It’s 2021 and 1 out of 5 Americans are now fully vaccinated, including myself. Others like my mom are completely anti-vaxxers and distrust not only this vaccine, but the government in general. Some of us got Covid and survived. Others lost friends and loved ones who often times died without seeing their loved ones all alone in isolation. Some of us lost jobs. Others worked harder than ever. Some of us got married, got divorced, had babies, adopted new pets, took up new hobbies. Some of us revel in delight at being able to work from home. Others have a hard time with at home offices or online learning. Some people felt isolated, other people didn’t even bat an eye at the lack of human contact. We all have different physical and emotional needs. So how we experienced and continue to experience the pandemic is different for everyone, even in the same household. No two people are exactly alike.
The year was 2019. Economy was the best it’d been in decades. I myself had just received a hefty bonus at my company which I had used to buy plane tickets and hotel for 2 weeks in Japan. My life long dream. The trip was scheduled for June of 2020. Needless to say, it never happened. Yes June is the rainy season in Japan, but my boyfriend, now fiancé, is a school teacher so summer travel makes more sense and I wanted to avoid the huge swathes of people flocking to Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics… which needless to say, the Olympics also didn’t happen. Covid 19 crushed my dream. And interrupted some plans in our relationship. My boyfriend, now fiancé, couldn’t keep a secret and told me how he planned to propose to me either in Sky Tree or Tokyo Tower overlooking the city lights. Other setbacks also arose.
I was gratefully refunded both the airfare and hotel room, back in January or February of 2020 when everyone still thought of this as an Asian disease that was mostly going to stay over there. I at least didn’t think it’d bring the US to its knees like the past 2 years has played out. So I took my refunded money and booked a really super deluxe Disney World trip. Staying right inside the park, the highest meal plans, all the bells and whistles. Well then in March Disney World closed down. Disney World gratefully refunded me, however, Southwest did not. I do have an airline voucher for future travel, but it felt shitty because who knows when we can travel again. Japan’s borders still aren’t open for US travel. They aren’t letting anyone in to watch the Olympics even. And Disney World and other Resorts around the US are limited capacity and some restaurants, experiences and attractions are changed.
My fiancé also wanted to propose at Disney World. But like I said, that also didn’t happen. Instead, we went to Ocean City. Yes in the middle of the pandemic and without vaccinations. Maryland was way less restricted than Pittsburgh. Here bars were open and indoor dining was open. The beaches were open, although they were almost empty.
It was a nice trip. My fiancé had grown up spending all of his summers there. It was nice to see where he had spent his childhood. And yes he did propose. Not on the boardwalk or beach or fancy restaurant, but simply alone together in our hotel room. It was personal and private and sweet and romantic. Love doesn’t need big public displays. It just needs to come from the heart.
Spending quarantine with my fiancé was nice too. I feel like it made us closer. I became very ill in January or February. I was in hospitals and seen doctors, but no one knew what was wrong. I was never tested at that time for Covid because I never had a fever. I had like bad sinus/throat congestion, a bad cough, and vomiting. But never a fever.
Fast forward to March of 2020, I had a grand mal seizure. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. One year later, April of 2021, I am writing from a hospital bed right now where I have been for the past 2 days doing a week long Epilepsy Monitoring. I have only had 2 grand mal seizures and one was when I was a toddler or infant. And the other in March of 2020. I have strange ticks or tremors, which I recall ever since grade school. They get so bad sometimes the teachers would pull me out of class send me to the nurse or even send me home.
I had told myself for a long time that I was going to get it checked out, but prior to my March 2020 grand mal, the tremors were infrequent, maybe once every 3 or 4 months. Now it’s usually multiple times a week. I had one the day before I came into the hospital. Wouldn’t you guess, I haven’t had any since being in the hospital. They took away my anti seizure medication today to see if that would cause anything.
