I finally got the COVID-19 vaccine, just shy of a year from the first confirmed case here in Alabama.
It’s been a while since my last blog post. Too long, actually. But I have a pretty good excuse. At the end of October, I became the publisher of The Times-Journal newspaper.
This was something that wasn’t really on my radar a couple of months ago. The opportunity emerged when my predecessor accepted a position with the City of Fort Payne as city treasurer. It all went down pretty quickly with the city council voting to hire her and she resigned that afternoon since it isn’t appropriate to be both a city employee and the head of the newspaper covering said city.
My old publisher encouraged me to go after the job. I wasn’t sure if I had what the job takes or if I even wanted that much responsibility. But in my heart, I knew I was meant for more than what I was doing. I wasn’t sure the owner would choose me, but I told him I was interested. I would be disappointed in myself if I did not at least take the initiative.
People were congratulating me before I’d even been offered the gig, which felt good to know I was deemed the obvious first, best choice to take over since I’d been there forever and know the community and the product. I hoped that my contributions as a reporter and photographer had helped to elevate the newspaper to a level where more people wished to subscribe.
I am deeply appreciative to Patrick Graham for this great opportunity. I do not intend to let him down now that I have been given this chance.
Tonight is my only child’s high school graduation. I am so very proud of my girl.
We learned a week ago that Fort Payne High School would be having an in-person graduation commencement ceremony after all. This seemed unlikely just a week ago as we remained on lock-down to contain the community spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus. But then Gov. Kay Ivey said “Open ‘er up” and the floodgates exploded under the accumulated pressure of thousands of people eager to leave their houses.
Tonight, I hope you’ll indulge me as I gush about my favorite person in the whole wide world: my daughter Miranda.
I’m not getting to parade her around as the best of my creations, so I am indulging myself a bit in trumpeting how wonderful she is here in this space.
I’ve had a week I wouldn’t want to repeat.
On Thursday, a friend I’d just seen on Tuesday notified me, as part of contact tracing, that they were being tested for COVID-19 because a family member caught it.
I got both the swab test (ouch!) and the antibodies test on Friday. I was isolated in quarantine from other human beings for nearly five nerve-wracking days packed with panic attacks.
After experiencing chest pain, I had to take a tranquilizer to distinguish whether I was having a panic attack, a heart attack or COVID symptoms. I somehow managed to get work done from home despite it being nearly impossible to concentrate.
I’d been so careful, going straight home from work and sharing information with others on how to protect themselves — yet I still looking this damn monster straight in the eyeball. I was angry. I was sad. I was exhausted with all of this.
Will April 29, 2020 go down as the day that we turned a corner? Or a temporary blip on a long timeline of misery?
As I write this, there is reason to feel some optimism after a couple of months of bleak headlines about death and economic collapse. Like those first rays of warm sunshine after a cold and wet winter, I crave a true, real springtime with the social component it brings.
A New Hope
There’s a drug called Remdesivir made by Gilead Sciences Inc. that has shown some effectiveness in treating the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Gilead said Covid-19 patients taking its drug Remdesivir had a speedier recovery than patients taking placebo in a large U.S. government-funded study. The company didn’t release detailed data showing the magnitude of the benefit, saying federal researchers would do so later.
Remdesivir, by the way, is a nucleotide analog, specifically an adenosine analogue, which inserts into viral RNA chains, causing their premature termination. In 2015, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) announced preclinical results that Remdesivir had blocked the Ebola virus in Rhesus monkeys. The drug was rapidly pushed through clinical trials due to the West African Ebola virus epidemic of 2013–2016, eventually being used in people with the disease.
Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was so impressed by the study results that he touted the effectiveness of the drug.
When I reflect on the 2010s, I recall a decade of feeling helpless in the face of tragedy and reacting with anger and determination to regain some control.
Face it, the 2010s sucked. But especially sucked for me in particular.
- The company I worked for was sold to another company that laid me off at the end of 2012.
- Unable to find work, I assumed thousands of dollars of student loan debt to further my education in 2013.
- My brother died in May 2014.
- I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and started having to use a CPAP machine in 2016.
- My wife left me and filed for divorce in 2010, triggering years of loneliness, animosity, and legal battles.
- After the divorce, I was left with a house full of clutter and had to throw things away. I had accumulated items since 2001, had items from my Chattanooga apartment, items from my closed studio. Then my sister moved in. This meant throwing away or giving away so many things to which I had sentimental attachments.
- The global war on terror really hit home when five men were shot and killed by a man just down the road from the office where I was working in Chattanooga.
- My friend Don and a very nice lady I was dating named Dawn both died of cancer in 2017.
- Once my coworkers found out I was turning 50, they began treating me differently. They presumed I was much younger.
- This year was a particularly hellish way to bookend a miserable decade. Sickness, financial and professional struggles, a family crisis that left me feeling helpless.
If you are following me online, it’s eventual you’ll see that I am returning to my old stomping grounds, the place where my career first began. It’s been a long, twisting road — a very rocky one for much of 2019 — but I am happy to double back (or triple back, in this case).
“Every time when I look in the mirror,
All these lines on my face getting clearer.
The past is gone.
It went by, like dusk to dawn.”
I don’t want to grow old. I refuse to “go gentle into that good night” and will “rage against the dying of the light,” as Dylan Thomas put it.
I define “oldness” as a crescendo of blandness, diminished enthusiasm for life, less arousal/passion, and heightened fatigue. So set in our ways that we can no longer open our minds to accept we don’t know it all.
It has finally happened. That little baby who totally changed my life 18 years ago today is an official adult.
I was 33 years old when I became a father. My child lived in the pre-9/11 world for 42 days. She arrived before we had iPods, iPhones, and iPads.
She’s now old enough to buy a lottery ticket, enlist in the Army, get a tattoo or piercing, serve jury duty, drink alcohol in most European countries and Canada, go to jail, and vote for president.
Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You…
I’m relaxing at home in Fort Payne after a week that included having surgery and closing a chapter in my own story.
I guess you could say I am a bit like Luke Skywalker collapsed in the snow of Hoth. I’ve removed myself from a dire situation after listening to my intuition, now I’m physically strained as my body mends from a stressful event. That voice is guiding me about what to do next, same as Obi Wan appeared to Luke as an apparition in the blizzard with instructions to incite the challenges that will propel our heroes on their next adventure and lead to sacrifice and growth.
- March 2021
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- December 2020
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- December 2019
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- December 2018
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- October 2014