Posted on February 05 2021
By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
I recently recovered from a bout with COVID-19 and wanted to share my experience.
Like so many people, I was surprised to be diagnosed with the disease, as I have strived for many months — most of the time, anyway — to strictly follow the CDC guidelines by wearing a mask and social distancing.
During the December holiday week, for instance, I canceled attending an outdoor dinner party.
But my sons and daughter-in-law were in town with my grandson, Bowie. I had missed seeing them. They were in touch, however, and we planned a New Year's Day lunch around the pool of my club. My 4-year-old grandson enjoyed jumping off the diving board, as he is a good swimmer.
The outdoor luncheon went smoothly with no signs of any illness. And a dinner with close friends was uneventful as well.
But soon after those events, my nose began running and I noticed a ringing in my ears. What was happening?
So I was off to the testing site to take a COVID test — and the verdict was positive. I was told to go home and stay there for at least 14 days, which is not easy, when you’re as active as I like to be. But the stakes were too high to not follow the rules. When one has COVID, I found, it’s very hard not to pass it on to those you love, especially if you live in the same household.
The first thing I did was to call my daughter-in-law and the friends with whom I had dined on New Year's Day. Fortunately, none of them picked up my virus. The best and most important thing to do in this pandemic is to protect others.
But where did I catch it? I soon learned that a household helper had the virus. Is that how it was passed on to me?
I have recovered, although I initially experienced a lingering lethargy as I worked to get my old spirit back. Bed rest, for me, turned out to be the key to my recovery.
And there was an odd bright spot to my quarantine. A great read kept me company for part of the time: Leonard Lauder’s new book, “The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty.”
Leonard has been a friend for many years, and I also was close to his late wife, Evelyn. I even went to their son William’s bar mitzvah celebration and my late wife, Suzanne, enjoyed the Lauders’ company on many occasions.
Evelyn was a superb hostess, and her dinner parties were filled with many people of the moment. She was the first hostess I encountered who served honey-crisp bacon as an appetizer.
Her interest in decorating was keen, and she had a great knack for choosing terrific fabrics. I recall her using a woven fabric with a forest-like garden design on the furnishings in her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York. The woven design became very popular in the design world of the 1980s and it remains so today. The fabric on her lounge chairs and sofa carried right into the greenery of Central Park outside the apartment.
Leonard’s book, by the way, is a must-read. It is history, in many ways. Like Leonard, I too remember the air-raid wardens of World War II (my dad was one). I enjoyed reading of Leonard’s love for his mom and dad and their kind ways.