COVID-19 story by Terry Cohn, 2020

Terry Cohn describes her experience traveling to Portugal and Spain in late winter 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ramp up in Europe. Terry talks about the logistics of traveling during the travel ban that went into effect in March. Terry began to have symptoms, including a cough and a fever, that turned out to be COVID-19. Terry discusses the process of interacting with the public health department immediately following her positive test, and how contact tracing worked in Madison. Terry talks about the symptoms of the disease, which varied between her and her husband, who also tested positive for COVID-19, and how this experience has affected her view of public health and the need for social distancing and face coverings.

Addendum: As I listened to my interview, I realized that I left out two important events that occurred during my illness with COVID19. As part of my healing, I tried to avoid focusing on the frightening parts of this illness, but some events replayed themselves. On my second visit to the ER, my encounter with the doctor left me traumatized for weeks. I was hooked up to 3 IV needles when the resident came in to discharge me. He was covered with a shield and mask and all I could see were his empathetic eyes. He gently rubbed my arm and said

  1. "You know age is against you."
  2. "I'm glad we didn't have to use a particular cardiac medicine on you, because it is really scary. It stops your heart and then your heart has to be started again."
  3. His parting words "I really hope you make it".
He said this three times. These words echoed through my head for weeks as I lay in bed, when I took a shower, and in my dreams. I was not able to tell those words to my husband, daughters, or sisters until I realized that I was getting better. In addition, there was a whole other scene going on at the same time on the other side of the curtain that I was told about after I recovered. My husband, daughters, sisters, family, and the close friends, who checked in daily, were all terrified. I did not realize the fear they were dealing with. I recently learned more about the tears they shed when I was too weak to talk to them, when I was sent to the ER, and when they heard extreme weakness in my voice. While I want to project my gratitude to the Madison Community and to those that provided me with positive thoughts, I must reiterate, this virus is frightening. As we learn more every day, we are finding that we really don't know who will live and who will die, what age it will strike, whether one can develop immunity, and whether it will come back with a greater magnitude.

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  • Identifier: covid19-056
    Narrator Name: Terry Cohn
    Interviewer Name: Danny Atwater
    Date of interview: 6/13/2020

    [00:00:00] - Start of interview
    [00:01:11] - Describe for our listener where you are right now
    [00:01:29] - Tell us about your trip to Spain
    [00:26:35] - Was there a turning point where you felt better
    [00:31:13] - Do you think that our local and federal governments have done enough to help prevent the spread
    [00:37:57] - Do you anticipate that there will be a second wave of Covid, and how will you prepare
    [00:42:07] - Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about


    Interviewer: My name is Danny Atwater, and I am a library assistant for Madison Public Library. This interview is being recorded as part of the Madison Living History Project Stories from a Distance series. Today's date is Saturday, June 13, 2020, and this interview is being conducted via the video-conferencing software Zoom. I'd like to have our storyteller introduce themselves. Please tell us your full name and describe your connection to Madison.

    Terry Cohn: Hello, Danny. Nice to talk to you. My name is Terry Cohn, and I moved and have lived here in Madison since 1977. I kind of had two previous connections to Madison. One was in the fifties and early sixties, when my father brought our family here because he had a research colleague, and we saw the beatniks and a huge ice cream cone from Babcock ice cream, so that was a memory of Madison, and so now I've lived here since 1977, and my husband and I have raised two daughters: Sarah, who lives in Madison and actually works at Central Library, and Leah, who lives in Portugal.

    Interviewer: Well, Terry, thank you for joining us today. Would you please describe for our listener where you are right now, so they can get a sense of where you're recording this.

    Terry Cohn: Sure, so I'm in my home on the east side of Madison, where we've lived for forty-two years.

    Interviewer: Terry, you have an important story to share, and I want to recognize that some of it might be hard to talk about, so again thank you for taking the time to do so. We had talked a little bit before the interview that today is the three month anniversary of you arriving back from your trip to Spain, and that's perhaps where your story begins, but I wonder if you could tell us about that trip a little bit first.

