I GOT COVID-19 After Being Fully Vaccinated!

Life in Lisbon Portugal with Coronavirus

There’s a certain irony in life that often leaves us bemused, bewildered, and at times, a little bit wiser. I was fully vaccinated in March of 2021 with Pfizer, and I caught Covid-19 in Portugal nine months after. Portugal, a country with the highest vaccination rate worldwide, was my home and sanctuary. Daily cases were low. I was one of the thousand cases that day that caught coronavirus – Delta strain. Here’s my story. And my new view of life.

It all started with a seemingly innocent day out in Lisbon. The city was alive, vibrant, and bustling with life. People were out and about, enjoying the freedom the high vaccination rate afforded them. I was one of them, strolling down the streets, taking in the sights and sounds of the city I had come to love. But then, the unexpected happened. I started to feel unwell. A fever kicked in, followed by an intense cough. I hoped it was just a common cold, but a visit to the pharmacy and an antigen test confirmed my worst fears. I had tested positive for Covid-19.

The news hit me like a freight train. I had been vaccinated twice in March of 2021. I had been careful, wearing masks and practicing social distancing, yet here I was, a statistic in the daily Covid-19 case count. The virus had found me, despite my best efforts to avoid it.

The days that followed were a blur of feverish nights, intense coughing, and a loss of taste and smell. I was in the throes of the virus, a battle like no other. But amidst the physical discomfort and anxiety, I found myself reflecting on life, the fragility of it all, and the strength we possess to endure.

The Portuguese healthcare system was impressive. I received multiple calls from doctors, ensuring I followed the necessary protocols and provided the care I needed. The police even showed up to ensure I was in isolation. I was in the system, and I felt taken care of.

During my recovery, my thoughts often drifted to the Chinese Farmer Parable that I had come across in the past. The story revolves around a farmer who, regardless of the circumstances he faced, would invariably reply with, “Maybe so, maybe not, we’ll see.” This tale served as a lesson in perspective, emphasizing that the true nature of an event, whether it’s beneficial or detrimental, can only be discerned with the passage of time.

The fable I'm referring to is known as the Chinese Farmer Parable, and it was first told by British writer and philosopher Alan Watts in a 1960 lecture. Here is the story:

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse. All the neighbors came around that evening and said, "That's too bad." And he said, "Maybe."

The next day the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. All the neighbors came around and said, "Why, that's great, isn't it?" And he said, "Maybe."

The next day his son was attempting to tame one of these horses and was riding it and was thrown and broke his leg. All the neighbors came around in the evening and said, "Well, that's too bad, isn't it." And the farmer said, "Maybe."

The next day the conscription officers came around looking for people for the army and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. All the neighbors came around in the evening and said, "Isn't that wonderful?" And he said, "Maybe."

This parable is widely cited as an example of the elusive nature of progress, where steps forward may end up being negative in the long term. Similarly, seemingly negative events may end up bringing positive results. It's also cited as a principle of stoicism, where it's viewed as a virtue not to despair at apparent misfortune or delight in apparent good luck.

Getting Covid-19, despite being fully vaccinated, was a shock. But as I look back, I see the positives from this experience. I have a newfound appreciation for life, a burning desire to live each day to the fullest, to fill my head with memories and experiences. I’ve learned to practice gratitude more, appreciate the simple things, and never take life for granted.

I am Michael 2.0 now. I have a new outlook on life, one that my experience with Covid-19 has shaped. I am still puzzled about how I got the virus, but I am grateful I made it through. I am thankful for the bump in immunity and the peace of mind it brings. I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned and the perspective I’ve gained.

I am still in Portugal, still in love with Lisbon. I am still exploring, still making memories. I am still cautious, still doing my best to avoid the virus. But I am also living because, as I’ve learned, you only live once.

So, here’s to life, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the unexpected twists and turns. Here’s to the resilience we possess, the strength we find in adversity. Here’s to the lessons we learn, the perspectives we gain, and the growth we experience. Here’s to living, truly living, every day.

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Hi! We’re Melissa, Michael, and Samantha. We’re a nomadic family from the United States, currently living and building our new lives in Lisbon, Portugal. Follow us on our adventures as we explore this beautiful city and all it has to offer.