The Human Experience and COVID
“It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations
with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself.” -Scarlett Letter
My son and husband have COVID. By the time you read this, “had” will be more apropos. Not to worry, they are physically okay, and I am COVID-free.
The fascinating thing about COVID is not the physical ramifications but the mental. There is a Scarlet Letter C for COVID. For the first time in my life, I can relate to the character Hester Pryne from The Scarlet Letter. We have not hung a scarlet C in front of our house, but it feels as if we
might have one.
Before I begin my observations on the mental health of COVID, please note that I am in NO way stating in ANY way that being seriously ill or death is a comparison to the mental health aspects of this virus. It most obviously is not. What has been fascinating to observe is how people react and how people treat you when they know there is an active COVID case in your home.
Our first encounter was with our neighbor, who was walking his dog. My husband and I saw him from about thirty feet apart, and we spoke, telling him that our son has COVID. He literally ran away while suggesting a podcast for useful information. His fear was real. It was understandable, but we had never had anyone run away from us before, so that was a first.
Shock and awe. Many friends are stunned and curious. Our son is the first
person they have known, and they have a million questions about exposure, symptoms, how we keep ourselves safe from him, quarantine, testing, and protocol. That is a whole different post on the misinformation of COVID that I will spare you all.
However, being banned/shunned made me wonder if we had a Scarlet C on our home or caller ID? It made me wonder about Hester Pyrene and truly understand how she felt. Just as the book said, “It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself.” It is bad enough to be away from your other children, your family, friends, and the world for 14 days. It is not fun. It is sad, lonely, depressing, and isolating. That is for us that are “healthy” and without symptoms. I can’t imagine adding being severely ill to how people with COVID must feel?
Feeling loved, connected, and cared for is what we all genuinely crave in life. I have to confess that I struggled with sharing these observations. Knowing that I am opening myself up to a million more opinions and emotions that, honestly, I’m not sure I can handle after the past two weeks. However, with the complete overload of information out there, I could not find anything about the human reaction to COVID. These are our experiences, perhaps not everyone’s. I hope that when you know someone who is quarantined (and chances are you do), you reach out with kindness, compassion, and empathy.
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