Pat Reeder, Staff writer
Many of you know me and my wife, Laura Ainsworth, through this newsletter. For over ten years, we have worked as writers/researchers for Gov. Huckabee on his radio, TV, Internet and book projects. He trusts us to dig up news that’s accurate and quotes that are fully sourced and in context, to ferret out fake news, and not to share slanted stores that ignore some facts to support a viewpoint, even if we agree with it. There’s plenty of that elsewhere.
Since you know we are straight shooters who try to bring you the honest truth, we thought you might be interested in hearing our personal experience with contracting COVID-19. This was frightening news for us. Even though we are otherwise healthy and not elderly, we’d heard all the scare stories. Laura is also an award-winning retro-jazz singer and recording artist (you can hear her music here: http://www.lauraainsworth.com and on “Huckabee” with the Music City Connection here. So we have to protect her voice.
Plus, she has a preexisting condition: In 2009, she got swine flu (H1N1) during the second wave, which was only diagnosed later because they weren’t testing for it even that late (so much for Biden’s claim that he would handle pandemics better than Trump.) She was very sick for eight months, developed pneumonia and pleurisy, and suffered permanent scarring on her lungs that recently sent her to the ER. She even had to relearn to sing after that.
So we were very worried last month when we came down with suspiciously familiar symptoms. After a trip to a parking lot testing center where we had to stick a six-inch Q-Tip up our noses until our eyes watered, we were told to self-quarantine until we got the results. A few days later, the tests came back: Positive. We both had the Covid.
We were asked if we knew where we got it. No. We’d followed all the precautions: hand washing and hand sanitizer, social distancing (I’ve been doing that since high school), working from home (which we’ve done for years), masks in public, etc. We did go to a few restaurants, but they all took extreme precautions, and we only sat in open-air patios far from other diners. This suggested to me that much of the talk about the precautions – and Biden’s insistence on expanding and enforcing them indefinitely – is mostly “security theater.” If you really know anything about “science” and the size of viruses, you know that wearing a cheap surgical mask to stop a virus is like putting up a chain link fence to keep out mosquitoes.
What was the disease like? We both coughed a lot. We had fevers, but never that high, and they went away after four or five days. We lost our senses of smell (it’s weird to hold a jar of peanut butter up to your nose and smell nothing), but luckily, that’s come back. We had no appetites and had to force ourselves to eat. We also felt queasy (it’s odd to feel like you might throw up when your stomach is so empty it’s cramping.) We also lost much of our sense of taste (I mean our taste buds, not that we started listening to Cardi B music.) Unfortunately, we retained enough to have a constant horrible taste in our mouths, like sucking on pennies. We had no energy and slept a LOT, suffered headaches and body aches, and our skin was so sensitive that having clothes or blankets touching us was very irritating.
Fortunately, we live in a place where there are plenty of delivery options, so we had food, medicine and (most importantly) supplies for the 12 rescued parrots and cockatoos we live with.
We started to feel better after a week or so. As sick as we were, we never missed a day’s work on the newsletter or TV show or a day’s birdcage cleaning, so I think you could say we definitely had mild cases. We never took anything other than aspirin, Pepto-Bismol and vitamins. Laura is still trying to get some energy back, and I still have a lingering wheezy cough, but we’re out of quarantine and mostly back to normal.
This is not in any way meant to downplay the seriousness of this disease, because we know it’s been much worse, even deadly, for some people, so we count ourselves lucky. But for us, as bad as it was, it was hardly the worst thing we ever had (I had something far worse last winter that dragged on for two months.) For most people like us (not elderly and otherwise in good health), it seems to be like a bad, rather weird version of the flu that’s mostly over within a week.
Now that we've had it, we feel strangely relieved. All that worry and effort avoiding it, then we got it, and…that’s it? It’s over now? I feel like making T-shirts that say, “I’d had it already, so save your mask lecture.”
Our experience did convince me that shutting down the world economy over this was one of the dumbest mistakes in history. We should have scrupulously protected those most at risk (like not putting COVID-19 patients into nursing homes), encouraged everyone else to follow reasonable precautions (for all the good it did us), and otherwise gone on with life. I seriously doubt that the death rates would have been noticeably different (look at Sweden), but millions of people would have been much better off and countless businesses would not now be extinct.
Finally, do I blame Donald Trump because we got sick from a virus that lying Chinese communists unleashed on the world? Of course not, I’m not an idiot. The same people who’ve spent the past four years saying Trump is crazy to think he can keep millions of illegal immigrants from crossing the border now expect us to believe he had the power to keep a virus out. I’m just glad we didn’t catch whatever brain disease they have.