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COVID + Deadlines = Panic
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 5-11-22
Kim Van Meter

Let me join the chorus of lamentation when I say, “The new normal sucks.”

The pandemic has morphed into an endemic, which means, it’s not going anywhere. We missed the window to shut it down and now, it’s here to stay.

Not only is it here but it’s bringing all of its mutant variants for a good ol’ fashioned hootenanny to ensure by nightfall, we’re all infected at some point.

Reminds me of the first major plot twist in the ‘Walking Dead’ series: Surprise! Everyone is infected and going to go full zombie as soon as it’s their time for that long goodnight.

But I digress.

My house was hit again with the COVID-19 virus — and just like the first time, the suckage is real.

Four out of the six people in my home were/are sick with something.

It went like this: Husband tested positive for the ‘Vid, oldest son came home from drill (US Army Reserves) with some kind of bug but tested negative for the big baddie, daughter came home from prom with something (everyone she carpooled with has since tested positive), and I have been sneezing, hacking, and suffering another intense parosmia flare-up from the first time I got sick.

All the while, I’ve been crushed between deadlines coming at me from all sides and I can barely keep my head above water.

Oh, and someone always needs something.

Moms aren’t allowed to get sick.

I’m going to admit that I’m not cut out to be a nurse. I’ve done my best but as my family is quick to point out, my best is only a notch above the surly prison guard in charge of dispensing meds who hates their job and dreams of quitting at any given moment.

I say I’m not that bad but I’m outnumbered so it is what it is.

On my best day, I’m not their choice for caregiver when they’re sick so imagine when I’m also sick, yet trying to get work done, and keep everyone alive at the same time.

Yeah, it’s a traveling circus from the deep underground of Hades and Co.

All I can say is thank goodness for Instacart and the fact that I can work from home.

At least I don’t have to wear pants.

But I’m sick of this sickness.

All passive-aggressive jokes aside, the next person who pops off with how COVID-19 is nothing more serious than a severe cold/mild flu is going to get a baleful stare from me.

I am permanently damaged from COVID-19. I’m a long-hauler. The virus destroyed my olfactory senses and nothing (yes, I’ve tried everything) has restored my sense of smell. Sometimes the phantom smell of ammonia is so strong, my eyes water. Other times, all I smell is cigarette smoke. And then, there are the times when all I smell is some indescribable sweet/sour like the nasal assault of rotting fruit found in a plastic bag during the height of summer.

Good times.

And that’s just my nose. I haven’t even touched on how the brain fog has made basic thought a challenge and the next level fatigue makes getting through a single day without a nap, nearly impossible.

Safe to say, I’m over this virus stuff but it’s here to stay.

And so are deadlines.

So, if you see me on the street, shuffling down the sidewalk with a dead-eye stare, the writers of the universe have revealed our plot twist — no one’s getting out of here unscathed — and we’re all infected.



Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide a monthly column.