When I received a text message from my sister, who I had just visited in Olympia, Washington, informing me that she, her husband, and their son all had Covid, it occurred to me that perhaps I too should get tested for the scourge that has, in one way or another, changed the lives of virtually every American over the past two and a half years or so.
Oops. It seems I’ve brought a little something extra back from my trip to the Pacific Northwest.
So how does one best react to a positive Covid test?
One method is to combine resentment (This is so unfair! I don’t deserve this! Why couldn’t this happen to someone who does deserve it, like the grouchy lady at the motor vehicle department, the guy who cut me off in traffic, or the cheaters on the Houston Astros?) with feeling sorry for myself (Why now? I don’t want to quarantine! It’s my summer vacation! I work hard all year for this. Why can’t this happen at some more convenient time, like on a rainy week in March, or during the dead of winter, or on the day my colonoscopy is scheduled? And the days are getting shorter! This is so unfair! Oh, woe is me!) and assigning blame for my horrible plight. (It was my neighbors! It was my co-workers! No, it had to be that guy I sat next to on the airplane; I knew he didn’t look clean! It was the airline; that plane was filthy! It was the airport; it was even filthier than the plane! It was my sister! It was her family! It was her neighbors!)
A second method of dealing with my current situation is to put an attitude of gratitude to work. This would involve reminding myself that prior to this one positive test, I had gone more than 28 months without even a sniffle, and that the vast majority of my friends and colleagues have been unaffected by Covid as well. It’s also worth noting that I have reliable access to food and potable water, and can consume those necessities in a comfortable, safe, and secure home. I have family nearby who are not only capable of seeing to my well-being, they are willing and eager to do so. I live in an area that allows me to go outside periodically and get some fresh air without endangering others. I have access to technology that allows me to communicate regularly with friends and family without putting any of them at risk. I have a stack of books that I’ve been wanting to read, and now I’ve got the time to do it. I can cook at my leisure, and I’ve got plenty of alcohol wipes and similar cleaning materials that can disinfect any and all utensils once I’m done with them. I can do laundry as needed, and I can use this temporary “found time” to prepare for the six new classes of high schoolers I’ll be meeting for the first time this fall. Plus I can even put my thoughts into writing and get them published in a major metropolitan newspaper, assuming that I consider Windham, Maine a major metropolitan area. (Which, for the purpose of keeping a positive attitude, I currently do.)
So regarding my reaction to a positive Covid test, my choices are, if I understand them correctly:
A) Employing an exhausting and toxic combination of anger, self-pity, and finger-pointing, or
B) Counting my many blessings, using this unexpected “time-out” productively, and realizing that before long this too shall pass.
I choose option B.Andy Young
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