MATTHEWS: Reflections on the 1-year anniversary of my family’s COVID-19 experiences

I was perusing Facebook recently when I came across one of their “memories” posts.

It was a photo I’d taken of some breakfast I’d fixed. The caption read, “May not seem like much, but mom and I had enough energy to cook a small breakfast. Good news is we could taste it. We’d lost the ability to taste some foods when we got the coronavirus, so this is a welcome development. Dad currently in hospital being treated for COVID. Keep praying.”

The photo surprised me. Not because I’d forgotten the three of us had gotten COVID, because that is something people who have battled COVID don’t forget. But it slipped my mind that August was the one-year anniversary.

I paused to reflect on our experiences and how fortunate and blessed we were in the scheme of things to have survived it. As we all know, so many have not, and unfortunately many continue to die from it.

Longtime readers may remember some of this because I wrote a column a year ago this week detailing my family’s bout with COVID and how terrified I was when mom and I had first gotten our CVS test results back. I’d read mine first, and I knew if I had it, that she had it, and very likely that my dad had it (he was tested in the hospital a few days later, and it was confirmed — fortunately, he didn’t have to stay in the hospital long).

My first worry was for them. They were extremely high risk for serious cases considering their age and my dad’s multiple health issues. I kept thinking about how careful we’d been all that time. We had even stopped visiting each other outside of me delivering groceries to mom’s doorstep. But the week I caught it was the first week I’d resumed my caregiver role since the pandemic started, which meant staying over for a few days at a time to help out with things around the house and to help care for dad.

To this day we still don’t know who caught it first, but we believe it might have been my dad, who has to go to a medical facility three times a week and who is around a lot of other senior citizens and healthcare workers.

Considering what others have gone through, our cases were mild, but the next two weeks getting through it were a struggle. It completely and utterly zaps you of energy. Extreme fatigue and loss of taste were my main and ongoing symptoms throughout my battle, while coughing, sore throats and fatigue were the main issues mom and dad experienced. Because I’m a caregiver and because they felt worse than I did, I had to care for them while I was fighting COVID myself.

Auto-pilot kicked in for me, and I did what I needed to do for them and for me — fortunately, we made it through. We do still deal with some of the lingering side effects from COVID, like mom and I sometimes lose our sense of taste, so things that we used to enjoy sometimes taste like cardboard. We get fatigued more often than we used to.

For all I know, dad hasn’t dealt with any lingering effects from it, not that he’d admit to it if he did.

Though we got COVID and survived it, we all still got the vaccine as a precautionary measure. I have felt safer since I got it, but it’s scary to know that the Delta variant can still sneak through and infect someone who has been fully vaccinated, though at this point the cases are still rare.

I pray everyone is continuing to do what they need to in order to stay safe from this horrible disease.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.