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Opinion: Coronavirus is not going to ruin my happy birthday

Debbie and her mom, in a trip from last summer. Photo: Debbie Dujanovic

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

Chalk up a birthday as one more thing affected by coronavirus.

I love celebrating your birthday. I’ll make you a cake with buttery frosting. Buy you a small gift. Wrap it with love.

I’m not a fan of my own birthday.

So when three of my closest girlfriends plotted a Taco Tuesday party for me this month, I argued with them.

They looked at each other, tossed out my no vote, and invited 40 people within five minutes.

Then, we abruptly canceled it because the health department closed restaurants to dine-in customers to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.

Managing a birthday gathering during coronavirus restrictions

Gathering inside one of our homes isn’t a back-up plan. Imagine a bunch of 50-something year olds piled into my small kitchen. There’s not enough space to social distance more than an inch.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Your questions, answered by the KSL factchecking team

At this point I’m certain I’d have to offer an explanation to the White House for sneaking more than 9 middle-aged adults into my home.

On a positive note, during this unprecedented wave of uncertainty, I’ve experienced a wakeup call.

In a week’s time, I lost my freedom to gather with good friends to celebrate my 53rd birthday.

You better believe that in those same seven days, I have learned to love freedom more than ever.

I have never felt that I’m one to take freedom for granted, but maybe I did and didn’t realize it until virus took a chunk of it hostage.

I miss the little things

I don’t hear school-yard soccer games from my back patio. I miss saying “hello” to the crossing guard who stands on the corner of my block.

I’ve gone from swooping into a store for bread and eggs day and night, to using a cheap pair of binoculars I keep stashed in my glove box to case semi-trucks hauling staples.

And then there’s Major League Baseball.

I love the games almost as much as my kids. I wept when the virus pushed back opening day.

“WHAT MORE CAN YOU STEAL FROM ME?” I screamed at the iPhone alert.

We should all be grateful

And here’s what scares me most.

I’m uncertain if there will be a spot at a doctor’s office, or God forbid, the hospital, if someone I love contracts COVID-19.

It’s stolen our freedom to seek medical help and testing at the drop of a hat.

The fact that the coronavirus has canceled a birthday party I now wish my friends could throw, isn’t why I’m writing this.

I want you to know, the pandemic hasn’t made me selfish; it’s put me in tune with how fortunate I am.

It’s reminded me that living in a country where freedom to do what I want, when I want, is a gift.

So, happy birthday to me.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States