Immunocompromised at Christmas

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Immunocompromised at Christmas

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The impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism over the past three years has been significant, and in my experiences, travel for me in post-COVID era has been wildly different - as my mind swirls around a large concern that I could possibly do harm to my immunocompromised husband. He’d experienced major spinal and heart surgeries in the summer of 2020, and the following year a round of COVID left his nervous and immune systems permanently weakened.
My parents had planned a large family trip in May 2021, and my thoughts continued to swirl around the potential for another round of COVID afflicting my husband. I had us cancel. Months later, my family finally convinced us to get on a plane for Christmas to Austin, Texas to see my sister’s new home. It would be our son’s first flight, too, which only added to my anxiety.
It was December 2021, and most restrictions were still in place at airports at this time. I was grateful for the number of passengers on the flights, in the airports, and in public transportation hubs utilizing masks and maintaining distance from one another. I recalled seeing one family, completely maskless, at the airport. They seemed so out of place - and to be honest they looked very uncomfortable - too.
Luckily, like us, my extended family was hesitant to explore the hustle of downtown Austin, so much of the trip was spent with everyone at my sister’s new home, cooking, reading, completing puzzles, and most importantly: getting her lawn familiarized with several dozen rounds of Bocce ball. It was the first time we were all able to come together after the start of the pandemic, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to be with my family in the same safe space. We got way too competitive, but the laughter during Bocce proved the most memorable part of the trip. I loved how happy my family looked in this moment, especially my sister (front in orange) and my husband (over her right shoulder).
I am not sure what the future looks like for COVID and travel, but for me, I know that it already looks different - I will continue to mask, I will distance, and I will choose options that will do the least amount of harm to those I love and the people I may meet along the way.

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This item was submitted on July 16, 2023 by Patrice Bedford using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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