I am finally feeling much better. 

A big thank you to all those who have called, sent a private message, a text or otherwise checked on me over the past week, as I was feeling “a little under the weather”. 

Thankfully, I had two negative COVID tests over the past five days. My brother had COVID last week and I am happy to report he is now on the mend. He had visited home before he knew he had the virus, so we had all been exposed. Mama and Daddy tested negative as well, thank the good Lord. 

In the middle of all the testing and medical consultations and those exercises, the doctor determined I must have picked up some sort of stomach bug. 

I ran a low grade fever for three days and, well, I’ll spare you all the other details.You can thank me later. I felt pretty good at times and at other times I felt pretty doggone lousy. 

I am not a very patient patient and this episode of sickness was no different. I don’t like being sick and laid up for long periods of time. 

Here are some things I learned during my time at home recuperating.

• While I am thankful I did not have the virus, please continue to pray for all those with COVID, those who have lost loved ones to COVID and all those on the front line battling this dreaded disease. I lost someone in my family to COVID early on in the pandemic during an outbreak at the Pavilion in Baxley. That brought it home to me. And to all those out there stirring the pot and calling it a hoax and fake news, please just stop it already. COVID should not be a political issue. It should be an opportunity for all of us as Americans to pull together, to unite as one against a common foe and defeat this thing. We should be embarrassed, collectively, for not summoning the national courage to stare down this virus and fight it together.

• Speaking of the nation, Geez, folks, can’t we please just get along? While I was getting over the stomach trouble, every time I turned on the television there was acid and vinegar and poison and vitriol in our public discourse. It was on television during all those opinion shows and at every commercial break. When I ventured out to get the mail, it was in the campaign mailers and flyers in my box. It was in my Facebook feed, too. If I hadn’t already been sick, it would have made my stomach turn. Enough with all the negative campaigning. Maybe if campaign laws required someone to say five nice things for every one negative comment about their opponent, our politics would be much kinder and gentler. 

• I have a new appreciation for plain rice and Gatorade®. I survived off those staples for several days. 

• I re-discovered “Wheel of Fortune”, “Jeopardy” and re-runs of “Friends”. I had forgotten what a crush I had on Jennifer Aniston. She’s such a cutie. That girl’s got it going on. 

• Due to the remnants of Hurricane Sally passing through the area, we had several days of rainy, dreary weather while I was home recovering. While I obviously didn’t enjoy being sick, it was nice to lay down under a comforter and listen to the rain on the roof. It has a way of settling my soul. 

It’s even more effective than Gatorade® and rice.

• Jason Deal is a staff writer for The Blackshear Times. Reach him at jdeal@blacksheartimes.news.