I recently returned home from a quick trip to California to celebrate my brother’s life. It was an intensely emotionally trip. I will share some of what the trip was like and what I learned in future posts. It was wonderful to come home. Even though I came home with Covid.
On my last full day in California, I noticed a slight tickle in my throat. The day before had been about three years of stress wrapped up in a single 24-hour period, so I did not think too much about it. After all, I had navigated some tricky and perilous emotional ground in the preceding two days. It made sense that I would not feel my best. No one could blame me for being physically depleted. I had been vaccinated and boosted twice. I masked during my flight to California. The pandemic has been going on for two and a half years and, although nearly everyone I know has had the disease in at least one of its iterations, I have managed to avoid contagion. I’ve had fairly strong reactions to each of my injections- implying my body was building some pretty kick-ass antibodies. My mindset was firmly set on “I’m freakishly immune to Covid.”
However, by the time I was on the plane coming home, I had a crisis of confidence. It was getting harder not to cough. My throat was officially sore. I wondered if I perhaps had strep, although I had a sneaking suspicion that the Covid germs had finally found a home in me. In addition to the mask, I ate cough drops like peanuts and kept my face as far away from my neighbors as possible. When I finally arrived at my front door, I fell into bed but could not sleep well because the pain in my throat was making me too uncomfortable. Also, it is difficult to cough without waking oneself up.
The next morning, I went to the store, fully masked and holding my breath whenever I saw anyone else. I bought a home Covid test. I took the test and, sure enough, two lines clearly appeared. I had Covid.
Once I accepted this reality, I told Max and suggested we avoid being in the same room for a week or so. I went back to bed and slept most of the day. I felt pretty crummy for two or three days. I isolated for the five days the CDC recommended. I wore a mask in the house if Max wandered anywhere into my line of infection. On the sixth day, I was feeling better. I was still coughing as if I might dislodge a lung and I still tired quite easily, but I definitely felt worlds better. I took another Covid test. Demoralizingly, it was still positive. I read that it is not unusual for Covid tests to have positive results for two weeks and that some people have tested positive for months after having no symptoms, so testing positive on Day Six is not a catastrophe. Still, I felt disappointed and defeated. In retrospect, the extent of my emotional reaction was probably good evidence that my body still had not quite cleared the virus.
I was anxious to get out of Covid jail, so I did make a couple of trips into the world. I had great plans, but found I was getting too tired too quickly to really do anything particularly noteworthy anywho. We went to Starbucks, with my mask tightly fastened across my face. We were gone from home less than an hour. When I got home, I laid down for 30 minutes before I felt recuperated enough to dish out some ice cream. That was another thing- for about a week, I only ate ice cream, sugar free chocolate pudding, and peanut butter. That might have had something to do with the tiredness, too.
It helped that, by some miracle, I seem to have avoided infecting any of my loved ones. My sister-in-law and step niece, with whom I spent most of my optimal contagious time, have repeatedly tested negative. My friend and her husband, whose home I shared my last day in California, have also tested negative. Max tested and he is negative as well. Knowing that I am not responsible for anyone else getting sick (except perhaps my seatmates on the plane ride back from California- I’m so sorry!) improves my emotional and, therefore, physical health, as well.
As I write this, I am on Day 9. I feel much better. No more sore throat. No more dizziness or headache. No more runny nose. I am still coughing a little bit, but I think my lungs are going to stay within my thoracic cavity. The biggest thing that seems to linger is that my “hurry button” seems to be on the fritz. I seem to be completely incapable of propelling myself through the day with any sort of momentum. I still get tired easily, but now I have a little more endurance and have been able to get some exercise. The problem is launching. I seem to be living in fits and starts. It takes a lot for me to get going and my transmission has no gear except “Covid pace.” It is getting better, though, and I am sure that I will improve.
I may even get brave enough to face another Covid test on September 2, when I will hit the two-week mark. I know I am recovering. I know I am likely no longer contagious. Still, it would be heartening to see only one red line on the little plastic test cassette!
Addendum: I couldn’t wait! I tested again on 8/28. I was negative! Such a liberating feeling….
Have you had Covid? What was it like for you? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a healthy day!