I am not sure more beautiful words have ever been spoken than last week when my pulmonologist said, “I don’t think you need the oxygen anymore.” I have been living with a loud, hot home oxygenator and portable bottles of oxygen for over nine months, since I first started fighting COVID. I have to be honest; I wasn’t certain I was ever going to hear the words that I could put the machines, the plastic lines and the never-ending tangles away.
I joked a few months ago about the hassles associated with oxygen lines, how they tangle and how they seem to find a way to get caught on the most miniscule objects around. Another pure pain was they always seemed to tangle under my feet so that every time I stood up, my head would get yanked down. It’s also amazing in a whole house, the dogs always seemed to be asleep on my oxygen line when I was ready to move. Although I tried to make light of it, there was nothing funny about it and I empathize with everyone committed to living life with those contraptions.
An exciting part for me is that I can finally start exercising some, at least if my doctor gives me the go ahead. Just prior to catching the Coronavirus I had been walking nightly and was actually up to about five miles per night, which if you have seen me, seems pretty unbelievable. I had just reached the point where my nightly wanderings were something I looked forward to rather than dreaded. Now I must confess, starting that routine back up doesn’t excite me nearly as much.
It seems somewhat ironic to me that my freedom comes at about the same time that mask recommendations and restrictions are being lifted. I’ve been to two graduations so far and there have been far more faces than masks. I am hoping it remains that way and we aren’t suffering from a false sense of safety. I hope the warnings some have given about a relapse are erroneous because it is nice to hear about things like shows, concerts, and ballgames being back on the calendar.
As incredible as it seems, another school year has already gone by. This was truly a year like non other. I remember in the fall everyone approached the football season with a “will they or won’t they” attitude. Although COVID caused some teams to give up some games, most schools actually made it through a season. Then the thought process became “how can we do basketball and wrestling and all of the other indoor stuff?” But week by week, things moved along and there were tournaments and state championships and we moved on to spring.
Again, there was still some concern about what all could be accomplished, but like the rest of the year, sports teams played, most activities went on and this year there were proms, graduations and many other events which had been taken for granted for many, many years.
One striking contrast was the post-graduation party in Harrisonville. The class of 2020 didn’t get to enjoy their graduation day like most before, being in the middle of the pandemic. But they were, for the most part, just happy to have a graduation ceremony. The class of 2021 got some of the fun back. Harrisonville got to enjoy a “Tip of the Cap” party, which featured music food and a variety of activities. It was open to the public, so I guess it was nice friends and families got to tag along, but I wonder if an event with little brothers and sisters and other people’s little brothers and sisters along with moms and dads, is what would really classify as a graduation party. But I must admit, it was different and I enjoyed being out and about.