John M. Walker mug

John M. Walker

1. COVID-19 IS HIGHLY CONTAGEOUS. The COVID-19 pandemic captured my full attention back in March. I even wrote a column about the preventative measures that we needed to take to protect ourselves from spreading this horrid disease, “Adjusting to the new normal.”

From its inception I have been very careful to study and comply with the pandemic protocols. You could even say that I was a bit obsessive when it came to maintaining a proper social distance, washing my hands and wearing a mask. Rather than touch public surfaces, I used my pen which has a stylus on the end to push buttons and to sign my name.

When I was working in my office, I fully complied with Laramie County’s mask mandate. I wore my mask in all common areas and only removed my mask when I was alone working in my personal office. And I always properly wore my mask. It was snug and I never allowed it to slip below my nose.

I was quite judgmental of those who came down with COVID-19 and perceived them as being inattentive, selfish and sloppy. Then, while I was at home this past November I began to cough. A short time later, I started to run a fever. I immediately isolated myself from my wife and daughter. My COVID-19 test came back positive. Fortunately, I did not have to be hospitalized and I ultimately recovered from COVID-19.

Please do not misinterpret my message here. I have no regrets about my compliance with all of the pandemic protocols and these protocols are very important. I am simply stating that in spite of my best efforts, I still caught COVID-19. I did not wear goggles and perhaps a COVID-19 infected droplet contacted one of my eyes? Regardless of how it happened, the highly contagious COVID-19 virus infiltrated my defenses.

2. COVID CAN MAKE YOU VERY SICK. My wife’s dear friend, Anne, caught COVID-19 and she became very ill. Here in her own words is Anne’s description of how this dreaded disease impacted her life:

“When the list of symptoms of COVID-19 first came out they seemed very vague and like every other cold or flu I had experienced. When I get ill it is normal for me to get a fever, have body aches, lose my sense of taste and smell, and quite often my voice will get very raspy.

“My symptoms began on a Tuesday and felt like a mild cold, but soon turned into something I will not forget. By the weekend I was coughing and could hear some wheezing in my chest. I suspected I had pneumonia and a quick trip to Urgent Care confirmed my suspicions. I went ahead and tested for COVID although I really didn’t think I had it.

“Over the next few days my symptoms worsened and eventually the test result came back positive. I had monitored my oxygen levels throughout the week and they had steadily declined. Early Friday I woke up and could not breathe and went to the hospital. My diagnosis was acute respiratory failure with hypoxia due to COVID pneumonia in both lungs.

“I spent the next six days in the hospital and was blessed to receive some wonderful care. I was lucky. My body responded to treatment, I did not get as sick as some others have and most importantly, I came home. At the time of writing this article it has been just shy of three months since my first symptoms. The recovery has been difficult and slow. The fatigue is intense and not quick to leave. I am no longer on oxygen, but do have to limit my activities in order to have enough energy to get through the day.

“Recently I was asked how I felt about the vaccine. Before my experience with COVID I would have answered that question differently than I do now.”

3. COVID-19 CAN KILL YOU. One of my estate planning clients, whom I shall call Joan, caught COVID-19 back in April 2020. Shortly after she became sick, I received a phone call from Joan’s sister, wherein she told me that Joan was in the hospital and was on a ventilator. Joan’s sister called me the next morning to let me know that COVID-19 had killed Joan. Joan had no chance against the COVID-19 virus.

Please do not listen to the naysayers. Get yourself vaccinated. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.

John M. Walker is an attorney and lifelong Wyomingite who lives in Cheyenne. His email address is: jwalkwyo7@gmail.com

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