Ironically, I may have brought this on myself. Being an artist, I see beauty in a lot of odd places. I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the novel coronavirus. Dangerous objects are often beautiful. For example, the King Cobra is deadly but stunningly attractive. I wracked my brain, trying to figure out how to make a sculpture representing COVID 19. Then it came to me. Take a bowling ball—one of those pretty, colored ones—drill holes in it, insert painted lag screws, mount the bowling ball on a stand and, voila, there you have it. I made three: “Son of Covid,” “Daughter of Covid,” and “Covid 2.0.” Most people think the sculptures are “clever,” others, “morbid.” You be the judge. (Andy Warhol’s pop art is now worth millions.) I brought Covid 2.0 into the house.
Right away I noticed a sore throat, but didn’t think too much about it. The day before, I had accompanied a crew of detasselers through a cornfield doing “research” for one of my articles. Maybe the pollen had irritated by throat.
When the sore throat was still with me the next day, I took my temperature—99.8 degrees. Uh, oh. My temperature usually runs below normal. At 72, I’m in one of the “risk groups” for Covid. I talked it over with Ginnie. She said maybe I had a “virus” (ha, ha) but should call the doctor.
I called the doctor’s office and listened to the recorded message: “If this is COVID 19 related, call such-and-such number.” I called the number and was instructed to go to the state website testiowa.com to get a COVID testing number. I did that; it’s fairly easy. For people without internet, there’s a telephone number. The only problem, or major inconvenience, was that this was Thursday, and I wouldn’t be able to be tested, at the Southeastern Community College parking lot, until Monday. And then the results wouldn’t be available for another three-five days. In the meantime, I was to self quarantine.
Well, gee willikers. What do people with families and full time jobs do—take two weeks out of their lives and wait? But these are unusual times. Ginnie had a kitten. She works part time as a lab tech at a hospital. Was she supposed to quarantine also? She had no symptoms. (She and I never come down with the same illnesses.)
It is what it is; we self quarantined. We had plenty of food. If we needed groceries (or toilet paper) we could order on line and pick up without getting out of the car. I kept busy mowing, doing garden work, welding and going crazy. Fresh air and sunshine help a lot.
My symptoms, some of them “gas lighting symptoms,” went up and down like a roller coaster: nausea, lower GI, vertigo, weakness/tiredness, tightness in chest, fever, headache, sore throat, and whacko taster (I craved sweets, especially chocolate). I did not have the upper respiratory issues you hear so much about. My days would progress from feeling perfect, to not so good. Ginnie wrung her hands.
We watched a lot of internet movies, one of them “Contagion” with Matt Damon and a slew of stars. We were warned to not watch disaster movies during this pandemic. Did we listen? Nooooo. Our anxiety level went through the roof.
Testing day finally arrived. Ginnie went with me to observe (in case she had to be tested, also). I got the Q-tip stuck up my nose, sneezed three times, and was told to go home and continue self quarantining. Ginnie wagered I was positive, me, negative.
Miracle upon miracles, the test results arrived by email the next day, a Tuesday (Tuesday is Goodnewsday!). “Negative.” Whoopee! No more pity pot for me; Ginnie and I did the happy dance. I must’ve had some kind of flu bug. To celebrate we went out for dinner at a restaurant that has outdoor dining, then an after dark drive to view Neowise—the comet that won’t be around for another 6,800 years. Is Neowise a harbinger of great events to come?
Will I continue to make morbid, I mean “unusual” sculptures? You betcha. I want to make “BLM” and “Suffrage.” Warhol move over.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.