I am told there’s a 50/50 chance I have epilepsy. And as soon as I checked in the asked me if I was ever abused or witnessed abuse. I couldn’t say no. But it was years ago, ending in 2013 I think. My ex husband was very abusive. He came at me with a knife one time, before turning it on himself. We pinned/pushed me to the wall, grabbed my throat. He got an inch from my face, screaming at the top of his lungs. If I cried or told him he was hurting me, he’d tell me good that I deserved to hurt. Or if I cried afterwards, he’d yell at me for making him feel guilty/feel like a monster. I should have left, but I didn’t. I tried to, and he’d cry and I’d feel bad. I stayed with him for 10 years. But we were only married about 2 months before separating. The reason, he claimed I left a door unlocked. One time, in all the years? Also a few days before that I had spilled some water while feeding the cats. It was just water. He threatened to divorce then. The door unlocked thing I guess was the last straw to him. Enough to throw away a marriage. But once I was out that time, I was happy. I never regretted the end of that Marriage. We had to stay separated for 1 year before we could file divorce at the time in the state we were living. I didn’t ask for anything even though we had just bought a house, which I had paid the down payment for. He even kept the cats, which he mostly yelled at or kept in crates. I miss the cats, but not him. A year after our divorce he remarried. That marriage too lasted less than a year, and then he killed himself. I know because I had to get the death certificate for my upcoming wedding. And it said integral gunshot wound to the mouth. It also lists history of prior suicide attempts and history of bipolar.
But would abuse from 7 years ago cause a seizure suddenly? I do have anxiety. I have always had anxiety and even when they hooked me up to this hospital equipment this week, they had to tell me to keep breathing and my veins kept collapsing. Even now I keep hearing the beeps of the monitor about my tachycardia. I did a little google searching and discovered 20% of seizures are caused by tachycardia. But even with Tachycardia I haven’t had any seizures while under surveillance.
I had read about people my age being asymptomatic and having only a seizure and a stroke as their Covid symptoms. Many of them died even. I forgot to mention when I had my grand mal seizure I also had a stroke at the same time back in March 2020.
My fiancé was the one who saw my seizure and called 911. He took care of me. He’s been there for me through a lot of other health crisis. I had a large tumor removed from my leg and a smaller one from my head back in 2018 or 2019. He would sleep on the floor by the couch where I slept because I couldn’t get up the stairs after my leg surgery. He’d sleep on the floor and hold my hand.
My fiancé is a very outgoing athletic person. The complete opposite of myself. His experience during the pandemic and my own experiences are completely different. He hated every second of it, but I didn’t really mind it much at all.
I did work for awhile after my grand mal but because of my condition and cutting back due to Covid, I was laid off a few months after the pandemic started. I was later brought back on a contracted as needed basis, but must get my own health insurance and other things now. The trade off is, I work from home and save money on gas and lunches and other things that way. Health insurance though because of my pre-existing conditions of Epilepsy and Stroke is quite expensive.
My fiancé was laid off too for about a 2 month period, that actually almost coincided with my stroke and seizure. So the timing was good because he could take care of me. He has been working again but not the same or full schedule and sometimes the kids are online or in pods or other situations.
Aside from working though, I love to stay home. My favorite things are playing games, watching anime, watching Kdramas, playing with my dolls, drawing, blogging, reading manga, and napping. My fiancé on the other hand is the opposite of me. He hates being cooped up in the house. He plays sports almost daily. Soccer, pickle ball, etc. He even played pickle ball when we were on vacation in Ocean City. He plays several days a week. But when things were locked down, gyms were locked down, and in winter he couldn’t play outside as often. My fiancé also loves people. He is a huge people person. He wants to sit at the bar when we go out so he can chat with people and watch people. He wants to bar hop – not as much anymore since meeting me, but if I’m out of town or something that’s generally what he and his coworkers do. They start at one bar and go to about 4 others before the night is through. Well in Pennsylvania bars just reopened like a week ago. So you can imagine he’s missed his normal active social life and routine.
