Sufficient Unto the Day



“My throat itches,” I tell my wife Delia.


That would not have bothered me except for this general feeling of weakness.


“Same here.” Her response worries me.


We grab an antigen home test immediately.


I come out positive. My wife tests next; it is another positive.


We look at each other in disbelief. “Could be false positive.”


So we drive to an Urgent Medical Care facility nearby to confirm.


Confirmed.


After 2 ½ years of avoiding it, this thing finally caught us. These past 2 ½ years we felt like walking in a dingy alley not knowing what you’d encounter at the next turn.


But how could this have happened to me. It is my birthday soon and our son Jacob’s barbecue party two weeks from now. You need to cook him some pansit malabon, I take a crack at lame humor.


We did everything within our power to protect ourselves. We took the right vitamins, observed social distancing, masked up, and all that jazz. How, where, in the world did we get it?


I realize there are still many things we don’t know about COVID. Yesterday I found out that my twice-boosted close friend Billy caught it again. He just had it last February. So, vaccinated or not, boosted or not, healthy or not, careful or not, you could get it. The president of the US got it twice. The First Lady too, twice. And so did the president of the Philippines.


“But we feel fine,” we tell the lady doctor at the facility. “Should we take Paxlovid?


“No, no Paxlovid for both of you.”


“How about antibiotics?”


“No antibiotics and no Paxlovid. Just quarantine yourselves for 5 days and you’ll be fine. And mask up outdoors.“


A frisson of relief rises over me. She explains further that like other viruses, the efficacy of this virus has decreased, unlike the time when it first emerged.


“Let us look at the positive side,” my wife says, as we leave the medical facility. “Because we’re both positive, we don’t have to quarantine separately, nor do we have to use separate rooms, or cook separately or watch TV separately.”


“I am more worried of our pet cat Kitkat,” she assures me in the car.


“Can cats catch COVID?”


“I am not sure, but just be careful not to touch her while we’re on quarantine.”


The next few days in isolation drag on. A week later, my wife tests negative. I am still positive.


As I reflect on my COVID experience I think of several friends who suffered and those who did not make it during the early days of this pandemic. I reflect on our precarious existence and the fragility of our physical bodies. We decide to postpone any incoming family gatherings in case I still test positive. What matter. My wife’s specialty, pancit malabon, can wait. If my time is up, it is up. In my 70s, the “undiscovered country” no longer terrifies. I live by the day and each new morning is a blessing. Call it simple faith but once I had entrusted my life to God, all my fears have gone.


Meanwhile, it has now become a habit for me to say “ingat,” be well, take care, at the end of my communications with other people whether online or in person.


COVID is still around, New York is experiencing a surge in Monkey Pox. I just do my best to be healthy and do my very best to help others to be healthy, too -- and leave the rest to God.


More than two years of uncertainty taught me to understand deeper what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)

. . . . . . . . .

It is now 12 days and I take the antigen test again.


“How’s it, Manny?”


“You may now prepare that pancit malabon for tomorrow.” I am grinning from ear to ear.