The current COVID-19 death count in America sits at roughly 138,000. In any world, a number that high would be a problem. In our present situation, even the death count numbers are embellished.
So who do we trust?
I've always trusted experience over hype. Experience over hysteria. Experience over Facebook. Experience over memes. Experience over group think studies. And experience over a bunch of your friends who haven't had the virus either.
I would trust a survivor of COVID-19.
If you're paying attention to the news on any level you'll see nothing but mass hysteria over schools reopening. People are terrified of sending their kids to a school where a virus exists with a death toll affecting just 0.0420% of the people.
It's a bit ridiculous.
Since we got the numbers knocked out of the way, let's walk through the 12-18 days of COVID-19 for a person with pre-existing cardiovascular and gastrointestinal issues. Keep in mind that we're not all the same and we won't all respond the same, but I'm assuming I responded to COVID-19 like the remaining 99.958% of America because I'm alive and thankful.
First, let's talk about the Facebook memes. I'm an Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Patient since January of 2019. For the sake of this article, I feel like I should be honest about the fact that I consume large amounts of cannabis concentrates on a daily basis, without fail.
The first Facebook "rule" is that cannabis prevents COVID-19.
That is patently false.
There's another Facebook "rule" that we shouldn't wear a mask because masks don't stop the virus. It's really not that difficult.
Masks are only designed to contain the spread of the virus between people responsible enough to contain the spread of a virus.
There's another Facebook "rule" that we need to shut down America's public education system because all the children will contract COVID and die. So why is it that we talk about how kids have stronger immune systems than adults when we're talking about every other virus, but when it comes to something we've never experienced before, suddenly the children are the most vulnerable and the adults have the dominant immune systems and we need to STOP THE EDUCATION SYSTEM over it.
Keep in mind, there's no mention from anyone about Aunt Karen dropping her kids off at school all year with strep throat, the flu, a stomach virus, an exposed infection, or something we have a "vaccine" for, yet it keeps coming back. Think about that.
You can take this how you want, but I have an Aunt who contracted COVID-19. Her husband also contracted COVID-19. They both survived while a house full of children never contracted COVID-19.
The children never contracted COVID-19, for those of you in the back.
Does that mean children will never contract the virus? Of course not, but I'm sure someone will read it that way and then call our sponsors to try and have them drop us. If I'm being really honest again, I think COVID-19 is something that will be in all our systems by the end of the year and it's something that the majority of us will survive.
So what's it like having COVID-19?
It all started for me with a night out on the town. It was a Saturday and I felt great until my girlfriend and I went for a walk outside. It was a good day, not too hot and not too humid. I wore jeans and a t-shirt which is pretty standard for June. We ate fish and chips at a joint in Moore, Oklahoma and the food was great.
It wasn't long after we started walking that I began to feel a little extra winded. I'd been in the gym consistently since it reopened and I switched my diet (mostly) to the blood type diet. I'm an A+ blood type so I switched to non-dairy products with a lot of grains and fruits and veggie-meats. I also do a lot of cardio. By all standards, I shouldn't have felt winded after a short distance.
I should also mention the fact that I hadn't been to the gym for about a week before I really started feeling bad. I didn't realize it at the time but I was slowly losing energy and motivation for a week before I noticed symptoms. I started slacking on house work, I slacked on cooking dinners, I slacked on being social. But I didn't realize it at the time.
After the Saturday night walk, I woke up the next morning feeling like I'd been waterlogged. My head was swimming, my body felt hot on the inside but I was cold and clammy on the outside. I had body aches, I had chills and I had every reason to stay in bed. My temp was only 99.2, though, so I wasn't too worried.
Last year, I started running three miles a day as a part of my fitness routine. I was at the track one day with Roland's late head football coach Waymon Potts and Roland Youth League Football director Anthony Dewitt before practice started. When the first whistle blew, I began my run. I only did two miles that day because I started to feel achy and clammy and my head felt "swimmy" after I stopped. I walked back to my truck, drove home and started cramping all over my body.
I say all that because heat exhaustion was the culprit there. But, looking back, it was all the same symptoms I experienced after I took a walk that Saturday night. I immediately started thinking I was dehydrated because I had slacked on everything and hadn't been in the gym. Even my water intake was sub-par. But I took all the signs and said "I'm a healthy 38-ish year-old guy and I consume a lot of cannabis. There's no way I'll get COVID -19!"
