Post-COVID handshakes: dread or delight?

hand-shake-4092737_1280by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

  • the COVID-19 variants
  • our record-breaking heat wave
  • devastating forest fires
  • air quality (see: forest fires)
  • the deer eating my zinnias

Okay, that last one may seem trivial (but I was TOLD that deer won’t touch zinnias – which is apparently FALSE!)  I have also noticed that my cardiac symptoms don’t even make that worry list these days.            .  

There is simply so much else to occupy my worry time lately.

As so many of my Heart Sisters readers keep telling me, their worst worries on any given day are often not the cardiac issues they’ve spent years getting used to, but new and unexpected issues.

For example, just when I thought that ongoing chest pain, shortness of breath and crushing fatigue were my biggest “normal” worries, this past winter those cardiac symptoms somehow faded into second place.  I was far too  busy focusing on debilitating new symptoms of persistent plantar fasciitis in my right heel. This is a repeat of an excruciatingly painful foot injury that ended my running life years ago.  (See also: “Running Past”, my Runner’s World essay on becoming a former runner after 19 years).

But lately, I’ve started fretting about a brand new thing to worry about (on top of climate change, a sore heel and my poor zinnias) – and that brand new thing is shaking hands again

In a post-COVID world, I now wonder: will people go back to the handshake? How should I respond to that? And don’t even get me started on casual acquaintances who move in for a hug the way we used to do. 

Right now, where I live on the beautiful west coast of Canada, it turns out that I’m not the only one worrying about returning to handshakes. This month, both our hospitalization and death rates due to the COVID-19 virus are increasing according to the B.C. Centres for Disease Control updates. This pandemic is not over until it’s over.


 NOTE FROM CAROLYNI wrote much more about heart patients and stress in my book A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press). You can ask for this book at your local bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon, or order it directly from Johns Hopkins University Press.  Save 30% by ordering this book directly from Johns Hopkins University Press, using the code HTWN . 

6 thoughts on “Post-COVID handshakes: dread or delight?

  1. What amazed me about covid and the restrictions were the number of people that did not wash their hands regularly. Hygiene people. Germs don’t spread much from a healthy clean mouth or frequently washed hands. And I don’t mean ridiculous hand sanitizers.

    I did CPR mouth to mouth to a drowning victim last July in the middle of covid. You can’t live scared. Just live. The man survived and so will you. Shake people’s hands. START living again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, bless you Jennifer for stepping up to do mouth-to-mouth CPR last summer. So glad there was a positive end to that dramatic story.

      I too have been shocked at the loosey-goosey attention to hand hygiene – especially lately. The worst: I was waiting for an elevator recently; the doors opened just in time for the biggest, wettest, loudest, most explosive sneeze ever from a (maskless) man about to get off that elevator, who then proceeded to wipe the snot dripping from his nose with his fingers (!) That small elevator instantly turned into a petri dish of contagion for up to three hours, not to mention any surface or doorknob or button that man wiped those fingers on. Ew…

      I will start living again – but I won’t voluntarily offer to shake that hand!

      Take care, stay safe. . . ♥


  2. We are still in the middle of a pandemic in America with Delta variant cases rising.
    I was fully vaxxed back in February And starting to wonder if boosters will be needed.
    I Still wear a mask in all indoor settings Stores etc. unless a fully vaxxed group people I know. I have experimented with restaurants with vaxxed friends. I knew my friend had a cold but we removed our masks and ate dinner together…And YES, I caught the cold! Viruses jump across the table even during the short time of the meal.

    As restrictions started lifting here in Denver, the first person to offer me a hand shake was my Nephrologist … He was masked and I assume vaxxed and I figured it must be okay so I shook his hand. It indeed was strange. I felt like running for the hand sanitizer! I didn’t run, but kept that hand in my lap and hit the sanitizer on the way out. LOL

    I wear my mask in the car with my adult son. He is vaccinated but is out in a very public job unmasked, and I do believe can carry around undesirable viruses in his nose. He teases me, but says he doesn’t mind because I’m old and he doesn’t want me to get sick.

    Yes, I am old and I’m not afraid of death, but I am also smart and avoiding a COVID infection is smart in my world. And very much more important than what any other person may think of my mask habits.

    Big adventure – I’m masking up and going to Las Vegas for 2 days with my brother… I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jill – That ‘hand in your lap’ strategy reminds me of the early public health warning, “Don’t touch your FACE!” It’s only when I really focused on that warning that I realized how often I unconsciously touch my mouth, rub my eyes, etc.

      Keeping ourselves protected (e.g. you wearing your mask in the confined small space of a car with questionable ventilation – unless all the windows are wide open) does seem like a smart thing to do. With the summer weather here, there are lots of open air patios to meet our family and friends at. Maybe by the fall, the pandemic will actually be over (not just wishful-thinking “freedom days” opening-up announcements decreed by politicians).

      Wow! Vegas!! Yes, please let us know how that trip goes. Just read that they are reinstating recommendations to wear masks in indoor public places – including Vegas casinos – regardless of vaccination status. And of course stay extra safe while you’re there! ♥


Your opinion matters. What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s