Like most people living in Sequim, particularly those older than 65, I have been careful these past months and hopefully responsible about my social engagements and interactions. I am regarded to be in the high-risk group of people who could contact COVID-19 due to age and medical issues. I wear a mask when in any kind of a public place and my friends and neighbors have been very careful about meeting outdoors in groups of five or smaller 6 feet apart.
I recently experienced unusual symptoms of a gastric upset and heavy fatigue over a weekend and contacted my doctor who ordered a COVID-19 test. I have since done some research to find that stomach issues and fatigue are not uncommon symptoms of COVID-19.
While I waited to hear from my practitioner, I was overwhelmed by an enormous sense of responsibility as a caring citizen, neighbor and friend in the Sequim community. I may have spread this terrible illness to someone else. My husband may have been put at risk as well.
I decided not to alert anyone to my situation until test information affirmed or reported negative results.
I reflected on the places I had gone and the people I walked or met with during the last two weeks. We behaved appropriately to the situation. I couldn’t remember people being unmasked in the pharmacies or grocery stores where I shopped.
I remembered just one occasion where I was perhaps vulnerable. I drove to John Wayne Marina to pick up my husband after he had paddled from Dungeness County Park. The marina at the south end was very crowded and few people wore masks in the open air space. I parked between two open spots and left to meet him. Thinking I would only be close to my husband, I did not wear a mask.
When we returned to our parked truck, a family had pulled up beside us and got out of their car. I was surrounded by unmasked people, one of which was holding a very sweet dog in their arms. I stepped forward to pet this irresistible puppy and immediately realized I was within 2 feet of them. I remembered that I too did not have a mask on. I too had a moment of carelessness.
In reflection it washed over me that not only could I have been exposed to COVID-19, but I could have exposed them. The thought was a terrible reckoning for me; I was filled with anguish over either possibility.
Today (Aug. 27), I learned the results of the test. The test was negative.
I am relieved but take to heart the lesson, something I’ve always believed and tried to apply to my life. We all have a greater responsibility in our lives other than our own personal wants and spontaneous responses.
I may leave this life sooner than I imagine or want. I just never wanted to cause harm to others while I’m here.
Carrol Hull is a Sequim resident.