After two years of caution, groceries being delivered, mask-wearing and vaccinations, COVID-19 finally caught up with me. I’ve been dreading this. Prior to vaccine availability I was terrified of it, even. I have an autoimmune disease and am on immunosuppressant medication. I had cause for excessive concern. But as this last wave of the omicron variant began to calm down, so did I.

I let my guard down. Last fall, I was invited to give a TEDx talk in Youngstown, Ohio, and I said yes. I hoped for an in-person experience but understood that COVID-19 would make the final call. While omicron emerged and then raged, I attended Zoom meetings with the TEDx team and worked with my coach through online practice sessions. I watched COVID-19 numbers drop and mask mandates disappear.

My son was able to go to school unmasked for the first time, having started kindergarten under a mask mandate. It was exciting to see my community — and the country — relax a little bit. When I loaded up the car for our trip, I was confident that an in-person event was safe. I chose not to wear a mask.

On Monday, my husband woke me and said he had a fever. His home test showed he was positive for COVID-19. I got up and grabbed another one of the home tests we kept on hand. Positive. I had a minor cough I’d written off as a cold.

That’s the grand, unpredictable irony of COVID-19. My husband has a fever, congestion and miserable body aches while I was fine.

All of the worry from the past two years has culminated in a five-day quarantine with my husband. Maybe I’m a bit beaten down by the past two years, but it feels a bit anticlimactic.

I’m grateful for the boredom. But I think back to the first wave when everything shut down with no vaccinations available. Our family isolated like pros for months.

Does this mean we overreacted? No. The body count is too high to consider that thought. It means we did what we needed to do to postpone COVID-19’s knock on our door. We distanced ourselves, took precautions and when the time came, we got every vaccine dose recommended. We protected ourselves as best we could every step of the way, knowing that the likelihood of our time coming was great.

I think of choir breathing. Together we sing continuously but we take turns breathing. I breathe while you sing, and the note is forever strong. Each of us uses our voice while allowing the other to take a breath.

I guess it was my turn to breathe.

To find out more about Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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