I WAS WRONG.
Sunday and Monday were rough and we went to get tested the following day. We were both "abnormal" for the COVID reading so we immediately went into quarantine mode and that's where the real fun began.
The best way I can describe COVID-19 is like a cornucopia of all the annoying ailments we contract over the course of a year, except this time it's jam-packed into two weeks of annoying symptoms and the real kicker is that everyone's convinced we're all going to die.
Again with the hype...
For me, the symptoms don't all hit at the same time and they're not as bad as actually having other ailments, but COVID for me was a combination of flu-like symptoms, sinus infection-like symptoms, stomach virus-like symptoms, pneumonia-like symptoms, bronchitis-like symptoms and the always annoying headache.
My worst experience was my loss of taste and smell. Those two senses right there are completely responsible for whether or not you stay nourished and hydrated. Personally, I lost 19 lbs because I didn't hydrate at first and I'm pretty sure I stopped eating everything but crackers for a few days.
If you take care of yourself, you'll survive.
Here's some perspective for you. I have 5 senses. The Navy diagnosed me with severe, bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus, which means I'm down one of those senses. Now take into consideration being colorblind, which is like my eyes having no taste. Enter COVID-19 and I suddenly lost two more senses of taste and smell.
If you know where I'm going with this, you'll understand that depression is the only thing making itself known to you when your senses are impaired and society tells you that you can't leave your home. You're stuck in a sick body that can't enjoy the finer things of life.
My girlfriend will tell you that I went to the bedroom, I got in bed, and I didn't do much of anything because I had no motivation to get up with a headache. I had no motivation to eat something I couldn't taste. I had no motivation to sample the free smells at Jimmy John's because my nose wasn't working.
As a COVID survivor, I'm telling you right now that America's biggest threat is forced isolation.
I'm not here to sell you a conspiracy theory or get you to subscribe to my thoughts and prayers hotline, but I will tell you that this virus is just a virus. It's a passable virus. It's in and out (mostly) in a two-week period. Some cases last longer, some don't last a week. Depends on your immune system, just like any other virus.
The 17 days of noticeable symptoms have passed for me. I still can't taste much, but I can smell now. That means it's all coming back. It was two weeks of off-and-on stuffy or runny nose, off-and-on stomach cramps, off-and-on headaches, off-and-on coughing, an impaired ability to sleep longer than three hours at a time and just little things that annoyed me about being sick.
Personally, I feel like I've regained my freedom. I'm not recommending you all go out and get the COVID like they did to the South Park boys with the chicken herpes, but I will tell you that I'm no longer afraid of people, I'm no longer afraid of the virus, I'm no longer afraid to be in public and I'm no longer sick.
Now that COVID is over, what am I supposed to do?
I'll tell you what's on my agenda.
First, I'll be gearing up to broadcast my 4th consecutive season of high school football in September. Before September, I'll resume normal activities. I'll be back in restaurants, I'll be back in the gym, I'll be shopping at Lowe's and I'll even go to Walmart because having COVID changed nothing about my life except for the fact that I might now be immune to COVID.
Please don't stop living just because there's a passable virus that might kill less than 1% of the country's population.
Don't stop your child's education just because there's a passable virus that might kill less than 1% of the country's population.
Don't stop taking vacations, don't stop taking pictures and don't stop making memories with your family just because there's a passable virus that might kill less than 1% of the country's population.
Don't stop your summer plans, don't stop your back-to-school plans and don't make this a year to regret.
I was afraid of COVID but I didn't wear a mask because I thought it was a joke. I was afraid of COVID but I didn't practice social distancing or even go the right way down the aisles at Walmart because I thought it was a joke. I was afraid of a virus that I knew nothing about, yet I didn't let it affect how I went about my business.
I contracted COVID approximately 3.5 weeks ago and I survived with pre-existing conditions. Will kids get it? Will teachers and principles get it? Yes, of course. The same way we've had a vaccine for Influenza since the 1940s but somehow it infected 35 million people with no immunity afterward, hospitalized nearly half a million, and eventually killed 34,000 people just last year in 2019.
If we don't shut down education for that, we don't need to shut it down for this. If we don't shut down the country and the world for that, we don't need to shut it down for this.
Survive the hype. It's a bigger threat than the virus.