COLUMN: My new perspective on COVID-19

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

Sitting in the parking lot of the doctor’s office on Tuesday, April 22, I kept adjusting my car seat backward until I had room to comfortably stretch out to help calm the body aches and throbbing in my head as I awaited a nurse to give me the big three—a flu test, strep test and COVID-19 test.

After the tests were administered, I drove back home and awaited the results, but in the back of my mind, I already knew what was coming.

I tested negative for flu and strep, while my rapid COVID-19 blood test also came back negative. But I knew not to put too much stock into that with inaccurate results reported regarding rapid tests.

With the symptoms I had, I was almost certain that’s what it was.

I waited another 24 hours for the swab results, and it affirmed what I feared—a positive COVID-19 test.

As I write this on Thursday, April 24, two days after my test and one day after receiving results, I am still battling the virus, and nothing about it has been pleasant.

I’m not writing this to instill fear or for pity, I’m sharing my story as the first on our editorial staff with a confirmed case of the virus to help with understanding.

As a healthy 28-year old who tries to run every day and has practiced proper sanitation when it comes to cleaning my hands and wearing a face mask in public, I still got the virus and it hasn’t been easy.

If I’m being honest, it’s not the worst I’ve ever felt, but it is very similar to the flu I battled a little more than a year ago in January 2020, which did happen to be the worst I’ve ever felt.

But almost worse than the symptoms are the side effects that come along with its impact on everyday life.

I’ve had to watch my wife and dog move to the other side of our house for the next 10 days, I’ve left my coworkers in a difficult spot and I’m forced to my bed during one of the busiest times of the year in our industry.

I have been one of those who for the longest time didn’t take the virus as serious as some. I was smart with how I handled it and how I was around other people, but I also didn’t let it stop me from living my life.

That’s not something I regret, and it’s something I’ll continue to do after I am healthy again, God willing.

But this experience in three days has already given me a new perspective on a virus that has now been around for more than a year.

In that time, 525,049 people have tested positive for the virus in Alabama and there have been 10,824 people have tested positive.

I am very lucky right now that my symptoms haven’t been as bad as those who need to be hospitalized, but the cough that comes from your chest is a scary one that does make you feel like pneumonia is possible.

At some point, every one of those who has tested positive and shown symptoms similar with the flu have probably worried they could be one of those 10,824.

I’m not sure if that’s a legitimate concern or if it’s because the virus has instilled fear since it started, but it’s real.

The percentages will continue to be in favor of most being fine, and I will likely (fingers crossed) be one of those due to my age and health, but don’t wait until you get the virus to have the same perspective I do.

Continue to think of others and be respectful with how you handle the virus because even though you may be fine, there are others who won’t be.