    Terry Cohn: Sure, so, way back in January, before we were going, we heard about this weird virus that was in China and Iran, and I was wondering, Gee, is that going to come to Europe? Will that affect our trip? We were due to leave to visit our daughter in Portugal February thirteenth, arriving February fourteenth, and then stay two weeks there, and then spend twelve days in Spain, where we had never been. So we took our daughter's advice, and we armed ourselves with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers for the airplane and took off and arrived in Lisbon on February fourteenth. And I have two little grandsons; they're two and four. So during that period of time, my daughter had to go to Milan for work, and three days after she returned, Milan completely locked down because of the coronavirus. And this was all something very new to my husband and myself, but Leah was totally terrified that she would infect myself and my husband because at that time it was considered people sixty and older were the vulnerable people, and she wasn't worried about herself, but she started giving us extra vitamin C concoctions and green smoothies and things to keep us healthy, and she wanted us to take our temperatures. But we had a wonderful time in Lisbon, the two weeks we spent there, and we'd been there before to visit her. But we always explore new places.

    And then we were leaving to go to Spain the very end of February, and the night we were leaving, or early in the morning, I woke up and I said to Michael, “We can't go. We just can't go because we'll be—what if we're quarantined in Spain and we can never get back to Lisbon, we can never get back home?” And I wasn't even thinking about getting ill, it was just like, What if we're stuck, and where do we stay? And then I talked to Leah and Michael, and I thought how— This is just your anxiety, Terry. Just go and have a good time. It's too much to deal with to cancel all the places we thought we—you know, we had planned to go, so we took off and we—Leah armed us with thermometers, and I had her phone, so she texted and called us every day, "How are you feeling?" And we spent twelve wonderful days in Madrid and San Sebastian and Barcelona, so all northern Spain, and ate wonderful food, and didn't really think too much about the virus, because it wasn't Italy, it was slowly coming into France. Spain was functioning just normal. And, so, everybody was walking around, nobody seemed cautious or nervous about anything, so, fortunately, it was not the height of tourist season or spring break, so all the museums and sites that we were going to were rather empty and we looked around and we wondered, Gee, are people thinking about this virus, or is this really because of tourism? And because nobody seemed nervous, we just thought, Okay, this must be lack of tourism, and we just—we really had a blast. I mean, we had no trouble getting into any of the places we wanted to go to, the Picasso museum in Barcelona, discovered incredible public markets, ate tapas galore, so we just really had a wonderful time. But the day that we were supposed to fly back to Lisbon for three days to say goodbye and get our suitcases and other things we had left, I got a text like at two in the morning from my neighbor saying, Gee, Terry, I hope you guys get back to the States, and I thought, What is going on? So I looked at the news, and I saw that Trump had initiated a travel ban for all planes from Europe starting a day later.

