Two of my three children and four of my grandchildren joined me for a lovely Mother’s Day luncheon. I felt terrific and even after lunch went swimming with Jonah and Addy. But little did I know, my life was about to change!
The next day, I was achy and didn’t feel like myself, so I went to Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care on Northern Boulevard to get tested for COVID-19, even though I could have taken a home test. I wanted to be 100% sure so I could safely participate in all the events I had planned for the week.
I sat in the private space at the walk-in clinic and saw a nurse, who asked me if I wanted the rapid test or next-day test. I asked for the fastest and within 15 minutes she came back, sat down on the stool facing me and said, “You’re positive.”
After a moment of disbelief — after all, I had avoided the “COVID bullet” for more than two years — I realized I had to take action. I remembered what my friend and adviser Dr. Peter Micholas had said many times: “As soon as you are diagnosed, get an infusion.”
I asked the nurse where I could get a walk-in infusion and she said with a smile, “You’re lucky. St. Francis Hospital just down the block does it in their ER.”
So off I went and my COVID week was beginning.
As I drove down Port Washington Boulevard in Roslyn, my mind was flooded with memories of the last time I was there.
My beloved late husband Stu Yunis was a doctor at St. Francis for almost 50 years and sadly spent many months as a patient during the last year of his life.
I had a routine of visiting him each morning, bringing him a doughnut and coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts shop on Northern Boulevard. We shared an hour together and then I went to work in Bayside, only 15 minutes away. I reversed the order at 5 p.m. and we spent the evening together.
I had also waited many hours with him during emergency visits there, so those sad memories rushed rapidly through my mind as I got closer to the hospital.
I found the last parking space and walked through the sliding glass doors. When I told the receptionist that I just tested positive for COVID, she directed me to a designated area for COVID patients at 4:30 p.m.
I got comfortable and figured I would be waiting a while, as the room was filled with many people who had been there before me.
At the Mother’s Day lunch, my 15-year-old grandson Blake had helped me download the Audible Book app on my phone and I purchased Bill O’Reilly’s latest book, “Killing the Killers: The Secret War Against Terrorists.”
Holding the phone close to my ear, I spent the next FIVE HOURS listening to the fascinating, heart-throbbing non-fiction novel about our world’s most wicked and cruel men.
I was totally engrossed in the book when the nurse finally called my name and directed me to a small room lined with chairs hugging the walls. I took an empty seat and within a few minutes, the nurse had a needle in my hand and injected a liquid through the short tube.
It only took a few seconds, but I had to wait an hour for “observation.” Fortunately, I had no negative reaction to the infusion and the nurse told me I could go. I was happy to go home and get under the covers!
CAUTION: When I walked out of the ER at 9:45 p.m., it was standing room only! There were people filling every allowable seat and others were forced to stand. Beware! I’m now masking indoors until this surge is over!
When I returned home, my week of quarantine officially began.
Since my symptoms were a cough and runny nose — what I would have called “having a cold” — I took cough medicine and Paxlovid and listened to the voice in my head of Stu saying, “Flood your body with liquids and shut your mouth!”
The first is easy for me, but shutting my mouth is much harder!
As Monday began, I wouldn’t let COVID stop me from talking, as I had five management and staff meetings on Zoom — but I did do more listening than usual!
BURSTING WITH PRIDE
I told our editorial team how proud I am of their 36 awards from the New York Press Association. We are a large media company with 88 outlets, but we’re all about quality journalism and it’s always sweet to be recognized by our peers!
I loved reading the judges comments on each of our winning entries from across our footprint in New York City, Long Island and the Hamptons. Our publications are in groups with the highest circulation, making their achievements even sweeter!
I was particularly proud of amNewYork Metro Editor-in-Chief Robb Pozarycki, who earned third place for his editorials. Each one covered an important topic at an important time!
Gay City News earned the Past Presidents’ Award for ”good, concise layout and excellent reporting.”
And I was so happy to see Brooklyn Paper’s Kirstyn Brendlen earn recognition in the Writer of the Year category. The judges said she “handled a variety of subjects in her entries with a deftness that gives the reader an understanding of the issue at hand and the importance of it.” How fantastic!
It filled my heart when I saw Aidan Graham, who started with us as an intern, win first place for spot news coverage!
Additionally, a team effort helped the Park Slope Courier place second for headline writing. Kudos to Aidan, Editor Meaghan McGoldrick and Art Director Leah Mitch!
I’d also like to congratulate Tim Bolger and Oliver Peterson at Dan’s Papers.
On the Long Island front, I was so proud that Tim and his Long Island Press team won for their coverage of health. And Oliver won first place in the feature story category.
The Queens Courier won three prizes for coverage of crime/police/courts, elections — which included the implementation of ranked-choice voting — and feature story writing. The Courier also was recognized for its stunning front covers.
As for the Bronx, our Bronx Times reporters won first- and second-place awards for their news stories — kudos to Robbie Sequiera and Aliya Schneider!
I am bursting with pride for the amNewYork Metro team winning first place for their series of articles about the emergence of food delivery apps in New York City, with the judges saying, “this sort of series reminds readers why newspapers continue to play an important role in their daily lives.”
My lone regret of my COVID-filled week was that I couldn’t attend our Healhcare Heroes award ceremony at Terrace on the Park.
But my daughter Elizabeth, along with Demetra, Toni and Joseph, knocked it out of the park, with joyous winners getting their due respect and appreciation! The feedback from the honorees is that they felt the love my team gave them!
The week at home quickly passed, with many Zooms and phone calls helping to kill the time. It’s not so bad!