A Year Later…

Covid Memorial

I really wish I didn’t feel compelled to write about Covid.

I wish that this damn virus was in the rear-view mirror instead of front-page news. Again.

But hospitals are filling up—again.  People are dying—again.

According to the Surgeon General —and most of the medical and scientific community— there is no reason for people to be dying. If this is something you don’t believe, fine. You should probably stop reading right about now.

But if you are on the fence, I’m going to try gently to convince you to take the leap and get the shot.

Here’s the pitch.
We have a vaccine and if you take it, the statistics tell us that you won’t die.

That’s it.

It’s a straightforward value proposition.

I know people— including a lifelong friend— who take issue with what I just wrote. They will not change my mind and I will not change theirs either. This is where we are as a society these days—locked into our positions, identified by our tribes and in possession of our own “facts.” For the record, I believe my sources and I think theirs are full of crap.

There….it’s out of my system.

But my friends, Democracies can’t last too long in this kind of atmosphere. Democracies rely on the acceptance of objective facts, a healthy regard for science and the rule of law. Yes, we have a right and an obligation to question things, but after a while we should opt toward the evidence.

Democracy also relies on freedom.

We wield that word like a cudgel these days. Some people view mandates as restrictions on our freedoms—and they are.

But freedom also comes with responsibility. We have a responsibility to others. We have never been able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. There have always been rules of the road.

As the old saying goes: My right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.

I fear sometimes that we forget that fundamental pillar. You do not have a right to get others sick.

But this isn’t another piece for the culture wars. It’s testimony.

A year ago, I was in Bethesda Hospital with Covid and double pneumonia. The virus almost took my life.

I didn’t want to let on at the time, but I did not think I was getting out of there alive. A lot of people on my medical team would have agreed.

At the time, Covid took everything from my breath and my strength to my ability to think, walk and take care of myself. Spending six weeks flat on your back in a hospital with a mask on your face, attached to hoses and ports is a traumatic experience. You are left alone with your thoughts and your fears; the days go on and on and on. And the nights are terrifying.

I’m reliving the experience through the “memory” feature on Facebook. I was blessed with a daily dose of kind messages from friends who live near and far.

When all you can do is hold a phone that proved to be a lifeline and a source of inspiration at a time when I desperately needed both.

So here I am a year later.

Back to work.

Back to the gym.

Back home with my family.

But things aren’t the same.

My perspectives have changed, I hope in a good way. You learn to appreciate life more than ever when you almost lose it.

It took me a full 10 months to feel anything like my former self physically and as I take inventory a year later, I have to say that things have changed for me and millions of others.

I can’t sleep well.

I’m tired.

My brain is not as foggy, but my memory is not as sharp.

My joint pain is gone (and it was awful) and I stopped losing my hair, but my breathing is just not right.

Every day, for parts of the day, I feel like I can’t take a deep breath.

It feels like there’s cotton in my lungs, an obstruction that comes and goes. It’s hard to explain.

And I am one of the lucky ones.

I share this because I want you to know that Covid is real, very dangerous and more than a little mysterious.

It affects people in different ways. My wish is for people to live their lives, but to be aware and to try and do the things it takes to stay safe.

The best thing you can do is to get a vaccine.

That’s the bottom line my friends. Sent with love and concern. No need to send me your theories on Fauci, magnets, 5G, Bill Gates etc. I’m not interested. I’ve read about those theories and I’m comfortable that they have been debunked. Bottom line: I trust the science. And if you’ve read this far, I’ve warned you.

This is for the people on the fence, and I know a few. I hope you take the leap. I will help you take the leap if you want.

This is about all of us. Let’s stamp this darn thing out before we get a variant that comes back to bite us all. This one already is—especially here in Florida. The next variant may elude the vaccine’s protection.

By my math, more Americans have died of Covid in the past 17 months than in four years of the bloody Civil War. Enough already.