It’s not that I hate people. I am just content alone. I do miss having my monthly board game meetings. First the club house at our apartments closed. I invited a small handful of 4-5 people over to my apartments once a month that I had already gotten to know well. But I don’t want internet strangers knowing my actual address. Then Covid really started ramping up and people got more cautious, including myself. So we haven’t invited board game people over since last fall. Some of my board games require more than 2 people to play, so I haven’t even been able to play some of the new games I received say at Christmas etc.
Now that most of us are fully vaccinated, I’m hoping to have a meeting next month. I don’t yet know where I will have it because I think our apartment club house is still closed due to Covid concerns. We are also moving in June as my fiancé just bought a house. So there soon will not be a club house for us to use. I will also miss the swimming pool at the apartments. I won’t miss the 3 flights of stairs, the loud music, the smell of weed from literally every neighbor, barking dogs, crying kids, leaking faucets, and plethora of other problems. But I will miss some things. Especially the memories we’ve made over the years together in the apartment.
Since getting engaged, we’re also busy trying to plan a wedding. Our wedding date is August 28, 2021. Planning a wedding in Covid times is a challenge itself. First of all, there’s still restrictions in guest count and other things, and to make matters worse, all the brides of 2020 who decided to cancel or postpone their 2020 weddings, rebooked venues and vendors for 2021. We had slim pickings for reception venue. Many were already booked for our date. But we did find one and moving along accordingly.
In order to get married, I chose to convert to Catholicism for my fiancé. He didn’t ask me to. We could have gotten married at any church, including the Catholic one. Or we could have been married outdoors, I prefer outdoor weddings anyways. My first wedding was outdoors. We had chicken and ribs on the bbq. Redneck wedding ahaha. But the food was delicious and people had more fun, than at a stuffy fancy place. I honestly don’t get a whole lot of say in the wedding, as my fiancé’s parents are paying for half of it. She picked the flowers and mostly had her say in the venue. We looked at 3 or 4, that had our date open. My fiancé and I were happier with a smaller cheaper one. But in the end we went with the country club. It is very pretty. One of my fiancé’s friends was married there so he has seen it all set up for a wedding.
My dress is quite pretty. I had purchased it shortly after my divorce actually when I was still single and It is an Alfred Angelo Limited Edition Disney Princess dress. It was brand new, but it was a sample, and they cut the tags off, so we’re not sure exactly but we think it’s a princess Jasmine. They change them every year too. But we think its a 2012 or 2013 Jasmine. It’s in the diamond white color. I modified it to put a corset in the back as I think it gives you a more feminine shape. I also got my veil on wish for just $8 and its beautiful and amazing. It’s cathedral length and has beautiful embroidery, like flowers, it is stunning.
As part of my conversion to Catholicism, I had to take RCIA courses. Typically these would be in person at the church, but these were mostly held over zoom due to Covid. I was baptized in the Church this past weekend. My fiancé was my sponsor.
These are just some of the ways Covid has impacted our lives. For me, it crushed my dream of finally going to Japan. It may have provoked or caused my Stroke and Epilepsy. And it allowed me to work from home. It presented challenges in planning a wedding. And everything, even church services, are mostly held on zoom meetings these days. I liked that it gave me more one on one time with my fiancé. Especially in a time when I was sick and recovering from a stroke. I didn’t get to go to Japan or Disney World, but we did take a trip and I swam in the ocean, laid on the beach, walked the boardwalk, and ate good fresh seafood, and got engaged. It wasn’t the trip of my dreams, but it became the best trip of my life due to the memories I made with my fiancé. Even now trying to figure out where to go for our honey moon there’s still restrictions and obstacles that will make selecting a destination more challenging. I am truly blessed and thankful that I did not lose a loved one to Covid. I know so many people who lost someone this past year. I feel their pain and mourn their loss. I know before this pandemic is over, many more people will die as well. I think if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s to treasure your time with your friends, family, and loved ones. You never know when it might be the last time.