    So this was the twelfth; we were to fly to Lisbon on the twelfth and spend the three days there. So on that day, we went to the airport early. Leah tried to call the airlines, but she was going to be on hold for six hours. And the airport—this was in Barcelona—was just packed with frantic people, and people who had just arrived the day before who were going to have to turn around and go back, no vacation. And so while Michael waited in line to check in for our flight to Lisbon, I went over to see about changing our flight from Lisbon on Sunday the fifteenth to Friday the thirteenth, and I waited in line forever to get to the travel agent and then the travel agent took about forty-five minutes trying to find us a flight, and every time he'd say, "Ugh! That one's booked; that one's booked." And finally he said, "Oh, I got you a flight! It's Barcelona to Amsterdam to Chicago," and I looked astonished and I said, “Wait a second;I have to get back to Lisbon!” And he said, "I'm sorry. There's no flights from Lisbon going." And I said, “Well, can't you fly us home on Saturday?” And he said, "No, no, I'm sorry. The travel ban is supposed to go into effect, and we will not book any flights or guarantee anybody anything." So, I'm hysterically crying at not getting to be able to say goodbye to our daughter and our grandsons, and I go and find Michael and he says, "Terry, why don't we just follow through what we were supposed to do?" I said, “You don't get it, Michael; we can't do that. We have to go home.” So, as I'm crying, a television station from Spain comes up and wants to ask me how I've been affected by this travel ban, and I—in between my tears—I said, ”Well, I don't get to go back, and everything's changed.” And so we spent most of the day in the airport, flew to Amsterdam, and then that night in Amsterdam, I started to get a funny cough, and I didn't think too much about it—certain scents or smells can trigger a scratchy throat. And the next day, we got to the airport early; we were warned to be at the airport early, and we got on our plane with our disinfectant and everything that we had, our hand sanitizer, and it was an absolutely full flight, and I spoke to the young woman next to me, who it turned out was a UW senior, and had had her vacation interrupted after three days in Lisbon, and she was exhausted and she just covered herself completely up with her coat and the blanket, and she slept most of the trip. But I had said to her, “I'm so sorry I have this cough. Don't worry about it, it's just this cough I have.” And I felt terrible with all the people, you know, because—a cough! You know, who wants to be near someone with a cough? But they gave us this large towel at the beginning to kind of sanitize our hands, and I just kept it, and I used it kind of like a mask and coughed into that and coughed into my blanket. And that was a nine-hour flight. And at the end, my husband says, "Wow! That went really fast!" And I went, Oh my goodness! That was the worst flight. That took forever. I was popping cough drops two at a time in my mouth, trying desperately not to cough, and then, the surprising part was we had heard that as people entered the country, we were all going to be screened for coronavirus—then becoming COVID-19, that's the vernacular now—and we get to O'Hare and nothing is different than anything. We're—the long lines to go through customs; we go through the machines at customs, and the customs agent at the end—we say we've been in Portugal and Spain, and by that time things had really heated up in Spain, so it wasn't—I mean, we left and three days later Spain was in lockdown. So, he just looked at our papers and said, "Oh, how cute. You were each born six days apart." And nothing about, You all need to self-quarantine. And I was pretty disturbed about that because Europe was so much more advanced than the States, and my daughter, after being in Milan, could not go to her children's little school for two weeks. She had to stay at home. And, so, about a week before we were to go home, I texted my sister who lives in Madison and said, “Could you just stock up on some groceries for us? We really need to stay home for two weeks.” And, you know, let's just enjoy cooking, and that was that.

    Well, then, that was the thirteenth we arrived at home, and I didn't feel all that great, but just that same cough. And the next day I spiked a fever.And, that, unfortunately, is Sarah's birthday, and so we couldn't say happy birthday other than through FaceTime, and I was feeling more and more ill, and she didn't tell me until a couple months later how horrible I looked on the FaceTime call. (laughs) But, anyway, I was able to get through the UW Health triage phone system to be tested, and I think it was very hard to get tested then, and I think what was key was my travel, and obviously the fever and the cough. And two days later I learned that I was positive, and absolutely shocked. I thought I was getting a call about a totally different thing, about an appointment that I had coming up and to tell them, Well, you know, I really should self-quarantine. Well, I had no choice by then.

    The other thing that happened that I thought was impressive, was the public health department called me about a day later to ask me who I'd been around. And I in fact had been around my sister, although before she picked us up, I asked her to please bring us masks, and you wear a mask, because I have this cough. And, I still didn't know I was ill, so we all wore a mask. She didn't touch our luggage or anything. But then she was called because I gave her name. And she had to self-quarantine also for two weeks. And she'd kind of been our source for, we thought, getting us food and groceries, so what then became a very rapid onset of symptoms which were nothing like anything I've ever had before. I had zero energy. Our house is two stories; the bathroom is twenty steps away. That was all I could do. I couldn't even imagine going down the stairs. The cough became worse, the fever became higher. And then, two days later, my husband spiked a fever and chills, but he had all, like, GI symptoms, and I called for him because he was feeling so horrible, and he got tested and learned that he was positive. But he was over it in two days. And that was the saving part of this household, in terms of having somebody who could feed me and just take care of a hundred percent of the household, things that had to be done. And that's where I say that my sense of what was going on—and this is five weeks in bed, of not getting out. I just lay there, I could not read. I couldn't watch anything, any movie. I kept trying to think of something that could catch my interest, but nothing did. I slept. At three to four in the afternoon I just got so anxious because I hated the night time. The night time for me, the dark was totally frightening, and so I slept every night with the light on. And, by the way, the public health department had told my husband and I that we had to be in separate bedrooms and wear masks around each other, even though we were both positive. So, Michael, I learned after—I learned a lot after the fact because everybody just tried to keep up the positive momentum for myself—was that he couldn't sleep because he was afraid that I was going to stop breathing.

