The Perfect Enemy | Grand Thoughts: COVID-19 finally found me - Chattanooga Times Free Press
February 24, 2024

Grand Thoughts: COVID-19 finally found me – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Grand Thoughts: COVID-19 finally found me  Chattanooga Times Free Press

I’ve got COVID-19.

After three years of being extraordinarily careful (I still wear a mask in public) and fully vaccinated, I contracted the virus, most likely in my own home.

My husband and I had just returned from our first visit to Jamaica in three years. We’ve been vacationing there for three decades but hadn’t been since February 2020.

We wore masks from the moment we entered the Chattanooga Airport to the moment we got out of the cab at our place in Negril. We were COVID-conscious throughout our vacation. We have an efficiency apartment in Negril, and we only ate out once, mostly because of COVID-19, on Valentine’s Day, in an open-air venue by the ocean.

We were extremely careful throughout our 10-day stay.

Vacations for me never last beyond two weeks because it’s very hard for me to be away from my three grandchildren who live next door. I am somewhat co-dependent on them, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

When I’ve been away from them, I’m somewhat like a rabid raccoon when we’re reunited. I smother them in hugs and kisses and, thankfully, they’re pretty tolerant for a bit.

Turns out, though, one of my grandchildren, Tilleigh, 16, contracted COVID-19 while we were in Jamaica. She was on the tail end of quarantine when we got home, so we couldn’t visit with her. Evie, 12, and William, 10, tested negative before they were allowed to visit with us.

Three days later, however, William and I tested positive.

William, thankfully, had very mild symptoms. He and Tilleigh are now COVID-free.

As I write this, it’s Day 6 for me, and I’m still testing positive. Because age is considered a high-risk factor for COVID-19 patients, and I’m 70, my doctor prescribed Paxlovid, an antiviral medication. According to, the medicine helps stop mild to moderate COVID-19 from becoming severe.

After testing positive, I went into immediate quarantine, separating myself completely from my husband. I’ve experienced the most severe sore throat I’ve ever had, coughing, headaches and weird muscle cramps in my arms, mostly at night. Sleeping is a luxury.

Still, I can’t help but think back to early 2020, when people all around the world were suffering and dying from a disease doctors and scientists knew so little about. But what I knew, even back then, was that scientists were working around the clock to discover a vaccine to fight this disease. And when that glorious day came, the day that vaccines were released, I was one of the first in line to get mine. Since then, I’ve had the second vaccine and boosters.

So while I sit isolated in a bedroom in my home, I know that the vaccines, and a boost from Paxlovid, are keeping me from being hospitalized and intubated. I am on my knees thankful for science and the medical profession for keeping us safe. I’m also appreciative of the readily available rapid COVID-19 tests.

What puzzles me, though, is why some people don’t get vaccinated.

COVID-19 is still here. I’m proof. My grandchildren, all of whom have been fully vaccinated, are proof.

I’ll still wear masks in public and take COVID-19 precautions, but I know it’s always going to be around. I’m just thankful I’ve been vaccinated and look forward to getting a COVID-19 vaccination annually.

My tale of COVID-19 likely would have had a much different ending if I had tested positive in 2020. But because of science, I feel confident I’m going to be OK.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at