For roughly 63 out of my 64 years shuffling along this mortal coil, I paid scant attention to my body’s aches and pains. I detested going to doctors, taking meds, and, worst of all, doing physical therapy. If there is a Hell, it is that office where you yank those #$%%&&* pulleys out of, and back into, the wall, overandoverandoverandover, to supposedly strengthen your injured muscles. I tried to tell the therapist that I’d much prefer to just sit on the sofa watching TV and waiting for my torn rotator cuff to heal over time (as it would if I were a woodland creature out in the wild. Not that woodland creatures have access to Netflix, but nor do they have to do PT). Alas, she paid me no never mind.
I have therefore endured, without any medical intervention: a nagging finger nerve-pain thingy that went on for years, a foot pain thingy (extensor tendonitis, they call it) that still flares up, and innumerable colds and headaches and fevers. If I happened to notice an unusual spot on my skin, I’ve been more apt to muse, “Wow! That’s the shape of Idaho!” than to seek out a dermatologist. I have chosen to focus on other, much more worthwhile and interesting things in my life, and trust that Mother Nature will eventually fix whatever ails me.
But all that changed on March 13, 2020, the beginning of Our Coronavirus Year. Suddenly, I was gripped with constant terror that I was definitely infected with COVID-19. My every shortened breath, sniffle and cough were the stuff of nightmares…I had it for sure!! How bad would it get? Would I have a chance to say goodbye to my loved ones before The End? Now, mind you, I never strayed from our six person bubble. Lucky for me, I do not have to grocery shop, nor am I working in an office or store, much less a hospital. I wore more masks than the Lone Ranger when I did venture out, and kept such a distance that I needed a megaphone to shout my greetings across the miles to neighbors. But still I fretted…why can I not smell that roast? (Maybe because I hadn’t put it in the oven yet?). Why does that cracker have no taste? (What fabulous flavor did I expect from something called “table water cracker”?)
I kept my morbid speculations to myself for the most part, but would awaken in the night with the odd twinge that reminded me I was doomed. Doomed! Then I’d be up Googling “Odd Twinges that are Usually Fatal” at 3 AM.
I’m a little less nutty nowadays, largely because I see a vaccine in my future (distant though it may be). And at some point I’ll be out in the busy world again, with other things to occupy my mind than the probability that my hangnail is cancerous. I can’t wait to go back to ignoring my health entirely!
Until the next pandemic, that is.