By: Jen Russon
When Yitzchak Isaac Bachar, a local gun store owner and former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, spoke about his recovery from COVID-19, he likened the lead-up and aftermath of getting sick to taking a bullet.
Bachar said he has no idea where he got the virus. The 64-year-old grandfather of four always wore a mask around his family and was careful. He remembers looking around at people who weren’t wearing their masks properly, who weren’t social distancing. They had this attitude like, ‘it can’t happen to me.’
“Well, it’s not a joke. It happened to me — I’m the one who took the bullet,” said Bachar.
He admits to seeing more of his family than he probably should have during a deadly pandemic, often visiting with his grandsons in Coconut Creek and granddaughters, who flew in from Missouri over the summer; luckily, none of them tested positive.
There were lots of hugs and cookouts. As restrictions lifted around Florida and businesses slowly began to reopen, so did Bachar’s gun store The Big Bang, albeit, with safety measures in place, he says some clientele resisted.
“When I tell customers I only allow one person at a time inside, not to handle the merchandise and wear their masks at all times, some can get really nasty,” said Bachar.
He added the ones who refused to follow protocols would often tell Bachar that other gun store owners let them touch the guns, crowd the store, and ditch the mask.
“When they get nasty, I tell them not to come back to the Big Bang again,” Bachar said of the gun store’s long-time presence on Wiles Road.
He said sales had not been adversely affected by COVID, but even if businesses were suffering, he’d keep the same safety measures. After all, what Bachar endured in July makes limited human interaction seem like the only way forward.
Along with his wife, Orna Miron, the couple also owns Aspect Realty. The energetic Black Belt from Tel-Aviv spent a total of ten years in the Israeli Defense Forces — or IDF. In basic training he was a paratrooper, squad commander, then platoon sergeant. Once in reserves, he worked in military security, then later on he worked for El Al airlines as an air marshal.
Bachar said he never suffered from anything like COVID-19 before.
The virus presented itself in the form of fever and extreme fatigue. Bachar’s blood pressure spiked dangerously high, and he had trouble keeping his eyes open. At that point, his wife and daughter decided to rush him to the emergency room.
Doctors ran oxygen tests and took X-rays of his lungs, concerned enough over the results to order the most conclusive test of all.
“You have COVID-19!” Bachar said, reenacting the moment he was told in a booming voice. At times, he shows a sense of humor recounting details of his ordeal.
Bachar spent five days at Broward Health—Coral Springs, plus another two weeks in quarantine at his home in Heron Bay.
He said that although his doctors now consider him recovered, he still has trouble climbing stairs and must work to control a resting heart rate that occasionally runs as high as 120 beats per minute.
“I eat healthily, and I work out, but I still don’t know what’s going to happen to me – if I can get reinfected or suffer complications down the road. My doctors just don’t know,” Bachar admits.
He said that he’s glad to have the worst of it behind him, be part of COVID recovery groups on Facebook, and continue taking Vitamins C, D, and loads of zinc. The family get-togethers he used to enjoy so much have been reduced to daily conversations on WhatsApp.
It’s not perfect, but he’ll take it.
Bachar said he keeps regular hours at his gun store and plans to cast his vote in person on Election Day.
“I’ve got a lot to feel good about. My wife and I just celebrated our 36th anniversary. I’m a realistic person. I know there are a lot of unknowns about this virus, and I accept that,” he said.
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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