Wait, What? Fully Vaccinated and COVID?? No Way! My Story...
By all accounts, I'm a healthy, active woman with no significant health issues except controlled high blood pressure. So when COVID first appeared in 2020, I was terrified and skeptical about the future like most people. I didn't want anything to ruin my picture-perfect health. Luckily, I have a career that allowed me to telework to be fully isolated from the very beginning. So, I felt that my chances of contracting COVID were slim.
As time went on, the news became grim; people I knew, friends of friends, and friends' family members were succumbing to COVID. So I became terrified of COVID but reluctant to get the vaccine primarily because I lacked trust and confidence in the information being circulated about the origins of COVID and feared the vaccine even more.
I Resisted The Vaccine
I resisted the vaccine for as long as I could until my adult son became frustrated about my stance. Over time, I became moderately open to possibly taking the vaccine but disheartened that the federal government mandated that Americans take it. Yes, it was a civil liberties issue for me. However, I wanted vaccination to be my choice, not by force. You know we Americans love our freedoms and choice.
Finally, after some convincing and more mandates, the primary reason I relented and agreed to receive the vaccine was that I could not fathom contracting COVID and passing it to a family member or friend who could have succumbed to the illness. I would have been the blame for that and would never have forgiven myself.
I Relented and Was Vaccinated
Eventually, in 2021, I received the vaccine (two doses). But, months before, I embarked on a strict daily regiment of immune-boosting activities, eating healthy and avoiding crowds, public places, etc. As a result, when I received the vaccine, I didn't get sick as most people reported feeling, and the only side effect was a sore arm for several days.
I went on about my daily life, isolating, for the most part, having my groceries delivered, minimizing my social outings, and going out only when necessary to conduct business. Occasionally, my spouse and I would enjoy brunches and dinners, but we cut back on our social obligations and travel by and large.
Up until this point, I had managed to avoid the dreaded disease, and I felt extra blessed.
2021 Holiday Social Gatherings
By December of 2021, I was invited to a few holiday gatherings. Since I had managed to stay safe all year, I didn't think anything of attending these outings; after being vaccinated, I kept my hands sanitized and always wore my favorite FlightsInStilettos masks. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to go out and do fun things that made my life feel normal. My spouse was vehemently against me going out because of the Omicron variant. But once my mind is made up, there's no stopping me.
I Can't Be Sick
Almost immediately after a weekend of fun and half-ass wearing my mask, my health started going downhill. First, I had this insane cough that would make you want to spray Lysol all around me. I couldn't understand why I was coughing like that. It was a dry cough, but it was cough so hard that my ribs started to hurt. Next, I had a terrible headache, my body ached, and all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep. I slept for hours. I had zero energy.
Still, I was like, damn, I guess I got some little "bug" it will pass. By day three, my cough was not controlled (peppermints weren't soothing my throat enough), and every time the Motrin wore off, the body aches would return. I barely ate, didn't feel like being bothered with my beloved dog, and just wanted to stay curled up in a corner.
Then, my spouse Ju said, you need to get a COVID test. I was like, this isn't no damn COVID. I convinced myself it was a cold or even allergies - even though I'm technically not allergic to anything. So I started taking Zyrtec, thinking I'd get better soon.
She'd begun wearing masks around me and spraying and sanitizing or discarding everything I touched, bleaching everything and keeping a safe distance. I remember thinking she was "doing the most" and wondering if she was right. At this point, I felt it necessary to prove I did NOT have COVID and went to get the COVID test. The text came back POSITIVE. I took two more home COVID tests because I didn't believe the initial test. Results: Positive & Positive.
I Have COVID
There was an all of a sudden sinking feeling, thoughts of what did I do, where did I go, how did I get this, where, how long have I had it, did I cause anyone else to get sick? I had to sit with those thoughts. I also had to think back to the encouragement from my son and my spouse to get vaccinated. All I could think about was how lucky I was to have done so because I could have been experiencing symptoms much worse right now or even death.
Quite naturally, my doctor's orders were to isolate for ten days, and even he was like, I hope you know you won't be seeing your family for Christmas. Not only that, I had my spouse Ju to think about -- she was COVID-free, and we had to keep her that way. This meant sleeping in different parts of the house and both of us wearing masks if we passed each other in the home or to talk to one another. Remember, my greatest fear was not me catching it, but me catching it and inadvertently passing it to someone I love who has a worse reaction than me to COVID.
I credit having the vaccine for sparing me from the worst symptoms or even death.
I encourage anyone reading this to consider your health and make a decision that's right for you and your family.
The right thing to do for me was to get the vaccine. Of course, the vaccine doesn't make you invincible, but I believe it reduces your symptoms.
I hate the division between vaccinated and unvaccinated, but God knows, there's nothing worse than a person lying on their deathbed wishing they had only been vaccinated.
I am thankful that I am a COVID survivor.
Be safe out there!!!
Kinyatta E. Gray is the CEO of FlightsInStilettos and the founder of The Stylish Writing Center. Kinyatta is a published author and blogger.