Patrick Murphy

Sometimes I can taste, sometimes I can smell.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

Although my coronavirus test was negative some seven weeks ago, I’m sure I had it, and it still lingers.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

I woke up one day and had my usual breakfast, toast, but instead of tasting the butter and the toasted whole grain bread, I tasted nothing.

I don’t remember what I had for lunch or supper that night, but there was no taste.

I had a slight cold, and thought my taste and smell were masked by a stuffy nose.

My wife knew better, and a trip to TestNebraska followed. Several days of hand-wringing followed before I got the results that said I did not have the virus.

I was relieved, but left wondering when or if I would get my senses back.

The nothingness in my taste and smell persisted. Eventually, I had moments when I could smell a strong smell, and I actually could taste Thanksgiving dinner.

Then, as if I’m stuck in some sort of sensory groundhog day, it was gone again.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

There were 50,000 then, 100,000 and now 170,000 and counting who are dead from COVID-19, so it’s hard to complain.

I do have an underlying condition. A car accident some 16 years ago ruptured my spleen. It bled slowly — very slowly — until 10 days later I was nauseous and found myself in the emergency room. The doctor kept asking me if I had suffered a trauma. The accident, a fender bender, seemed so innocuous, it didn’t immediately come to mind.

Eventually, I remembered, and an ultrasound confirmed I was bleeding internally. They tried to save my spleen, but it continued to swell until they were sure it would rupture again, and it had to come out.

I have recovered. It does not affect my life at all.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

That underlying condition is the excuse some use when they hear of people dying from COVID-19. It is as if they want to dismiss the coronavirus; rationalize it as only affecting the weak and compromised.

I have lived without a spleen for going on two decades without a problem, but a severe case of the coronavirus could have impacted my quality of life or killed me.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

When some people talk of these underlying conditions you can feel the contempt they have for anyone who takes the virus serious. There is a smugness to them, as if they think they have figured out something no one else has.

Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of life and our bodies knows we all have underlying conditions. It’s what happens as we age or suffered a trauma to our bodies. We all have health issues that we live with, but do not diminish our daily lives. But when the coronavirus enters our system, it can cause irreparable damage. It does not mean COVID-19 does not exist, or; is not to be taken seriously or is a conspiracy.

It means COVID-19 is serious and should be treated as such.

If you avoid getting the virus or have mild symptoms and they disappear, you’re one of the lucky ones.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.