In case we haven’t chatted recently, here’s a little update from our house. Yes, we are still in quarantine – 543 days and counting (as of September 6th). No, we haven’t traveled anywhere – other than to medical appointments and our weekly expedition to put highway miles on our seldom-used vehicles. Yes, we have both been vaccinated on the strong recommendation of Curtis's medical team; Curtis has even received the booster. However, as anticipated by all, Curtis hasn’t built any anti-bodies, and his medical team isn’t optimistic that he ever will.
While it’s been a tough year, and it’s sometimes hard not to dwell on the things we have missed (MLB baseball games, babies born, weddings, funerals, MLB baseball games, etc.), we are thankful for many, many things… > The patience and understanding of our families and friends – who are dying to give us hugs again one day > The support and generosity of our employers (Curtis is now working from home permanently.) > No infections, no urgent care nor ER trips (positive result of not interacting with other humans) > IDF virus and vaccine webinars and updates > Little league baseball games (Squint – we’re the socially distanced aunt and uncle, sitting on the third base line, almost in left field.) > Our Milwaukee County Zoo pass (We have started walking at the zoo as an alternative to our neighborhood paths. We are the speed-walkers, who take a hard left when you approach.) > Babies (Thanks to COVID, I think that I have made more baby blankets this year than in any previous year.) > Each other (We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year. Nothing like passing a milestone, in stressful circumstances, and easily confirming that you made at least one right decision in your 20’s.)
Given all that we are thankful for, our zebra* has agreed to more public humiliation this year…this time on a grander scale. (1) If we raise $10K by 11:59pm on Friday, October 8th, Curtis will wear his zebra costume at the Milwaukee County Zoo for the walk on October 9th. Many may argue that he wears this costume annually. Yes, but NEVER in a public or non-walk-related venue. So, if you want him to stress that introverted energy….
(2) If we don’t meet the October deadline, but we still surpass a $15K goal this year, Curtis will walk in his zebra costume at the zoo WHEN we meet that goal.
(3) If you donate plasma TWICE between now and October 8th, we will donate $100 in your name. [Photographic evidence will be required. :) ] Plasma donations are what keep Curtis alive and healthy – this is also how Curtis will get the necessary antibodies, from others who have had the virus or who have been vaccinated.
There are a lot of folks in need. If this doesn’t meet your giving plan for this year, no worries. We would still love to hear from you. Drop us an email or text when/if you think of it.
And, as always, thank you to IDF for all the things you did to support us through the “before times” and now through the “next normal”!
*The phrase “zebra” stems from a familiar saying: "when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras." In medical school, doctors are taught to focus on the likeliest possibilities ("horses") when making a diagnosis, not the unusual ones ("zebras"). However, sometimes physicians need to look for a zebra. Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID) are the zebras of the medical world.
In this context, my husband Curtis is our zebra. Curtis was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) at roughly nine years old. It is a genetic condition; and, as treatment, he receives monthly infusions of IVIG - a drug that essentially replaces his immune system on a monthly basis. (It is administered intravenously over the course of several hours - approximately four in Curtis's case.) As a result of his condition, he is prone to any illness that is making the current rounds as well as myriad complications commonly associated with CVID. In general, he is very fortunate in that he is relatively healthy. Many patients with PID suffer from repeated illnesses, resulting in frequent hospital trips and the inability to attend school or work on a regular basis.