I’ve always been a little (or a lot, depending on who you ask) behind the times. I’ve waited until 2021 to start a blog, I’ve never posted a photo of my food to social media, and it’s taken me until August 2021 to contract COVID-19, which has been plaguing our nation and the world since late 2019/early 2020. I’m a breakthrough case (I got the one-shot J&J vaccine back in March). Sorry to let friends and fans down, but I’m in a position of having to cancel a show for the first time (at least that I can recall). I won’t be able to play “Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights” next Saturday (my apologies to the event planners). I want to share my story in the hopes that it might help parents and others with their own healthcare decisions regarding the virus and vaccinations.
I started running a low-grade fever Friday evening which persisted during the day on Saturday. However, apart from a little nasal congestion, I didn’t think much of it – just seemed like a common cold. Wasn’t until last night in bed when I popped a cough drop in my mouth and couldn’t taste it, that made me suspect that I might have COVID. Went to urgent care first thing this morning and tested positive. Once I knew of my positive test, I reached out to folks at work (I had been in my building Friday afternoon), cast members in the production I am currently in rehearsals for (we were building the set Wednesday and Thursday evenings), and any other close contacts. Thankfully, despite being fully vaccinated, I’ve taken to avoid public places and have generally masked up indoors in recent weeks as the delta variant has been pushing case numbers upward.
I’m actually feeling quite well (8/10 compared to normal). My family is fine – my wife and eldest son are fully vaccinated (Moderna and Pfizer, respectively), and no one is symptomatic. They don’t need to be tested immediately, but will have to 10-day quarantine (or 7 day and get a negative test in days 5-7). My boys just started back to school (Thursday and Friday were their first days) and now they’ll have to miss at least a week. I must admit that when the COVID case numbers started to climb in late July, I was getting nervous. Last year, similar numbers caused my wife and I to opt for virtual learning for the boys. This year that wasn’t even an option even though this strain clearly is more contagious. As long as they can keep from getting it from me, home may be the best place for my boys over the next week or so. Apart from the quarantine, the biggest drag is the loss of taste, but I have some positive news on that front.
I’m currently quarantining in my master bedroom and minimizing contact with my family members. My wife made a delicious dinner which was delivered by my two younger sons (they are a big help during my shows, and an even bigger help now). I was thrilled to be able to taste some of the Panko breading on the fish and the ketchup. She followed up with a homemade raspberry sorbet (yes, it is perfectly natural to be playing Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” in your head at this point). Of course, the final course of the meal is my “COVID cocktail” of medications. It’s a mixture of prescription medicines and vitamins, and I’m hoping that these will help to stave off any other symptoms.
I’m one of the lucky ones — I’m relatively young, in good health, and have no underlying conditions. I did what was asked of me and got vaccinated as soon as it was available. And I’m still sick. Did science get it wrong? In my mind, science got it as right as it could in the moment. My background is in meteorology (spent a decade as a professional weatherman) — a field that revolves around probabilities. I was aware when I got the vaccination that there was still a chance that I could contract the virus — a chance that obviously went up with a highly-contagious variant on the scene and more unmasked/untested/possibly asymptomatic people roaming around Mississippi. The vaccine was not a guarantee to not get the virus. That said, the odds are in my favor that I’ll not develop a serious illness. The same cannot be said for those who remain unvaccinated as the delta variant casts a wider net.
This should not be about politics — this is all about probabilities. Keep the odds on your side by getting vaccinated — for yourself, for your family and for your community.