I am trying hard to separate the politics of Covid from my personal experience. This is challenging for me as someone who has always been a social activist. However, the quotes and recordings from Bob Woodward’s book “Rage” were slowly being leaked during my third week with the virus.
At this point, I knew the worst was over. I could sit up without being dizzy, I could stay awake for longer periods of time, and the horrible nausea seemed to have passed. What I was still grappling with (along with the inability to taste or smell) was horrible headaches. I assumed they were migraines. I have never felt anything like them and they respond to nearly nothing.
The pain and tenderness is constantly burning at the base of my skull. Neuropathic pain shoots or throbs throughout my head and eyes at various intensities and intervals. It’s exhausting. Laying still in silence is an effort.
In the background, I would often leave the news on for noise. The television was usually low in volume but enough to connect me to the world. One night I was laying in bed trying to sleep even though my head was on fire. I was vaguely listening to the recorded interviews between Bob Woodward and the President.
What caught my attention was a conversation about headaches. Woodward discusses a woman who was “cured” of Covid but now suffering debilitating headaches. I looked at the television to see the date. It was April 2020.
A part of me was gutted. Regardless of how anyone feels about politicians or Washington or the current president, these positions are positions of power. As a citizen I respect the office of the presidency, and to see him speak somewhat cavalierly about what was now my very real suffering, broke a part of me. The months of hearing “it’s just killing the immunocompromised”, and the months of people fighting wearing masks came to a breaking point for me that evening. I remember telling my husband how traumatizing this was. To hear people diminish the value of my very real life day after day for months had caused real emotional trauma.
So as much as I want to keep politics out of this, the personal is political. Separating the two is never so simple. Politics is ultimately about power, and in a pandemic, who holds the power matters.