    So at one point in time when the fever just really wouldn't go down, I called my doctor, and she said, "Wow, you know, this is"—I was one of her first Covid cases, and so she consulted with the infectious disease team they had put together and came back and said to me, "I think you need to go to the ER." Actually, back up a minute. She—as soon as I was positive, I did call her, and she did call me every single day for two weeks to check up on me. But, anyway, at that time she said, "I think you need to go to the ER. I will call ahead to tell them you're coming. Michael cannot go in with you, and take whatever you think you need because you may be admitted." And, so, it was just like that. They met me with a wheelchair, took me into a special negative pressure room and examined me and thought that maybe the cold saline they would give me would help reduce the fever, but it didn't, and they couldn't find anything—no pneumonia, nothing wrong with any of the bloodwork, so, fortunately, I was sent home. And I really, at that point in time, I felt like if somebody was admitted to the hospital, it was kind of like a death sentence, and so I truly did not want to be admitted. So I was so grateful to go home.

    And then a few days later, my heart started to race, and it wouldn't stop and it wouldn't stop racing. Like three times as fast as normal. So I reluctantly called my doctor because I once again didn't want to have to go back with the possibility of having to be admitted. But I did go to the emergency room, and they were able to slow my heart down with an IV medication and, fortunately, I was sent home again, although this time, they saw that I did have pneumonia, and my liver enzymes were not normal, so it had now affected two of my organs. And this was all still kind of new. As I would talk to my doctor each day she would say, "Oh, I just learned that there can, in fact, be liver involvement." And that was when it was all considered just a respiratory illness, but they were learning more and more, but they were still way behind from what could have been known, from cases in other countries, much earlier. I also told her that I can't eat because everything tastes so salty. And so I didn't lose my sense of taste or smell, but everything tasted awful, including water, so it was really hard for me to keep hydrated and to eat. And so she said, "Well, maybe you better drink some Pedialyte." And so the next day I said, “You know, that stuff just tastes like what you drink when you're going to have a colonoscopy. It's just gross!” And she said, "Really? I had no idea!" And now I know, it was me. Everything was tasting really—all I can describe it as salty. And, so, unfortunately, two days later, my heart raced again, and fortunately that was the first day I had no fever, so this was a little over two weeks into the illness. I still felt horrible, but I was finally fever-free. And so, on the way to the emergency room, a cardiologist called me and said, "Terry, I think we can treat you at home. I hear you really don't want to go to the emergency room again." I said, “No, I don't.” They couldn't get to my veins last time. I came home with like three punctures all over in my arms, and it was a very different experience from the first time in the ER, and it was not pleasant. So, I was able to go home. I know that day I actually quickly FaceTimed with my daughter in Portugal, just to say, I'm going home; I'm getting this medication, and I'm not having to go to the emergency room, but I didn't realize how awful I sounded or looked. So, in fact, I was actually making her a little (cough)—excuse me—more nervous.

