Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022


In two weeks our oldest daughter flies to Austria for a semester abroad -- a far more complicated undertaking than it was back in 1999 when Darwin and I did the same thing, because of the ever evolving travel restrictions due to COVID. If she has a positive PCR test right before her flight, she can't go, and not just her trip but her entire college semester is in jeopardy. To that end, all eligible adults in the house have been getting booster shots this week.

Now back last spring, Darwin and I had our two rounds of vaccination. We'd warned the kids that we might be sick for a day or two, and had laid in supplies of all the good things you need when you're ill -- chicken soup, 7-Up, Vick's Vapor Rub, etc. And after all that prep -- nothing. I'd counted on a day in bed, and I felt perfectly fine, as did Darwin. It was very anticlimactic. And everyone else in the family, as their vaccination turns came, was the same. A sore arm was the main side effect. I ended up doing the dishes, cleaning up, making dinner, just like any other day.

Not so with the booster. Yesterday morning I had my appointment; by the afternoon I was napping; by the evening I was in full aches and shivers. Darwin, whose shot was some hours later, followed the same path. All night we tossed carefully on our bed of pain. This morning Darwin slugged downstairs to reschedule all the meetings he'd felt sure he could manage today, and we went back to sleep. 

The particular aches and head pressure remind me of the flu we had in February of 2020, two weeks before the entire country locked down, which led to another round of our favorite parlor game: Flu or COVID? February 2020 was early for COVID, but we know now that it was definitely in the country. On the other hand, I tested positive for Flu B, and all the kids also got quite sick, down to the 2yo, which is not so characteristic of COVID. On the other hand, I lost taste and smell for a while, and indeed for a year I was off vanilla flavoring because it had acquired a particular burnt note. On the other hand, I was certainly around many people when my symptoms first started (at choir practice, when I wondered why I kept coughing), many of whom were elderly, and none of whom came down with anything. On the fifth hand, Darwin had been in Abu Dhabi for a work conference two weeks before I got sick, and we learned much later that his boss, on returning, was COVID Patient #1 in our urban area. On the sixth hand, the time lag was pretty significant, and Darwin himself never got sick...

As I was nursing my headache this morning, I said to Darwin, "I guess I'll blog about it," and he was hesitant, because whenever one talks about COVID, the loudest responses are the extremes, either the lockdown enthusiasts or the natural-immunity advocates. But somewhere, there has to be a space for the few sane people in the world to talk to each other. So, my sane friends, I say to you: I feel lousy, which I didn't expect, but I'd rather feel lousy for a few hours than risk my daughter not being able to go to Europe. That said, I have taken the actual practical precautions to protect myself, my family, and my weaker brothers and sisters, and so I am also done with the last vestiges of voluntary hygiene theater. Anyone who finds the mask I've been storing in my coat pocket for weeks more reassuring than my three shots is welcome to their peace of mind, I guess. 

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed. Not only am I exhausted, but you bet this time I'm not going to waste a bullet-proof excuse to take a day in bed.


mandamum said...

Wishing your daughter safe, COVID-free travels and a wonderful semester with an on-time return :-)

My husband is boosted, but caught the workplace cold the last day before Christmas and spent Christmas break down. He got a negative Covid test but, by order of his HR people, he still had to wait 10 days in order to go back to work with maskless coughing people who "just know" they have "just a cold" sigh.... I wore an N-95 while I was taking care of him, and my toddler and I bedded down elsewhere, leaving him the master bedroom, and no one else got the cold! So I would say real masks worn well are not just theatre, and I wear one when I go shopping and such, not just to avoid Covid but to avoid bringing home a cold that will keep my husband home from work for another 10 days despite any number of negative tests.

Enjoy your day in bed!! Rest well.

Antoinette said...

Thank you for being responsible people. I hope that Eleanor has a good semester in Austria and can travel as well.

Emily J. said...

Our daughter made it to Germany for a semester abroad just after Christmas - she left a little early to visit her aunt and uncle who live there. She got boosted and a negative Covid test before she left. Two days later, three of us had runny noses and a cough, including my husband who has had the booster. I couldn't get a test scheduled within five days, although I was able to schedule a booster in two weeks, so we'll never know if it was just a cold or Covid. I know more people who are testing positive this time around than the other two times, but it seems to be they are either testing without symptoms because they had a contact or they have coldlike symptoms. I don't have any conclusions. Just hoping the world doesn't shut down again so that we can go visit our daughter in February or March. Hope your daughter has a wonderful time!