It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.
The bitter irony. I survived college during the peak pandemic times without catching Covid. My college was practically a cesspool for disease, even with the masking rules and quarantines. I got through working in retail as well, in the chaos of customers refusing to wear masks or wearing them as chin decorations.
But right before I decided to travel to visit my girlfriend in Florida, flying on a plane for the first time, I got Covid. My dad brought it home from a business trip.
First, my dad tested positive for Covid. I immediately quarantined myself to avoid catching it. I opened the windows wide all day and night and seldom went downstairs. Even when I ventured downstairs, I wore a mask and social distanced.
To no avail. I believed I had escaped the illness and the reason I had a slight cough and was a little stuffy was my allergies. The pain all over my body I chalked up to being sleep deprived.
Then, when I was feeling sicker, I finally admitted it could be Covid and went ahead and tested. My mom and I looked at the Covid test strip, which darkened with first one red line and then another.
Work gave me time off to recover, which was good, because I got so much worse.
You see, sickness is really bad for most people, and I know it. It will screw them up, especially Covid. And I cannot speak for all schizophrenics, but I know for me, physical illness makes my schizophrenia symptoms worse.
I remember sending Marie a message listing symptoms. I couldn’t stand up for long or I would almost fall. The room was moving, my head was ringing, my throat hurt, my whole body was sore, my voices were screaming, I was hallucinating dogs barking, my face was burning, I was exhausted, and I had a headache.
The first night I was so dizzy I could not walk up the stairs, so I found a blanket and had to sleep in the basement. Curled up in a blanket, I was talking to Marie. She was joking about us marrying in the future and I said stop teasing.
She said she was not teasing.
Then she said:
Kateri, you’ve been a shard of light in a dark part of my life, and I hope you will continue to be my brightest light through both the good days and bad. I love you as I never thought I could love anyone. You asked me to marry you before, and I want to accept your proposal. And to ask you if you still wish to pad the road wi me, my love?
And in typical chaotic Kateri fashion, I said, “Yes! Oh gods yes I do.” While hiding under a blanket.
Um. I’m pretty sure my brain was fried.
Well, in the end cooler heads prevailed and we decided to call this a promise rather than a formal engagement.
I started wearing a ring in honor of this promise. Not an expensive ring. Neither of us have much money, and have both thought that spending ridiculous amounts of money on rings rather than on a house is pointless. I was always more into the symbolism of things rather than the number of zeroes in the cost.
And yeah, pretty sure despite feeling like I was dying of Covid, that was probably the best day of my life.
Post 16 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)
This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.
For the whole series, follow this link.