    But the rest of the weeks went by with pretty much just me in bed, and while everybody else was kind of getting bored at home, and doing their lists of things that they had always put off, I wasn't doing anything. But what I was getting from family and friends and people in Madison was an incredible amount of support, and they were really my cheerleaders, and I can't tell you how many things appeared—how many surprises appeared at our front door. Meals, goody packages from girls that my daughter had gone to college with, flowers. I got a text message twice a day from a neighbor of positive thoughts. So on days when I said—not even thinking what I was saying—to my family, I just can't take this anymore, I'm ready to give up. Not knowing the impact of those words would have on people. But that was truly how I was feeling, that this was too much to take. I can't—I'm so weak, I can't do this. But not considered ill enough to be hospitalized. So that's something that people need to keep in mind, because we're considered mild cases of the virus. We're not having any problems with our oxygen levels, but we feel horrible. So, what ended up happening was, I really—there's—no one knew anyone else in Madison that had this. And friends of mine would just be, you know, "I'm in shock. Wow! You and Michael had COVID, or have COVID?" And, so, the good part was this outpouring of love and goodies; the negative part is that people really don't get it. People close to me, and who saw me or contacted my family regularly—my sister who lives in Madison (cough) excuse me—they all understood it because they had really first hand experience, but other people in Madison who aren't really part of my social circle but still delivered food to us—I was like this novelty, but not an understanding really of what I was going through. So I think what it left me with is a sense of confusion. I'm very grateful that people here in Madison and Dane County have relatively low cases, but I have to say, the day I was tested, there were twenty-seven positive cases in the state of Wisconsin. I believe there are sixteen thousand now. So it's here. It may not be right in our own community, and it may be scattered throughout the state, but it's not over. And I feel people really need to be serious about social distancing, and about wearing masks. (cough) And the other thing I—excuse me for coughing; it’s one of the residual parts of this. One of the things I reflected upon is way back when we would, in my generation, get exposed to chicken pox or something at school, we’d get a note home saying, Oh, there was chicken pox in your class; you might expect to get chicken pox. Or today, if we're around somebody with a cold or the stomach flu or something, we just think, Oh, shoot, you know; I've been exposed; I may get this, I may not, but now I've been exposed. That's not true with this. You don't know when you're going to be exposed. You don't know who has it. The research is just so new, and it changes every day whether people who are asymptomatic have it or don't have it. So with all this unknown knowledge, I'm just afraid that we're getting too complacent and that when I look around, I say, What's really changed since March thirteenth when I came back ill? Nothing's really changed, in terms of the virus itself. It's still here. We've controlled it some, but we don't know what's going to happen. So that's really what I think about day to day. I feel my husband and I are super sensitive, super careful because we don't take for granted that we may be immune because there's no evidence that shows whether we truly are or aren't, so we wear our masks, and people might wonder, like, Well, you guys had it, you guys should feel safe.

    And the other—I’d say one of the more positive things for Michael and I has been that we have given plasma, and this is one of the programs that the University of Wisconsin is part of along with now thousands of other institutions around the country where recovered patients—if they have had a positive test on record and then actually have a negative test on record, are allowed to give plasma for their antibodies. So that was very rewarding, and I will do that monthly in hopes of helping other people. And the other thing that we are a part of is we donated blood to Promega, who is doing research on coming up with a truly valid antibody test. So there are antibody tests out there, but they haven't been totally rigorously tested, so it's not known how valid they are. So whether Promega gets it or someone else, it felt good, at least, to be part of that also. So that's my story, and I welcome any questions you have, Danny.

    Interviewer: Thank you for going so in depth into your story. I'm curious—if you would say that you feel better at this point. Was there a turning point when you said, "Hey! I feel better," and what was that like?

    Terry Cohn: So I did not put on clothes for five weeks, other than to go to the emergency room. And my poor husband would have to do four sets of pajamas a night because of the horrible sweats that would happen at night. But then I had signed up to be tested to see if I was negative to donate plasma. So this was a little over five weeks of when I was first diagnosed, and that day I put on clothes to go, and after that day I put on clothes. And so that was a turning point, and the other thing is I have my own little business; I have a little Etsy shop where I make kids’ clothes, and I closed it the month of February, March, and hoped to open it actually mid-March, but I kept it closed in April also, and opened it the beginning of May. And that was also a big turning point to have something to do. And the other thing that was kind of funny was, I read, and I could not find a book that would, that I could just, like, get into and not be too heavy, and not be too real, so I had never read Harry Potter, so I picked the first Harry Potter book because Sarah has all of them, and that was the first book I read. And so that was also a big turning point, was to actually have concentration, because that's something that also was, has been noted now, is a lack of concentration, and I think, for myself and for others, even after the physical parts—and they're not gone—I haven't built up my stamina. We were walking ten miles a day in Barcelona, and some days I just can't walk more than, you know, the five blocks to the post office and back. So that ebbs and flows. I don't know when I'll feel, you know, which day I'll have the strength and energy and other days I'll just feel kind of blah. But I also was listening to the news one day, and I found out about a woman who, like myself had one of these so-called mild cases, and was also—I think hers was three or four weeks—and then recurrent-like symptoms that kind of come and go. She started a support group and I am lacking people like myself who have this, and so I joined that and I was talking about—so my physical stamina came back earlier than my mental healing. And my mental healing has taken much, much longer. And I'd say, really, it's only been in the last week to ten days that I've felt mentally much better. It was very traumatic. And you know, I don't really know what PTSD feels like, but I would say it felt kind of like that when I would hear people kind of downplay what the severity of what this illness could be like, "Oh, if I get it it's not so bad, it's just like the flu." That, that was difficult to hear people say, like, "Oh, you know, the percent chance of getting this is really slim," and I'll never know how I got it. It could've been anytime I was in Spain because I was there long enough. We were in Airbnbs, we were in buses to go to sites, we were in airplanes, we ate in restaurants. I don't know. We tried as carefully as we could. I carried that hand sanitizer and every time we touched anything we washed our hands, so I don't know, but that part was—I was so sensitive to hearing the people negate the seriousness of this virus. So that part's been rough. The mental turning point was much slower than the physical.

