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Slices of Life

When coronavirus doesn’t hit

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We are all staying home as much as possible. Wearing our masks. Doing our own due diligence, because, gosh darn, it’s the right thing to do. Quarantine has become a way of life, and for one very specific, very important reason: coronavirus.

We are focused on COVID-19. It is the enemy. It is my enemy, your enemy. It is the enemy of the people – no matter where you live, what your age or what type of car you drive. COVID knows no boundaries. So, I have been careful. Very careful. 

Except for one very cautious, socially distanced meeting, I have not gone anywhere beyond home in more than two weeks. I put together items on my grocery list with the care normally saved for a tax return form. Last week, I was preparing to go out into the jungle for peanut butter and toilet paper when my feet got knocked out from under me.

Coronavirus? No. I could never be that cutting edge. Besides I was being so careful. I was a seasoned COVID avoider and quarantine queen. I was so honed in on COVID that I guess I forgot there are other enemies out there. I got hit with one; and I got hit hard.

What was it? The good old, ordinary, been-around-for-decades (centuries even) intestinal flu. Early last week, one of my sons got sick in the middle of the night, but just once. He felt a little off-kilter the next day but was fully recovered by the next. When I woke up with stomach pain that felt like cramps, I figured I’d caught the bug from him (still a possibility.)

My stomach felt uncomfortable, but I was able to get through most of my daily activities. I took a little extra rest time, but that isn’t unusual. It is COVID season, after all. Aren’t most of us sleeping more than usual?

The second day was nearly the same. I monitored my food intake and beefed up on the water. I wasn’t vomiting. I just had that darn sore, sour, tight stomach. It hurt like hell. On the third day, I woke up and thought things were fine. Then I got out of bed and nearly saw stars. My husband had to help me to the bathroom and then the couch. The pain was intense; I’ve had gallstones and delivered four babies, so I know intense when it hits me. 

Of course by this time, I was Googling and internet searching. I had more possible diagnoses than I had stomach cramps. It wasn’t pretty. I probably should have gone to the doctor at this point. I know this. Please don’t lecture me. I had one, very good, very important reason for staying at home. I thought a doctor might find something seriously wrong and want to admit me to the hospital. 

Thing is, it was the night of my son’s virtual high school graduation. I didn’t want to miss it. With all he’s missed out on already, I didn’t want him to know I missed it. Moms can be reckless sometimes, mostly when it comes to their kids.

So I virtualized my way through my first virtual graduation. Thank goodness all we had to do was sit in our cars. When he walked across the stage on screen (like a movie star), we honked the horn.

I fully planned to turn my self in to the medical professionals the next day, but honestly, I was a bit better. Today, I am more than a bit better. I think I will get through this, thanks to probiotic yogurt, chicken noodle soup and lots of water. 

I was focused on coronavirus and came down with something very different. You never know what will hit you or what life will give you, which brings me to my new mantra for the year 2020: You never know what will happen next. But you are a survivor. Expect the unexpected. Stay safe – in all ways.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.


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