Robert Cox

Writing on the Wall

Robert Cox is associate editor, online editor and lead designer for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CCNnews@cox-internet.com.


A very long week

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Itís kind of amazing how perspective changes everything.†

Three years ago, the prospect of not leaving the house for an entire week ó even if I had to work ó would have been met with cheers and exultations.†

This year, a week at home, while still somewhat enjoyable, has seemed endless.

Time seems mutable. I donít know what day it is. The clock seems to jump randomly ó sometimes by hours ó and my only clue as to what time it might be is the amount of sun shining through the windows.

Once it gets dark, Iím lost.†

I try to be in bed by midnight, but when is midnight? The batteries in my internal clock are either dead or itís been set to Australian time.†

As for getting up in the morning? Itís not that big of a priority when work is at the kitchen table, which has served as my desk for the past week. Itís 15 steps from my bed, 15 steps from the coffee and 20 steps from the couch. (Yes, I counted. I needed something to do.)†

Whatís the difference? This time around, staying home hasnít been by choice. I spent the past week quarantined as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.†

Donít get me wrong. Iím happy to stay away from people, if only for the reason that I could possibly infect someone with the novel coronavirus ó or whatever nasty variant is currently running amok. On Friday, as I write this column, the number of active cases in Carroll County as reported by the Arkansas Department of Health stood at 132. †

In Northwest Arkansas, where there are approximately 1,202 hospital beds, 118 of them were filled with COVID-positive patients, including 50 in intensive care and 29 on ventilators.†

I donít want to contribute to that. Based on my personal experience ó which isnít really a medical or scientific opinion and should not be treated as such ó once you go on a ventilator, thatís it. Youíre done. Thatís how I lost my mother in 2020, and something I wouldnít wish on anyone, which is why getting vaccinated was so high on my priority list.†

I know I shouldnít complain. All this, while new to me, is something millions of Americans have had to endure at some point during the past two years. Itís just my first time. Iíd like to say it was because Iíve been careful ó I do my best to follow all the guidelines and stay up-to-date with any changes ó but itís more likely that Iíve just been lucky.†

Iím praying that luck holds. So far, I still have no symptoms. In fact, I feel fine. Of course, as we alI know, thatís no real indicator. You can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus around like syrup on pancakes. †

I still plan to get tested, just to make sure, but that has proved a bit problematic. †

After I got a phone call from a contact tracer, I went online to schedule a test, hoping for Saturday, which would be five days since my last possible exposure. There wasnít one to be found.†

I finally had to settle for another day and have to travel to Harrison, which is a bit farther than I would have liked to drive. For a homebody like me, heading to the other side of town is farther than Iím generally happy with.†

At any rate, that will be the first time Iíve left the house in a week ó aside from the occasional trip to the porch ó and I canít wait. Iím not looking forward to the drive, but Iíll probably enjoy it, at least right up until I get a giant Q-Tip shoved into my brain.†

Iíve scheduled the rapid test, which means I should have results in about 15 minutes. Hopefully, Iíll get good news. That would be a huge weight off my shoulders.†

And then maybe I can get the batteries in my internal clock recharged. Weíre running out of coffee, patience and quality TV.†

Thank goodness the network shows have returned. Iím pretty sure I finished Netflix, Hulu, and Prime last week, Disney is running low and for some reason, AppleTV only works in the living room.†

My immediate sanity rests on the cast of the Chicagos, the FBIs and the various NCIS shows.†

If the internet goes down, I may lose my mind. Pray for me.