China. Though - hmm. We live in a part of Los Angeles with a very heavy Chinese population, well-connected to the mainland. The parents of my Chinese students had been urgently warning for weeks, "Do NOT go to any Chinese stores, restaurants, stay away! I am not even getting my hair cut!" At the time, that seemed liked an overreaction - even a little racist.
When the doctor saw me, the first thing she asked was, "Have you recently travelled to Wuhan, China?" Ah, no. Which meant I would not be tested for coronavirus. But also, to my surprise, she declined to test me for the flu. "The test is not really that important," she said, "I'm going do diagnose you with flu, based on symptoms." She gave me a prescription for Tamiflu and sent me home.
I got the Tamiflu and immediately took it. Mentally, I felt much better. Physically, I could not get my temperature below 100 degrees, despite taking round-the-clock ibuprofen followed by Tylenol, every four hours. I took the Tamiflu as directed, but it took three very long days for the fever to break - it tenaciously stayed above 100 degrees. During those days, I could not eat. I felt so weak that I could barely walk around the bed. But I was sure the Tamiflu would work.
I briefly called my mother to let her know I was sick. "I'm just lying here breathing, that's all I can do," I said.
"Do you have the coronavirus?" she said. "I think you do."
"No, definitely not," I said with absolute certainty. "If I had the coronavirus, I'd be on the news."
When the fever broke, I did the thing I'd been wanting to do, I just went to sleep. When I finally could get around, it was Friday, my birthday. I wanted to go somewhere and breathe. I went to the Huntington Gardens, which just a few blocks from where we live, and sat. I felt like I was looking out of a fishbowl, but was so happy to just be.
I also had an epiphany: About this virus, it's wasn't just coming, it was here, and it was real. Everything was going to shut down. None of my gigs were going to happen. That week I got out my sewing machine and started making masks.
I don't know if I had the flu, or if I had COVID, and I never will. If I had it, I certainly don't want it again, and I don't want anyone else to get it. I'll wait my turn for the vaccine, and then tentatively work back to normalcy along with everyone else.
Am I wiped out, or rested an ready to go? If I'm honest, I'm pretty wiped out - it's been a heck of a year. I have continued to teach, and I love doing so and am so happy to work with my students every week. But I have not played in an orchestra for a year. I have not played with my quartet friends. When I play with my students over Zoom, they hear me, but I do not hear them. I miss the musical connection very deeply.
But I do think I see a light at the end of this tunnel, if we can all just wait it out a little while longer. When that light gets a little bigger, a little nearer, I think I'll feel the surge of motivation.Tweet
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