Paranoia Over the Perfectly Normal

Dearest Rachel –

So last night, I could feel the beginnings of a raw throat as I prepared for bed. And sure enough, this morning I woke up with a cough, sneezing and a runny nose.

In a normal year, we would know that this would be the beginning of a garden variety 24-48 hour bout with the common cold. And this one seems to be a fairly mild one, to boot: at this point, while I’m inconvenienced by the symptoms, I’m not achy all over and flat on my back, like I would sometimes get back in the day.

But of course, this isn’t a normal year. Everything short of absolutely perfect health is tainted with the universal question: How do I know this isn’t Covid, after all? Paranoia sets in – will I have to seal myself up hermetically for the next two weeks? Am I going to be treated like a pariah and ostracized for that period of time yet again?

And of course, the answer is, I don’t know, not unless I get tested – and even then, I won’t get the results back for another 3 or 4 business days. As the lady says,

Especially with Jan coming over; how do I warn her away?

All of which doesn’t include the fact that Logan has already been here overnight, and will be staying for the bulk of today as well (again, I’m perfectly fine with this. Daniel needs the human interaction – but we’ve been over this already).

Not to mention, the last time we got tested, you and Daniel came back with negative results, and mine returned positive. Lars, in particular, was thoroughly amused at your reaction: “How is that possible? Randy and I french kiss each other every day! I should be positive, too, if he is!” Now, as you’ll recall, it turned out to be a false positive (heck, I have more symptoms right now – aside from a temperature of 96.9° – than I did back then), but you obviously understand my, shall we say, aversion to further testing.

So what can I do?

Fortunately, Jan doesn’t appear to be put off by my case of the sniffles, and as the day wears on, it’s hard to distinguish cold symptoms from just my reaction to one or another of the many holiday cards you received (or worse, gave to me – I know we weren’t really ‘card people,’ but the sentiments expressed in some of them now cause me to practically fall apart – especially in cases where the card talks about ‘I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather spend forever with,’ or some such… that sort of thing leaves me an absolute wreck these days). And we have more or less cleared out the sunroom at this point. See for yourself:

But such is the tenor of the times. You suddenly have to worry about the slightest symptom possibly being the harbinger of the deadly plague that has killed so many (although compared to the number of infected, it doesn’t seem as bad as even the ordinary flu, let alone a relatively nasty strain, like that of a hundred years ago), and what it might do to anyone you encounter in your attempts at day-to-day life.

Theoretically, following the guidelines laid down by the authorities should be sufficient to mitigate any spread, even of the cold that I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with. Still, it’s been the kind of year to induce all kinds of fear in a person. Every step you take is the wrong one, until you’re completely paralyzed. And that’s no way to live.

Still, I hope this passes quickly – both this cold (which I hope it is) and the continuing threats of Covid. I want to get back to… well, whatever’s going to pass for normal without you, honey. I need to have people here in this place – and getting these rooms cleared out will go a long way toward that (yes, yes, Ellen, Erin and Kerstin and all have always been willing to put up with it, but I think we’re going to need a lot more company going forward). I hope you’ll understand.

Until next time, I hope you know I love you, and miss you. I’d like to think you’d be pleased with the results (if not the process).

Now, I’ve got to take a DayQuil, and maybe get some rest. We’ve gotten a lot done, and I ought to rest while Chompers does.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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