Like so many, we became entangled in a Covid scare. It was unsettling.
Twelve days ago, an electrician was installing recessed lights in our new apartment in Annapolis. We learned four days later she had tested positive for Covid. Our life changed for a few days, maybe more.
We immediately informed two couples who had hosted us for drinks the two nights following the electrical installation. We informed the management of our retirement community. Of course, we informed family. We cancelled any further work in our apartment.
The powers-to-be then issued a memorandum—sounded like a decree—prohibiting the admission of any vendors unless they could show evidence of negative Covid tests. Beware what the Freedlanders have wrought!
Maybe we should return to the Eastern Shore, where life is simpler.
A day after we learned about the electrician’s positive test and five days after our exposure—she was masked, incidentally—we submitted to our third Covid test, provided by the Maryland Department of Health under a tent in a state parking lot near the State House in Annapolis. We stood in the cold for 15-20 minutes before the test was administered.
We chose to be notified rapidly, and in a few days according to the stand protocol. We initially tested negative, meaning it was likely that the final result would be the same after a longer test analysis. Those administering the test were courteous, kind and professional.
Now I better understand tracing. I better understand super-spreaders. Though my wife and I were not the latter, we were potential transmitters. The spotlight was shining on us.
So much for settling in quietly and unobtrusively. We tried to be good, non-attention getting citizens in Talbot County. We sought no notoriety.
Our concern had context as well. A very good and longtime friend “back home” (can’t help myself) tested positive two weekend ago. His primary symptom had been fatigue. He had no idea when and where the virus invaded his space and took the wind out of his sails. He was fortunate he didn’t require hospitalization.
He’s now a statistic. He also will now be free of fear, I think, from another viral assault and being a spreader. I’m not sure this reality is consoling. I’m not sure I’m right. COVID-19 is persistent and insidious.Reports of an upcoming vaccine, to be administered soon in two shots, do provide a scintilla of optimism. I trust it will restore normalcy and unmasked human contact again.
Year 2021 might be a historic one, a time for unrestrained joy in reducing social distancing. Nearly halfway through the last month of a tortuous and tragic 2020, we might soon see relief.
By the way, we received our standard Covid-test results. They were negative. Life seemed less cloudy, less threatening.
We hope that the spotlight on our apartment and us will dim. Installation of recessed lighting brought too much illumination for these Annapolis newcomers.
As of last Friday, my friend had recovered, another category in which his case now resides. Is he fully recovered? Could he be re-infected, or is he now protected from further disease? His case was relatively mild. Still, he remained homebound for 14 days.
Freedom comes with the price of isolation, marked by fatigue and coughing.
Before I complete this column, I pay homage to a Hospice hero. Unable to sever our umbilical cord to our hometown of Easton, we returned the past Saturday to attend a memorial service for Millie Parrott outside at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. She was the first and longtime volunteer coordinator for the Talbot Hospice Foundation. She worked several years with my wife Liz, its former executive director.
Millie was an anchor. She helped innumerable families. She understood that impending death required special attention and compassionate care for the patient and the family.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.