‘I didn’t think that it would take years.’

12-year-old Darelyn Maldonado, quoted in an AP article by Michelle R. Smith and Andrew Ledrum, After Pandemic Year, The World Looks Back

Few of us understood a year ago what lay ahead. We forget that living one day at a time is the only way life works. As world looks back at the year of pandemic, here’s what I see.

  • Two years ago, my husband and I sailed for Europe on a trip that nearly ended my life.
  • One year ago, I was finally strong enough to resume normal life when the coronavirus pandemic struck.
  • One month ago, my surgeon told me that the lump she removed from my breast isn’t cancer.
  • Yesterday, two weeks after our second Moderna vaccine, my husband and I emerged into new normal life.

Here’s what hasn’t changed.

I will do everything in my power to stay healthy for the rest of my life: exercising, eating right, and staying away from risky situations. Three months in a hospital, nine months of recovery, and twelve months of partial living are enough.

I’m still under the care of the University of Florida Shands Hospital. My one-year follow up is in August. I am planning to be discharged.

For the rest of my life, I will be at high risk for bacterial infections. My spleen was killed during the surgery that saved my life. I keep a supply of antibiotics close at hand and will stay vaccinated for everything.

We have an amazing daughter who we speak with often and dear family across the United States with whom we’ve stayed in contact throughout these two long years.

We live in paradise.

Here’s what’s different.

The bureau next to the front door contains a drawerful of masks.

Going to Target feels like emerging into the Technicolor Land of Oz.

Our daughter is engaged to a man we love for caring so dearly for our girl. Although V is now vaccinated, we are waiting for her fiancé to also be immunized, and what a hug lies ahead when we can finally get together.

We have a new president, a man who overflows with empathy and good will, and a congress that supports him.

We won’t cruise again, and it will be some time before we feel safe getting on an airplane. But when we do, we’ll go to Amsterdam to hug the people who saved my life.

‘I’m starting to get that feeling: It’s time to go back and do something.

96-year-old Jean Allen Queen Anne Healthcare in Seattle, quoted in an AP article by Michelle R. Smith and Andrew Ledrum, After Pandemic Year, The World Looks Back

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