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Not too long ago, my family spent a fabulous week at Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo. I’ll publish a detailed review soon, but for now, I give it thumbs up. If you have young kids, definitely consider splurging your Hilton stash on this resort.
Anyway, one of the wrinkles in my otherwise fabulous plan was the omicron tsunami just starting to overtake the US right before the trip. We did go, though I was a little nervous that we would pick up Covid there. Fortunately, we did not.
Instead, I ended up catching it in the local CVS, while taking my daughter to get her vaccine booster. Talk about irony! I’m 99% certain that’s how I got it, since I only left my house a few times that week. You know, to be extra careful. I also wore a tight-fitting KN95 mask, but it obviously didn’t help.
It only went downhill from there. My husband and daughter ended up catching Covid from me. Surprisingly, my non-boostered son is fine so far. Fortunately, I did a rapid antigen test right as I got mild symptoms, thinking it’s allergies. Alas, Covid finally caught up with me. But at least we were able to isolate, and didn’t get anyone else infected.
But wait, there is more. As I was getting ready to call my mom and tell her about my positive test, she called me. Apparently, my dad (who lives in Belarus) got Covid and ended up developing a severe double pneumonia in his lungs. As a result, he was about to get hospitalized and I literally had minutes to talk to him via Skype.
I can’t even describe the emotions going through my mind. If you’ve been in my place, you can probably relate. I guess, it was mostly helplessness and sadness at not being able to be there to support my mom. Honestly, one of the worst moments of my life. As my parents were bickering about something silly, I asked them to please hug each other and not waste these precious moments on nonsense. They complied.
I have relatives who work with Covid patients, so I knew my dad could deteriorate rather quickly, and it sure looked that way the first few days. He had to go on oxygen, and even lost consciousness at one point. The doctor’s prognosis was grim. As it was happening, my symptoms got worse, but I had to keep it together while talking to mom on the phone. This was literally the last thing she needed. Since I’m triple vaccinated, I was relatively certain that I would eventually get better, which I did.
There was one particularly rough night when I was running a fever, and kept obsessively checking my phone for updates on my dad. As a control freak, it’s hard to admit that some things are just out of my control. This was one of them. We had to be patient and hope for the best.
Fortunately, my dad is currently stable, and slowly improving. I’m cautiously optimistic that eventually he will pull through, though it may take weeks or even months. He still can’t breathe without oxygen after being in the hospital for ten days. We are very fortunate that there was a spot for him, though he had to share a room with five other patients.
He told us it’s now down to three, as the other two had to be transferred to ICU or possibly died. He wasn’t sure. Mom asked him if he talks to other patients, and he goes : “Why would I do that?” He is very anti-social, so sharing a room with strangers is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
Despite my pleas, dad did not get vaccinated. There are several reasons for that, but the main one is listening to propaganda on YouTube. It’s run by a respectable Russian doctor who is an anti-vaxxer. In fact, dad is still convinced he made the right choice and that the vaccine would make things even worse. He is extremely intelligent and has a high IQ, he also is (usually) a critical thinker. But he also likes conspiracy theories and would not listen to me when I tried to give him cold facts based on statistical evidence. I tried, I really tried.
I’m not angry with my dad because I know he believes what he is saying. And I admit, I’m also happy that hospitals don’t discriminate based on vaccination status. I’m glad my dad has a chance at survival, and I will try again to convince him to get vaccinated. I will never give up. Fortunately, I was able to convince my mom and she had a mild case of Covid.
Aside from my own family, I’m not a person who gets into Covid vaccine debates. And to be fair, there is no guarantee that getting vaccinated would prevent my dad from being hospitalized. But it would surely improve his chances tremendously. At least we could say that he has done all he could, and that’s worth something.
Seeing what my mom had to go through this last week and a half makes me want to prevent this from happening to others. There is something to be said in getting vaccinated for your loved ones, even if one is skeptical of the benefit.
Throughout this whole thing, there were bright spots as well. I didn’t realize just how much my mom loves dad. He is her whole world. I always thought my parents have a totally dysfunctional relationship because they argue nonstop. But there is also a lot of love there too. I’m not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
Using Radisson points to treat my parents to a trip to Lithuania in 2015
My mom isn’t able to visit my dad in person, so she told me she sends him love notes. The nurses asked her why, since we live in the age of cellphones. She told them it’s more special that way.
I worry about my dad, and whether he will be able to meet me in Montenegro this summer. I told him I’m planning to hire a fishing charter in Kotor as a treat. So he instantly perked up, and goes: “Ocean or river?” I told him ocean, and he said he prefers river fishing. Well, excuse me! But I figured he must be getting a bit better to actually care.
We are just one family affected by Covid pandemic, and I realize that all things considered, we are the lucky ones. So, call your parents if you can because life is so unpredictable. And please be careful over the next few weeks, as omicron wave tears through US. This too shall pass.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.