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For two years, I have been hyperfocused on avoiding COVID. I took a trip to Chicago the last weekend of February 2020 and I bought some hand sanitizer for the plane ride. In Chicago, we went to various stores to buy hand sanitizer for my daughter only to find the shelves bare. I remember being jealous of my germophobic friends who had adequate supplies of Purell in their homes.

As we hit March 2020, the COVID reality hit home. I stayed home, had groceries delivered, washed down my groceries, and lived in panic and fear that the virus may be in my home. I remained diligent throughout the year: wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places, keeping myself socially distant. I avoided social gatherings and family gatherings.

Thankfully by the time 2021 hit, I had avoided COVID and was able to get immunized. Even after being fully vaccinated I continued to wear my mask. Even though I am not high risk, I interact with many high risk clients and want to keep them safe. I got boostered when eligible and continued to read as much of the scientific data as I was able.

Once home testing was available, I self tested any time I had the sniffles. Omicron hit and I cut back on my interactions, I religiously wore a good mask, and I tested at the drop of a hat.

I made it through the omicron wave and I finally felt some relief after the CDC relaxed their mask guidelines - that maybe we are coming in to a new normal. I was feeling optimistic.

That lasted until Sunday morning when I woke up with some mild congestion. On Monday morning I again had some mild congestion that I would have shrugged off in 2019. I tested myself. I peeked at the test at 8 minutes, it was negative and I continued getting ready for my day. After 10 minutes, I looked again. Negative. Or wait was that a faint pink line? I got out my phone and turned on the flashlight and there was a vary faint pink line. Yes, the disbelief, the disappointment. I followed the rules, I wore my mask, I disinfected my hands constantly and yes I still got COVID.

Thankfully I am fully vaccinated and my symptoms are mild. Some head congestion, some head aches, and my throat is dry. It is a strange feeling to have finally caught COVID after doing everything in my power to avoid it. Someone asked me if I am relieved. No, I am not relieved. I am disappointed. I keep on going over scenarios where I could have picked it up. (Did the mechanic who drove my car in between trying to figure out where the noise was coming from leave some virus in the car or did I get it in passing?). The truth is the virus is here and it doesn't matter how I got it. We want to do everything we can to avoid catching COVID but more importantly, we need to do everything in our power to keep ourselves safe if we do get infected. Get vaccinated. If you are not boostered, get boosted. I am so very grateful I did.

Stay healthy and be well. If you are overwhelmed with your current health situation, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, Melissa Hakim MD, your health advocate. 484-533-7822


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