I was one of the first people in the U.S. vaccinated for COVID back on December 16, 2020. And yet it has only been in the last month or so that I have begun venturing out in public unprotected. I still wear an N-95 for every 12 and a half hour shift in the ER, and I continue to wear a KN-95 at the gym, but things are changing fast. To wit:
- I had dinner with my wife and 2 BFF at our house. No masks. It felt scary for about 1 minute, then normal.
- My wife and I went to our yearly overnight anniversary in Rockport, MA. While there, I didn’t wear a mask at the Inn. I also didn’t wear a mask at 2 restaurants. And I didn’t wear a mask while shopping.
- Today, we went to an outdoor public pool. Lots of children — clearly unvaccinated children. For a moment, I panicked and put on a surgical mask before I realized I was outdoors, and it was 90 degrees with a breeze. Mask off.
The earth kept spinning, and I was surprised how quickly I felt comfortable. Not saying I got too close to any children, mind you, but I was outdoors on a beautiful summer day, enjoying life.
After working as an ER nurse in the apocalyptic first wave of the pandemic in NYC, witnessing death on an unimaginable scale, seeing how helpless we were to stop the onslaught, watching our colleagues fall ill, some of them dying, wondering if me or my loved ones would be next — after living through that and starting to see the beginnings of post-COVID life, I am struck by how resilient human beings are.
Life, such as it is, goes on.
There’s something comforting in that.