Thomas, Bay County

Storyteller: Anna Norfleet

Thomas was 50 years old when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. At that time, he lived in Kawkawlin, Michigan with his family, a daughter, son, and wife in Kawkawlin and a son attending MSU in East Lansing. He is a self-employed optometrist running two offices with his wife, one office is located in Bay City, MI and the other in Standish, MI. Thomas remembers hearing about COVID-19 first in January on the local news station when at the time it did not appear that it could arise into the major issue that it has turned into. He had to make multiple changes when the virus first started including briefly shutting down his offices and taking extra precautions in running his offices and caring for his patients once they reopened.

Thomas has gained a few things from COVID-19, but most noticeably a headache. The stress and challenge of trying to follow and stay up to date on regulations as well as trying to protect people’s health has been tiring. Thomas has also lost a few things from the virus including productivity and freedom. He has had to adjust to a new normal not only in his work, but also in his everyday life. A sensory detail that Thomas has noticed in his everyday life is how dry his hands get from continuous hand washing and hand sanitizer. He has struggled in the past with dry skin and this has only made it worse. Another thing that he has noticed is the information overload due to the constant bombardment from the media. Thomas states that sometimes the countless statistic can make the situation even harder to understand. He also mentioned a funny situation that occurred during the pandemic with the short supply of common objects. Things that used to be so easy to find like toilet paper and paper towel became scarce out of nowhere. Thomas claims that the pandemic has taught him that all jobs are essential and that we have to be adaptive in our everyday life.

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