Last week my wife substitute-teached, and got sick. This is not atypical–school starts and those places are bedlams for viruses. She was very ill, having to sleep downstairs sitting upright. But she has a piss-poor immune system so she’s sick a lot.
On Friday night, as I was exercising, I felt dry in the nose and a little shaky in the muscles. I thought, yeah, I think she gave me her disease. Saturday I woke up and my body was devoid of energy. Couldn’t do anything, had no motivation to do anything. Just wanted to lay down and do nothing. So I did.
Sunday I felt 50% better, but wasn’t running any marathons. That day, my wife told me her parents (who she had spent last Wednesday with) said they tested positive for covid. Meaning she had it. Meaning I had it. That’s what I was experiencing. I’d finally gotten the disease we had all been so careful to avoid for the past two years.
I had to overcome my sense of denial. It could have been just a bad head cold–that’s what it felt like. As I understood it, the big difference between covid and something else like flu or a cold was the sense of shortness of breath. Feeling like you’d run a mile, even though you’d just taken the stairs. I didn’t have that at all. What I did have was everything else–feeling feverish but being chilled, a hacky phlegmy cough, muscle aches (this house has too many stairs), headache due to sinus pressure, stuffy nose. Nothing to distinguish it from illnesses I’ve had before.
But I do not fuck around with global pandemics. My wife told me there was a medication (paxlovid) available for people who showed symptoms within a certain window that would help prevent long covid. So I went to the doctor Monday morning and got confirmed that I was covid positive. It’s now Tuesday and I’m feeling more normal, but still have a runny nose and am coughing. I’m supposed to quarantine for five days, so no Taco Bell runs for lunch this week. Doesn’t matter, I can’t taste anything anyway.
What I’m most worried about is losing any aspect of my sense of smell or taste. I have few things that satisfy my indulgence factor (I don’t smoke, do drugs, and I have to cut back on alcohol because of my weight). So one of the only good (selfish) things I’ve got in my life is eating. I’m always looking for good food. But if I lose my ability to taste anything, I think that might be it for me. I’m going on 24 hours now without a sense of taste, but I’ve had that before with head colds. But with covid, there’s a possibility it could be permanent or long-term. I just don’t think I could take that. There’s a certain sense of despair when you can’t use your “fun” sense.
In actuality, it was our kids that had covid and gave it to us (I still blame the school for being a hotbed of disease–this happens every September and no one seems to realize it). They just had colds that breezed through them in a week’s time and that was it. Meanwhile, this disease laid their parents flat. I think they resented us that we were so invalid we couldn’t do anything with them. They’re teenagers so we’re still in the process of teaching them empathy and that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
I can still write. I’m a little fuzzy-headed when it comes to some work things–mostly concentration on logic and problem-solving. But I’ve been writing, mostly because I’ve got deadlines to consider. And the words still come. So I don’t think I’m going to get that long covid brain fog that some people seem to get. Or at least it’ll clear up once my systems clear up. I don’t think any permanent damage has been done to my organs, thanks to the vaccine.