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Scott Barkett (he/him)

I’m Scott Barkett, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I’m a Special Education and Social Studies teacher. At least one of my uncles and one of my cousins contracted COVID-19. I have family from a variety of places and many of them contracted COVID-19.

My cousin for instance is in great shape, he’s a former Marine, but COVID knocked him on his tail. He was deeply fatigued for at least a week, and found it hard to get out of bed. I think it took him a number of weeks to feel back to his normal self.

We were in contact, talking on the phone. It’s hard. It’s a lot to deal with and a lot to go through. You get used to feeling pretty good, pretty in shape, and suddenly you feel as sick as you’ve ever been in your life. There are some treatments out there that might be more promising than others, but there’s nothing that we’re considering at this point. So there’s that fear as well, as it gets worse and worse, what can you turn to? Once you turn the corner like he did, and you start to feel better, then I think it was just more of an annoyance than anything; wanting to be able to work out again, and things like that. The problem of course is you work out for a few minutes, go for a walk, and you’re suddenly feeling absolutely gassed. Those are tricky things for any of us mentally.

It was hard for me to have family members sick. It’s already hard teaching very far away from home, and I think it’s much harder when you can’t be there for someone. We’re used to taking care of people when they’re sick, and you want to be there for your loved ones. When they’re sick and you can’t be there—I know that that’s a challenge for all of us. It’s this weird disconnect, where it’s as if real life is happening elsewhere, but it’s through a screen or through a phone call rather than face to face. And that’s definitely hard.

After my family contracted the virus, I wouldn’t say my mindset about COVID-19 changed, just because I’ve taken it pretty seriously from the beginning. However I think it made it feel more real to me, especially when my cousins got it. It just reminded me that for all the asymptomatic cases, for all the more mild cases, even younger people can have a pretty rough go of things. It was all the more of a reminder to stay diligent and keep doing what you need to do to keep everyone safe.

My first shot of the Pfizer vaccine was two weeks ago. My second shot of the vaccine is on April 3rd and I’m excited. I don’t tend to do very well with shots in general. My body reacts not awesome to any kind of shot, but these have been two shots that I’m absolutely thrilled to get. I think that allows us to see my grandma for instance; she’s 97 now, so after this I can actually see her since she’s fully vaccinated. We can go and actually sit down and I don’t have to fear that I’m bringing something with me to the same extent.

The more people that can get vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to some normalcy and start to make up for what we’ve missed, which I really think is that human connection.

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