Cyndi wilkins in Professions, Workers, Careers, Healthcare, Creative and Media Professionals Sole Proprietor • The Healing Element Massage and Bodywork Aug 3, 2020 · 3 min read · 1.7K

Welcome To Exile Island

Welcome To Exile Island

As it has been said:

"Love and a cough

cannot be concealed.

Even a small cough.

Even a small love."

~Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

Anne Sexton - American poet known for her personal & confessional verse, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book, 'Live or Die'.

"Human history offers an endless list of several types of exile, which have been interpreted in many different ways." 

In the story of Romeo and Juliet, exile is a personal matter that becomes political...For these two young people, death and exile are synonymous because they cannot bear to live apart.

So what is the symbolic function of exile in the current world crisis of COVID-19? And furthermore, what exactly does that mean for those currently infected?

Human history offers an endless list of several types of exile, which have been interpreted in many different ways. 

Certainly being separated from friends and family, not to mention feeling like a leper, has emotional consequences. So how does one restore peace of mind when they feel banished from society?

Sure, this is all done in an effort to protect everyone...from YOU...the infected. But our sense of 'belongingness' is threatened. And we may very well feel abandoned by those we love.

"My symptoms began with the sudden onset of body aches, fever/chills which quickly elevated to a crushing headache and overwhelming fatigue."

I would like to briefly share my personal experience with this virus in the hope that it may help to ease some fears and misconceptions. I am no infectious disease expert, but I am one of the infected, and would like to offer some perspective on the impact of this issue.

I was initially infected back in late June, Father's day weekend to be exact. My symptoms began with the sudden onset of body aches, fever/chills which quickly elevated to a crushing headache, overwhelming fatigue and a sore throat. After a few days I leveled out with a lingering dry cough, nasal congestion and mild chest/upper back discomfort.

My first thought was I had mild heat exhaustion and dehydration. The weekend was particularly warm and we spent the entire time at the beach. The only escape from the sweltering temperature was to jump in the lake! Absolutely lovely mind you, but it was covered with pollen, and I am extremely allergic to tree mold. So my senses told me 'allergy attack'.

Unfortunately, the following week I received a call from the friend I had spent the weekend with that both she and her husband had tested positive for COVID-19. At this point, the worst of my symptoms had abated, but I did notice I had lost my sense of smell (a big red flag) so I got tested. That first (rapid) test was negative, but I quarantined anyway as a precaution.

Fast forward to July 27th when I was tested again in preparation for pending knee surgery. I received the deeper, 48 hour version of the nasal swab and tested positive for the virus. However, this time I was relatively symptom-free.

Regardless of being free of symptoms, my surgery was immediately canceled and I was punted to primary care. Apparently specialists don't deal with COVID patients unless they are working in an ER.

This virus levels the playing field. Your money and social status doesn't matter here. What matters is who is in worse shape than you are... And that is how it should be. Mother Nature is a great triage nurse. She knows what she's doing.

Once you have a positive test, or contact with someone who has tested positive, a COVID team will be assigned to your case. These people are a life-line in a time of feeling isolated. Answer the call, ask questions and be respectful. Some people may feel pestered by the daily check-ins. But remember, these folks are doing their be there for you when others cannot.

In my case, it seems the virus is still lingering in my system (hence my A-symptomatic positive test) as a result of my initial infection in June. Should I test positive again, and remain 'symptom-free', I will be considered a non-infectious post-viral positive and not be required to quarantine again. However, having antibodies does not give me a licence to run around without a mask. Besides, they only last about three months.

"The danger of this virus is very real, but to fear it is a choice."

The difficulty in this situation is in our lack of understanding the path of this unknown assailant...and who it will target next. In order to effectively address something, we need to understand it. And at this point, we are all just theorizing on it. The danger is very real, but to fear it is a choice.

The smoldering embers of the Novel Coronavirus are likely to burn for decades to come. At some point, we are all bound to experience the long term physiological and psychological effects of having been infected and/or quarantined and the feelings of exile that result.

"The good news is, preliminary studies have shown the plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients appears to raise the survival rate of the hospitalized."

One of the goals here is to protect as many people as possible until there is an effective vaccine available. However, to what degree of immunity we can expect to experience is completely theoretical at this point. We simply have no idea.

The good news is, preliminary studies have shown the plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients appears to raise the survival rate of those hospitalized with the disease by boosting their immune systems ability to fight off the virus.

This puts all of us who have been infected and subsequently recovered in a unique position to help save the lives of others. Hopefully, with all the world's infectious disease experts working together to develop a vaccine, we can do our part to help raise the survival rate among the infected and lower the number of deaths due to complications.

So until then, please...WEAR THE DAMNED MASK!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. I'd love to hear from others who have gone a few rounds with COVID-19. I encourage everyone to share their story....even if it is privately. Talking about it with someone you trust helps to process those feelings of isolation and helplessness.

And remember, we are not helpless. We are strong when we stick together and help each other. We are all ONE.

Cyndi wilkins Aug 6, 2020 · #18

#16 Thank you for that @Ken Boddie...Perhaps it was all the BS and fear mongering that kept my fingers idle on the keyboard...I simply had nothing to say. However, after experiencing this virus first hand, I felt it important to share an 'up-side' in the midst of all the commotion. And that is, the more we learn about this from a logical perspective, the more we can help others and quell a substantial amount of fear. Like I said in the article, the danger is real, but the fear is a choice.

Happy to hear things in Aussie land are relatively well...You had your fair share of destruction with those horrendous wildfires. My heart goes out to you as well...Stay safe and don't let your guard down on this thing...This sneaky sucker is always looking for an open door;-)

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Pascal Derrien Aug 6, 2020 · #17

Sorry to hear you had to go thru this but glad to know you have recovered Cyndi :-)

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Ken Boddie Aug 6, 2020 · #16

In a world so full of BS and mistruths about COVID-19, it’s refreshing to read a commonsense and logical tale of your own experience. Take care, and thanks for taking the time to put fingers to keyboard on this subject. Meanwhile, by comparison, we appear to be relatively well off here in Australia, although the challenges of social distancing, mask wearing and virus hygiene affect us all.

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Thank you for sharing what you endured because of the virus. I feel this will be very helpful to others, @Cyndi wilkins. The more "real stories" we read, the more educated we are. I hope you are feeling better every day and yes, those that can should wear a mask!

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sami khan Aug 5, 2020 · #13

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Fay Vietmeier Aug 5, 2020 · #12

#11 @Cyndi wilkins
Yes Cindy ... “People need hope now more than ever”
“HOPE is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” ~ Shawshank Redemption (so many rich lessons in this movie)
Why it is vital to guard the heart & guard the mind.
This principle is truth: What we feed grows
Feed fear or doubt
Feed hope or faith
As I encourage my son, I encourage myself in this: Sow what you want to harvest.

Oh "best of sweet bees" ... You have many good things "simmering" inside.

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Cyndi wilkins Aug 4, 2020 · #11

#6 Thank you again for your thoughts @Fay Vietmeier...Your sentiments here are exactly why I wrote this piece...

"Life is fragile for so many ... it is a vital time to “reach out & touch someone” ...Even if we are not in isolation, communication by sharing the knowledge gained is what helps us all to 'guard our state of mind'

I am grateful to have a story to share that may help the many others struggling with this right now...And as well, I am fortunate to have regained my ability to piece together a cohesive thought...It was certainly lost on me for a while....simmering on the 'back burner' so to speak...Perhaps this was my lesson in being patient until I had enough experience with it to share.

There is a lot of frightening information out there fueling the fear...I thought I would offer a more 'hopeful' outlook...People need hope now more than ever.

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