I am now officially a victim of COVID-19.

There I was one recent morning, Tuesday actually, working inside at my computer when a waft of fresh air came in through the window.

“Ahhhh! That’s nice,” I said weakly.

I’m pale and pasty and I haven’t showered and I’m drinking stale coffee and wondering what the world is up to out there.

Then, like a revelation, it dawned upon me: I can leave. I can get up and go outside and do some yard work while the day was still cool.

Boss around? Beats me. Anyone looking over my shoulder? Not that I can tell.

So out I went and began clipping bushes. It was 20 minutes into my work when I felt a slight stinging sensation on my forehead above my right eye.

I smooshed whatever bug had lit on my head and went about my business.

Immediately a golf-ball sized lump formed above my eye.

“Huh?” I thought.

I ignored it. I welt up pretty easily when bitten by various biting insects so it didn’t concern me.

The swelling continued, however, and after 30 minutes I could feel it spreading into my face.

Within an hour my right eye was nearly shut and my left eye was not far behind. My throat was tightening and a pang of anxiety swept over me.

I am not one to go to the doctor’s, let alone the emergency room or urgent care.

Slice an artery? It’ll stop bleeding.

Concussion? Take a few aspirins and shake it off.

Foot amputated in a lawn mower malfunction? Eh? I can sew it back on.

This time was different. I had visions of the mailman finding my dead bloated body splayed across my front lawn.

I had visions of the mailman driving away, leaving my body for the vultures.

I did what any normal person would do in what appeared to be a life-threatening situation.

I Googled my symptoms.

Sigh. I needed to go to urgent care. Immediately.

Which I did.

My temperature was taken at the door. I had no fever.

The guy asked me what my problem was.

“I don’t have a $&$*%&** problem. WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM!!?”

OK. I was a bit edgy.

I pulled off my hat and lowered my face mask.

“Oh,” he said and I could tell, even with his mask, that he was aghast at the horror that was my head.

“Someone will be right with you.”

And they were, since I was the only person inside urgent care.

A woman fetched me and asked me a few typical questions, her eyes struggling to avert from my gargoyle-like appearance.

I noticed her horrified expression, even with her mask.

“I know you can’t tell but I am usually waaaaaayyyy better looking,” I said to her.

Nervous laughter.

“The nurse will be right with you,” she said, backing out of the room slowly.

The nurse was. She asked me most of the same questions, hooked me up to a heart/temp monitor, and repeatedly asked me how I was feeling.

“I haven’t lost anyone today and don’t want to start,” she said.

I laughed and cringed at the same time.

She gave me an epi shot in my leg and told me she would be right back.

“I’m keeping the door open,” she said. “If you need anything, just yell. There’s a lot of girls out there who can hear you.”

“Girls?” I said. “I can just yell and they’ll come running? Oooooo! I like this place.”

I sat there for the next two hours or so. The nurse gave me another epi shot in the leg and a steroid shot in the arm. She did her work while she sat with me, “just in case.”

Just in case what?

We small-talked a bit. I asked if anyone here could cut my hair while I was waiting.

I wondered if we could order a pizza or something, since I had yet to eat.

The swelling subsided somewhat and I felt much better and she, a bit reluctantly, allowed me to leave.

“It was fun,” I said. “We’ll have to do this again real soon.”

“I sure hope not,” she said. “But if we do, we will certainly order a pizza.”

“You know,” I said, “I guess I’m another victim of COVID.”

I explained: If I had not been working from home because of COVID, I would not have gone outside to the do yard work. Hence, I would not have been bitten by whatever it was that bit me.

“Is there any stimulus package or grant or something you can sign for?” I asked her.

She laughed but I’m not so sure she thought I was ready to go home.

Later, I read her “summary of today’s visit.”

Under symptoms she wrote: Dizziness and Giddiness.


Scott DeSmit is a general assignment reporter for The Daily News. He can be reached at desmitmail@yahoo.com.

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