    Interviewer: You mentioned early on noticing, I think you said it was a more sophisticated response from other governments. And I'm curious, do you think that our local, state and our federal government has done enough to help prevent the spread?

    Terry Cohn: Absolutely not. I mean, I have a lot of anger. (laughs). I have a lot of anger from what I experienced at the Barcelona airport, where we were given, you know, barely forty-eight hours for everybody to madly change what they were doing. But, I can attest to what was going on in Portugal because of my daughter who lives there. They did a close—soon after we left. So we left Lisbon February twenty-ninth. They, soon after that, they closed every park, every museum, that we had been in. So it hadn't—they had no cases in Portugal, they were just watching it come across—and it’s not like it comes across with the wind—but they have a lot of tourism industry which is really what thrives in Portugal, so they locked down. They told people they could only go outside for essential reasons, the grocery store and the pharmacy. And my daughter was very fortunate. She lives in a flat on the, like, four stories up and the two little kids that they—her father-in-law had a place up north in the country, with lots of property and no people, and they were there for eleven weeks, in lockdown. I mean, they could go out and walk around. You couldn't really do that in Lisbon because it's physically not made for social distancing. The sidewalks are too narrow. And I saw that when she came back from Milan, and Milan went on lockdown, her company stopped all travel. It's an international company, so this was a company that in the middle of February said, "No more of our employees will do any travel anywhere." And she was to organize a large worldwide meeting in Barcelona, for close to the end of March. Well, that was canceled. And the reason being, is people were going to be coming from all over the world. And everybody shakes hands, and everybody's happy to see everyone. And that was not going to happen.

    So I feel like we were way behind in this country. I think that Wisconsin has just been like the Wild West once our orders for Safer at Home were abolished. And, you know, we have a culture here in Wisconsin that's a pretty party hearty culture and bar culture and all kinds of scenes that are just ripe for transmitting the virus. And then, even here in Madison, where we think of ourselves as kind of being smart and progessive, over Memorial Day, there were crowds of people behind Memorial Union and right next to each other. And that place is roped off now and off limits. You cannot go there. So people—and what the governor had to do to the state parks, when people couldn't just enjoy them, social distancing, and smart, and not littering. They took advantage, and so then when the governor had to close the state parks, people were upset. Well, now they're open and hopefully people will be able to do it respectfully and smart and safely because I think we're all a little bit too—too much involved with our own safety and not the safety as a community, and that's where I think of wearing masks. If people wear masks, what it says to me is, "I care about you, and I want to protect you." Because the newest research shows that makes a huge difference. And it may in fact make a difference for acquiring the illness, also. So that's where I think, you know, this attitude in this country is not—I mean, it's played out in everything—in our healthcare system and whatever, but it's not about us as citizens and respect for each other. It's too much about me and what's convenient. And, you know, I see people who make up their own rules about what is Safer at Home. And they're just lucky that they don't live in a city where, you know, it's really prevalent. And so they've escaped it, and I can't say it's because how they chose to live safely. I think it's just not here in the sense it is other places. And not to say it can't come. I mean, we've had, you know, Memorial Day and who knows what's going to happen on the fourth of July, and things are opening up, and, you know, I try to figure that out and it's just hard for me to figure out, how we open up safely, but my heart is just so upset for those people who can't work and whose livelihoods are just being taken away from them and all the businesses having to close. So, it's a really—it's very hard, but I think that the leadership in this country has not been for the safety of its citizens. And I think it was—I think that that was tried here in Wisconsin and unfortunately—it was for political reasons, I believe that, you know, things were just, like, put in an open free-for-all. And to leave it up to county by county is a little ridiculous, because if we're in Dane County and we go over to Sauk County and we go have our whatever and then come back into Dane County, you know, there's no difference. So, I think ultimately it should have been a nationwide process of dealing with this in a smart way, and statewide it gets tougher, but then when you go down and try and break it up into counties and municipalities, it's a lost cause.

