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A sobering reminder
I just learned a good friend of mine passed about a month after coming down with Covid.
I had something else planned for today, but got a piece of shocking and very sobering news Monday afternoon that I feel compelled to share with readers, especially as Covid cases spike across the country.
I received a call informing me that a dear, old friend of mine passed away just under a month after testing positive for Covid. I’m not going to identify him because I’m not sure he’d want me to, but he was a close friend. He and I played music together regularly for about a decade. He was at my wedding. And I saw him numerous times this fall, including shortly before he got sick.
My friend got his first two doses of the Covid vaccine last February before just about anyone else I know did. But I only learned after he became ill that he apparently hadn’t gotten around to getting his booster. I’m left wondering if he’d still be alive had his antibodies been boosted prior to the exposure that infected him.
He got sick with Covid late last month, which was especially worrying because he’s a cancer survivor who had came through other serious health issues before. But he had been in good health the last couple years and was only in his 50s. The possibility I might never see him again never really sunk in until it was too late.
In a group text message thread the two of us were on with a mutual friend — the mutual friend is who called me with the terrible news yesterday — he told us on November 23 that things got worse quickly after he experienced what he described as flu-like symptoms.
“My Covid test came back positive,” he wrote. “My heart was acting up and I’m so terribly dehydrated that I was told to come into the ER where I am at the moment. They’ve also taken a chest x-ray just to rule other issues out. I’ll give you an update when I have one. Stay well!”
When I responded that I hoped he was getting good care, he replied, “the ER is packed w lots of people waiting too but im getting excellent care now that I got a bed.”
He was released from the hospital after a short stay. I checked in again when he was back home to see how he was doing, and he said “fair at best,” adding that while his oxygen levels were good, “every part of me hurts.”
“I’ve applied for monoclonal antibody treatment but there’s not enough to go around,” he said. “Hospitals are full too. Yikes.” (He was hospitalized in Minnesota.)
On November 29, I reached out again to see how his recovery was going, and he said “Very slowly but feel a wee bit better today.” That was the last I heard directly from him, though I got updates through our mutual friend.
When our mutual friend called me yesterday with the devastating news, he said he had last texted with our sick friend early last week and was told that while he still was far from 100 percent, things were gradually heading in a positive direction. But his subsequent messages weren’t returned, and a family member ultimately instigated a wellness check. His body was found in the apartment where he lived by himself last Friday.
While I’ve obviously been aware of this pandemic’s human toll, this is the first time someone close to me has died following a Covid diagnosis. I’m still processing things and remain somewhat stunned as I write this, but this feels like an important opportunity to remind people to please get your booster shot as soon as possible and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you.
I’ll be back with a more typical newsletter on Wednesday.