By Judi Markowitz
Covid came crashing through our door a few weeks ago . He was unwelcome, and I truly did not expect him at this point in the game. Everyone else in the family had contracted Covid at varying times in the past few years, and we considered ourselves the lucky ones. I thought we had dodged the bullet and squeaked by this this foul intruder. I was wrong.
From the onset of the pandemic, our family followed all the precautionary measures to remain safe. We wore masks, stayed away from large crowds, washed our hands constantly, and were vigilant due to the health issues of our daughter, Lindsay. The fear and trepidation that I had when Covid first reared its ugly head in 2020 was paralyzing. Viewing the rising number of infections and death tolls daily was incomprehensible. It brought back memories of being a teenager and watching TV as the number of troops deployed to Vietnam kept soaring. Consequently, there were also the wounded and death tolls broadcast every day. I could not comprehend Vietnam then, just as I could not grasp this new raging battle against Covid.
It was January 2021 and the first vaccines for those 65 and older had just become available in Michigan. My husband, Jeffrey, and I secured our date and times to receive this life-saving gift, and we thought we could do the same for Lindsay. We were wrong. When inquiring about a potential time frame for Lindsay to be vaccinated, we were told that her age group would not be approved until the spring. This information seemed crazy. How could they deny a person with an extremely rare condition medical intervention at such a pressing time? Lindsay’s doctor wrote a letter explaining her need for a vaccine and we pleaded with the medical staff. First, we asked the nurses, then the supervisors, and lastly the managers. The answers were all the same — not now. Apparently being 41, and severely disabled with a respiratory condition, was not significant enough.
Upon hearing about our dilemma, a close family friend in Chicago sprang into action and arranged for Lindsay to be vaccinated. She worked in the medical profession and was obviously well connected. So, in January 2021, we embarked on a road trip to Chicago. We drove there twice, approximately six weeks apart as prescribed. Of course, both times it was snowing heavily. We stayed in a hotel that was pristine and Covid-clean, ordered carry-out, and drove the next morning to the vaccine site. Lindsay received her shots while seated in the car, and then we were on our way home.
When the boosters became available, Jeffrey called our friendly neighborhood pharmacist and made appointments for all of us to be vaccinated. Approximately six months after that, we did a repeat performance. Our intention was to receive the new Covid-19 Bivalent Booster when it became available in the fall. However, our plans did not matter because Mr. Covid didn’t care about our time frame or intentions.
At the beginning of September, our son Chad came over for a visit after work and mentioned that he didn’t feel well, and was worried that he might have Covid.. He immediately took a home test and sure enough it was positive. The next day Jeffrey commented that he had been feeling tired, so he took a Covid test too. One more victim fell to Mr. Covid. Lindsay and I were both fine, but the odds were not in our favor anymore. Ironically, we received a phone call from Lindsay’s day program ; Lindsay had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid. The writing was on the wall — we had Covid too.
It was apparent that Mr. Covid was a slick operator. He only stayed for a few days and then this invader disappeared. I must say that we were all incredibly lucky since we had mild cases. Our Covid symptoms caused all four of us to have insatiable thirst. We drank water like there was a perpetual spring in our house. Thankfully, we had an ample supply of Ice Mountain water bottles to help quench our thirst. Energy levels were down and so was our appetite. At times my legs felt weak, as if I had just gotten out of a kayak after a two-hour excursion on the lake. I also sounded like I had a cold. But other than that, I felt no symptoms.
One thing that I was incredibly grateful for is that none of us lost our ability to taste. It would have been a sad day for me if that had occurred. I am a long standing chocaholic and not tasting that divine flavor everyday would have thrown me into withdrawal. Lindsay would have been in trouble as well. She has a penchant for Coca-Cola and watching her savor each sip is hugely enjoyable.
I have often compared myself to the Energizer Bunny — I am always busy. But Lindsay is like the Energizer Bunny on steroids, with a bigger, better battery. She is action-packed from the moment she wakes up until late at night. So Covid did not deter Lindsay from her usual routine. If I hadn’t seen her test results with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have suspected that Lindsay had Covid. I have immense gratitude that she was spared a difficult case. Since she had to stay home from her day program, Jeffrey and I took to the road and gave Lindsay her usual pleasure rides to distances unknown. We looked for walking trails that were virtually empty and stayed outside much of the day enjoying the nice weather–away from other humans.
Paradoxically, two years ago, the notorious Mr. Covid graced our family with one remarkable gift : the return to the U.S. of our son Todd, daughter-in-law Chana Tova and our seven grandchildren. They had been living in Israel for 17 years. Skype and Facetime had been our mainstay but, it could not compete with their actual presence on a daily basis. I knew we were missing so many life experiences and milestones– it became even more pronounced upon their return. I could finally be an integral part of their lives and enjoy seeing them grow.
Their decision to stay in Michigan was driven by Covid. They came for a 10-day visit in October 2020. Soon after, Israel closed its doors and those who held visas were no longer able to return. They were in a quandary. My son’s job as a teacher ended due to the country’s pandemic lockdown and the grandchildren had been out of school since March. Tough decisions had to be made, so they went into deep contemplation mode. After a few days of considering the possibilities for their family in the U.S., they decided to stay. Todd secured a teaching position, and they enrolled the kids in school. The rest is history.
Covid’s appearance at our door at this late date was unwanted. But our whole family being together at last–priceless.
Judi Markowitz is a retired high school English teacher of 34 years. She primarily taught 12th grade and had the pleasure of her three sons gracing her classes. In addition, she taught debate, forensics, and Detroit film. Judi has four adult children and seven wonderful grandchildren. She is married to Jeffrey Markowitz, whom she met in high school.
Judi grew up in Oak Park, Mich. which had a stellar school district, with excellent teachers. The city provided activities for all–and there were even sidewalks. Judi moved to Huntington Woods as an adult, which is a half mile from her childhood home. She wanted the same experience for her children as she had growing up, and Huntington Woods provided that. The View from Four Foot Two is Judi’s first book.