    Interviewer: Given what you see with the way that people are acting, do you anticipate that there will be a second wave of COVID, and how will you react to it? How will you prepare for that?

    Terry Cohn: My heart says, I hope not. Already my daughter is not coming in August. She usually comes every year. Her next trip that she comes every year is November for Thanksgiving. That's the time they're talking now about, you know, this possible surge. I think, you know, it corresponds with flu, so, you know, if we're, if people have weakened systems already from something else that they're either fighting or have, there's a possibility—I don't know if I'll deal with it any different than I am today. I'm, like, cautious. Everybody has their own, you know, rational or irrational reasons for doing what they do. I cannot have somebody else pack my groceries. I just—it's beyond my ability to be comfortable with. I'm much more comfortable wearing a mask, going into a large grocery store where people wear masks, where they adhere to the social distancing. And there are two places here that I've been, and I—mostly my husband does the grocery shopping, because I'm still nervous. But, you know, so I feel that, for me, that's what feels safest. And, you know, for somebody else, that's not logical, just like I don't want—I don't want anybody touching my stuff, and I don't know when they pack it if they've coughed or sneezed on it. You know, there's too many unknowns for that, for me. So I would say if something happened, and I think there will possibly be, because I think, because I believe the knowledgeable scientists and public health people that believe there is going to be an upsurge, and I think part of it has to do because we all go indoors again. And, you know, if it's slower in the summer, maybe we have more space. I don't know. I mean it's just sort of things to think about and I don't—I think I won't feel comfortable until—really comfortable until there's a vaccine. And I don't believe I'll travel, and it's really painful for me to not imagine seeing my daughter and kids, but—grandkids—but I can't imagine going through this again, at all. And, I, one funny story about Sarah here in Madison is, so we FaceTimed on her birthday, March fourteenth, and then I didn't see her, probably for five weeks, and I didn't see her, and I really, I only saw her through the glass window on our front porch, where we talked through the window. And she said, "Wow, you look a lot better than you did back when I last saw you." So that was kind of a weird thing, to not see a family member and I didn't see my sister, either, who lives a mile from me. She, when she was freed from her two weeks, she was one of the people that got us groceries, but nobody still has been in my house. I haven't gone in other houses. (cough) I've had one meal, I mean I've had meals with one person, my sister—oh, and Sarah—two people, we have—I've cooked, not with them, but we each prepared and we sat our six feet apart. But other than that I have not—I see people passing by and when we walk, but, you know, I'm pretty, pretty careful.

    Interviewer: Terry, is there anything else that you wanted to talk about that just hasn't been mentioned at this point?

    Terry Cohn: I just want to say that I am so grateful for the Madison community and the grapevine because I think that when people either contacted my sister or food showed up, and I thought, How did they ever even know I was ill? I don't know. I don't know, but it's a grapevine, and this is a grapevine, as I mentioned earlier about people who are not in my immediate social circle who reached out and did things for us, and that's what's really special about this community, is people do care and do reach out, and I truly feel like that was what saved me. So thank you for doing this whole project. I think it's really fascinating. I think it will be good to hear what everybody's experience with this unreal environment is.

    Interviewer: Well, Terry, thank you for taking time on this beautiful Saturday morning to share your story with us. I appreciate it.

    Terry Cohn: Thank you!