Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing about COVID.
I get it. On so many levels I am, too.
What makes me tired is the constant information that, seemingly, does nothing to change peoples’ minds on the severity of the issue.
Wear masks. We know. Stay distant. We know. No large gatherings. We know.
No, we don’t.
For every person who has had COVID, some people are quick to point out “Yeah, but…look at the number of people who have been cured.”
For every person who has died from COVID, some people are quick to say “Yeah, but…so-and-so probably had an underlying condition.”
I’m tired of defending the simple idea that deaths are preventable. I’m tired of doing stories on it. Why? Because I honestly feel that most of these stories do not make a difference.
That being said – I wouldn’t have missed the chance to tell this story for the world.
I know Kelly Gleine. The 38-year-old mother is involved in the same Star Wars charities that I am. We are friends on Facebook, but come on, how often do you REALLY pay attention to posts? How often do you read every line? How often do you put yourself in that person’s position?
If you’re like me; not often.
I had seen Kelly’s posts on Facebook. She would post daily about her not feeling well, or a symptom she was feeling or a doctor’s visit she had been to that day. I thought it was nothing more than a quick illness. The flu, perhaps.
Then, something strange. I remember looking on Facebook and seeing “Day 177.” She was hooked up to machines in the hospital. The selfie showed her in a Harry Potter facemask, with wires, wires and more wires attached to her face, head and chest.
It was only then I came out of my self-absorbed shell and paid attention.
It was COVID. My friend had COVID.
But, wait, she didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. At 38 she certainly wasn’t in the age range that we think is the most in danger for COVID.
Maybe it wasn’t just time to report the news, but to listen to what I and so many of my colleagues had reported on for the last six months or so.
My hope is that the story of Kelly Gleine will encourage you to think differently, as it did for me. My hope is that we realize that COVID is not just a danger for the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions. This is a virus that is impacting countless people and families – neighbors, loved ones – more than we can truly comprehend.
Her story also raises awareness for a growing concern among COVID patients; the idea of “long-haulers” who, for some unknown reason, cannot rid their bodies of the virus or be sure of the lasting effects it could have.
More than anything, my hope is that this story will reignite our passion and desire for being proactive, for wearing masks, for staying distant, for staying away from large gatherings.
Be decent. Be good.
It might not be your safety you’re concerned for. Maybe you’ll be fine, untouched by COVID-19 or any of its symptoms. I certainly wish for that to be the case.
Some people, though, have not been that lucky.
Thank you, Kelly, for allowing me to tell this story. May we all hear her words – and never get tired of hearing them.