It finally happened. After 2+ years of deftly avoiding the coronavirus, I finally joined the ranks of the few – the elite – who have survived the pandemic. Yes, I too am one of the 87,000,000 COVID-19 survivors in the United States. Because of this unique status, I feel that I should tell you about my journey.
I have always taken great pride in my invincibility. Over the past two years I have watched every member of my family battle COVID – some multiple times. Up until last week, I was the last man standing. No longer. No I count myself a victim, a survivor. My invincibility is now based in conquering, not merely avoidance.
Yeah, I didn’t get all that sick. I don’t know what flavor of the virus I got, but it must have been one of the “Corona-lite” versions because..well..I’m still here.
I was always worried abut how COVID would impact me. Earlier in life I struggled with health concerns. Also, anytime I played Oregon Trail I would die within the first few days from some sort of disease. I always figured that it was inevitable for me.
Here’s how we think it came about: My sweet EC got the Corona a couple weeks ago, and was quite sick. She managed to fight it off, but it seems that she may have passed it to me. Last Monday I was siting at my desk at work and one of my employees asked me if I was okay.
I turned to her, with a Kleenex dangling from my nose. “What do you mean?”
“Well, you don’t seem ‘right’ today.”
“I don’t feel right – maybe you should shut my door.” My office door has been shut since then.
I turned back to my computer screen and realized that I had been blankly staring at it for so long that it had gone into sleep mode. That, and the incessant runny nose, was my first indication that maybe something was wrong.
By Tuesday I had chest congestion and a fever. I had a pretty good idea that I had THE virus, and began to act accordingly by avoiding people and increasing my liquids and TV consumption.
I took a test early on, because I just couldn’t wait to stick that swab up my nose and swirl it around and make myself gag. The test came back negative, which was surprising, considering the fact that over the past two years I have probably taken 40 COVID tests and every single one of them had come back negative. I had never actually seen a positive result for a COVID test, and had gotten to the point where I figured they were just pretend.
But my fever, body aches and symptoms told me that this was definitely “something.” I began to tank up on liquids and junk food, because…well, I don’t have a defense for the junk food because I know it can exacerbate symptoms, but, in my defense, the test was negative.
Over the course of the next two days I got sicker and sicker. It was miserable. One of the most irritating parts was that I wasn’t able to sleep well. Thursday morning, at about 4:00am, I was busy not sleeping and figured, what the heck, maybe I should take another test. So I did, and up popped the mythical “second line,” showing a positive result. The tests were actually real all this time!
Of course when something like this occurs, you kick into motion. First thing that morning, I posted a picture of my test on Facebook so I could get some pity. I got a little. I also got some unsolicited advice on what to do, a few horror stories, etc.
Had this happened two years ago, I think there might have been much more concern, love and assistance offered. This late in the coronavirus game, my own sons don’t even check in on me. Now getting COVID brings about more of a collective eyeroll. Telling people nowadays has all the fanfare of announcing, “Hey everybody! I got a smartphone!”
I’m still a little surprised that none of the convenience stores in the area have reached out to me to see if I’m okay.
I did get a sincere message from an attorney asking if my will and living will were updated and in place. I told him I had it covered. What I didn’t tell him is that my will still lists my Palm Pilot and Pog collection as assets.
My wife was so sweet and caring, offering to make me food, run errands, etc. I was planning on really exploiting…err…enjoying being taken care of – until she tested positive and all her symptoms came rushing back. So the two of us got to be sick together.
Going into this, there were a couple of things that concerned me. First, death. A close second was the ability to lose my sense of taste. My next-door neighbor got corona and lost his sense of taste for over a year. That sounds horrible. The last thing was concerns about “Brain Fog,” and how some people really struggle cognitively for a long time after they’ve had the virus. This worried me because I already muddle through with some degree of that anyway.
I did have an experience regarding my sense of taste that really frightened me: One evening, I was sitting in my chair watching TV. The brain fog parted for a minute and I realized I was watching a rerun of Bachelor in Paradise. I gasped and immediately was scared that I was losing my taste.
I quickly pulled up the guide to try to find something – anything – that was less vapid that I could watch. Luckily, there was Mr. Bean marathon on a different channel, so I was able to level up.
As for the other sense of taste, I tried lots of things to make sure that it was intact. Kettle corn? No problem. Ice cream? Fine. Starbursts? Great. But the thing that seemed good – even enhanced – was pizza. It is amazing to me that you can tap a few things into your phone and a person will bring a nice, hot, cheesy pizza to your house.
The worst part of the week was it exemplified one of the few disadvantages of being self-employed. When you work for some other companies, you call in sick and someone else does the work. In my case, I still had to stagger into my office, work for a couple hours, go back and take a nap for an hour, then repeat. Thankfully, I work form home, so the commute is about 15 seconds. The work/nap system got me through a couple really tough work days last week, and I might incorporate it more often in my regular work week.
I might add that it never ceases to amaze me how much mucous one head can produce. I’ll leave it at that.
I will say that it was not a very entertaining sickness. I had trouble sleeping, coughed a lot, body aches, etc. But the boredom was oppressive. I didn’t feel good enough to read, definitely couldn’t write, I didn’t trust myself on Social Media, and TV just bored me. I did a lot of sitting and staring.
I woke up Friday morning with no fever, and feeling a lot better. My lungs felt better, aches and pains were gone. I actually had a little energy. that lasted all of two hours. I have since realized that this post-COVID fatigue is a bear, and I’m gonna have to work around that for a while.
When I felt better, Friday, I decided to see what was up on Facebook. That happened to be the day the SCOTUS ruled on Roe v Wade. Not a great day to go back to Social Media. Reading the stupid things the extremists on both ends had to say made my head hurt worse than COVID.
I am always one to find silver linings in things. One of the best parts of having, and being in recovery from COVID is that you get to cancel anything and everything. You don’t have to go anywhere. It brought back happy memories of the quarantine days from a couple years ago.
I also plan on using the “Brain Fog” defense for as long as I can milk it. It is a real thing.
I am happy to report that I am almost completely recovered. I’m still tired, so very tired, but I am back in action. The fact that I was thinking about this post and actually got up and wrote it tells me that I’m on the mend. For me, it was a week in duration, with some lingering issues. I don’t know if I got through it relatively easy because I got three jabs, or that my flavor of virus was an easier one. I feel I got off lucky.
I know that this post might seem insensitive to some who have struggled with real, serious consequences of the corona virus. If that is the case, I apologize and blame it on brain fog.