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Get Well Soon: Our Editor Talks About Health

We’re living in a pandemic. Let’s talk about it.

I was staring out the window of my hotel room, looking at the statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia’s City Hall. I’d been fascinated by the statue for years. It’s massive and creepy and very, very American. And it was built by Alexander Calder’s grandfather—who also happened to be named Alexander Calder.

Instead of feeling lucky that my room had a view, I was terrified. And bored—a rare combo.

The reason for my Philly trip was not of the leisurely sort. I had tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and was quarantining in a hotel room for a week. Just me, William Penn, a loaf of bread, a smattering of pills and desperate thoughts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been different for all of us, but it’d be hard to imagine that anyone has been enjoying themselves. Instead, we’re left with isolation, inconvenience, illness or worse. But it’s moments like these that tend to provide us with space for reflection. I’ve read some great Civil War letters. Letters between two teens watching Saved by the Bell in 1991? Not so much.

I got sick early, too. I don’t know if it was COVID. Tests weren’t available. I do know that I’ve never felt like that in my life before, and the symptoms lasted for a full month. I vowed to be healthier. I mostly didn’t follow through on that count.

Then, I got sick again, this time far away from home. Whoops.

I think I’ve done a better job this time around, but one thing’s for sure: My personal experiences—along with the constant news cycle—have given me plenty of opportunities to consider health and the U.S. healthcare system.

Are my parents going to live through this? What if my wife gets pregnant? Should I get a booster shot? Should I go to a concert? A restaurant? A movie theater? Do I wish I still lived in England and had access to the NHS? Like a bad earworm, the questions have kept coming. And, like a Halloween store salesman, I never thought they’d know this much about masks.

So we get it. It’s been a bit much. But, hey, are we not gonna talk about this?


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