Off Guard

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By Linda Nidiffer

We have all been caught off guard; haven’t we?  The gamut runs from, “Oh, I should have said thus and so”, to being so stunned you cannot speak at all.  I have been so off guard that I have run scenarios in my head for days with “why didn’t I say”.  When my father-in-law died unexpectedly with a brain aneurism none of us could speak. The day my sister, Esther, died we had talked on the phone two hours in the morning.  Two hours later my brother –in-law is on the phone telling me that she had fallen down the stairs and was unresponsive.  I was caught so off guard that his words made absolutely no sense to me.  He was speaking gibberish.  I gave the phone to Tom and the nightmare began.

Sometimes being caught off guard can be a fun thing if you like surprises.  My personal favorite was the partial celebration of my 50th birthday.  Two of my colleagues had placed a four foot carnival type buzzard in front of my classroom door.  They put a sign around his neck that said Happy Birthday to our favorite Old Buzzard around his neck. The whole school enjoyed those birthday greetings.  He lived in my classroom until I retired.

Most of us have health care maintenance.  Mine is weekly allergy shots—nothing dramatic with that.  Tom’s is far more dramatic.  He has heart issues and it is now time for another heart catheterization.  In COVID land you have to have a negative test before you can have the procedure.  Neither of us have had any symptoms.  Read that again.  Neither of us have had any symptoms.  We have been vaxxed and boosted because we are old and at risk.  He took his COVID test and the results were positive!

I was caught off guard and so was he. Now what do we do? His next doctor’s appointment of the day wouldn’t see him because of his positivity and he came home immediately. He started calling everyone he had had contact with in the last week.  I did a quick check of the pantry, freezer and refrigerator and headed for the grocery store.  I masked up, was socially distant, didn’t talk to anybody, and hand sanitized the cart.  The next day I went to the new drug store where I didn’t have to wait in any line in the drive through, put my mask on and got my prescriptions and came home.  We have one more day of quarantine.

We were lucky, I guess.  My pantry, freezer and refrigerator are never empty so we only needed a few things and our pharmacy has a drive through.  The only symptoms that we have had are tiredness—that is it, but then maybe we are just bored.  This omicron variant is a stinker.  You have it and don’t know it and pass it around like Halloween candy.  If you haven’t been vaccinated and boosted it can be a whole lot worse that what we experienced.  I didn’t get tested but quarantined anyway because Tom and I have shared everything but toothbrushes for the last 53+ years.