Meet Courtney: #BSFBeatCOVID19
Meet Courtney. She’s a proud Army Spouse, mom of two, a DOD civilian registered dental hygienist, and a military child as well. Courtney is no stranger to the unpredictability of military life and prides herself on being able to roll with the punches. But this past year has really tested her mental fortitude.
At the start of the pandemic, the dental industry was mostly shut down, and Courtney’s work was put on hold. At the same time, her husband’s deployment was canceled three days before his scheduled flight. “While I was relieved to keep my husband home, my primary emotion in those early days of COVID was heartbreak for him because he was anticipating [the deployment] so much,” Courtney shared. “Time to myself also went out the window in the weeks that followed. My mental health really suffered in those first few months.”
Little did Courtney know, this would only be the beginning of the challenges 2020 would throw her way. Over the next several months, dental offices started opening back up, with new safety precautions in place. Courtney returned to work while also helping manage her son’s virtual learning and caring for her family. As they got into the groove of the “new normal,” Courtney’s world was rocked once again.
In November, Courtney tested positive for COVID after experiencing fatigue, body aches, and chills. “My initial fear was that I had potentially spread the virus to my coworkers because I had been at work the two days before having symptoms,” Courtney said. “Luckily, no one else at the office caught the virus, but with my husband in the field the entire time I was ill, realistically, I couldn’t isolate myself from my two children.”
Courtney found herself in a challenging position. On the one hand, it was a relief to her that she didn’t need to worry about her husband also contracting the virus. However, on the other hand, it left her sick and forced to quarantine, all while caring for two children and trying to manage virtual schooling for one. We often hear moms are the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and in Courtney’s case, it really is true.
“Luckily, my son never appeared under the weather, but my daughter became symptomatic for 2-3 days,” Courtney explained. “She was really lethargic during the day and awoke several times at night. We were fortunate that both of our symptoms were relatively mild. My energy was really low for a few days, and I lost my sense of taste and smell for about a month, but we both made it through. I think, like many healthy people, I was really anxious about contracting the virus and finding out then that I had an underlying health condition that would make it difficult to recover. I’m grateful that we both recovered and are okay.”
Courtney’s experience this past year—battling COVID-19 herself—made the announcement of approved vaccines that much sweeter. Like so many families, Courtney was hesitant, but she did her research to make an informed decision. “Although my symptoms were mild, I absolutely do not want to go through that again if I can prevent it,” Courtney shared. “A concern of mine was that the vaccine was produced so quickly. However, these vaccines are derived from research used for the SARS vaccine almost 20 years ago. Additionally, government funding allowed for drug trials in an expeditious manner to release these vaccines as quickly as possible. Now that my husband and I are both fully vaccinated, it puts us that much closer to being with our friends and families for the holidays this year. It’s ok to take pause and do your research on the vaccine(s). Just make the best informed decision you can for you and your family.”
And that’s the goal of our #BSFBeatCOVID19 campaign. Together with our Blue Star Partners, we’re arming our military community–service members, families, veterans, leaders, organizations, and supporters–with information to make informed decisions about the vaccine. We’re doing this by removing barriers and improving access to the information needed to protect everyone against the virus. Join us at bluestarfam.org/beatcovid19, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #BSFBeatCOVID19.