122. Oh, hello. I’ve been expecting you

Saturday December 26 2020

Marks the spot. This appeared over my house. #truestory

No more waiting to be marked. My spiral has closed.

Since March I’ve avoided large gatherings, worn a face mask in public, washed my hands and used copious amounts of hand sanitizer, along with my new prescription of eczema meds because I have dainty lady hands. With the rare exception, I only left the house to go to work and the grocery. I’ve only seen my mom once, my son twice, and my sister not at all.

It didn’t matter.

The coronavirus has arrived to darken my doorway and I can finally exchange the anxiety of awaiting my turn for the worry of how bad is this going to be.

My husband tested positive for COVID-19 on December 4 after being exposed to a colleague with symptoms. We both went into full quarantine as per protocol, but also it was the responsible thing to do, because adulting.

I tested negative for COVID-19 on December 7, a confirmation that I was unlikely a vector of disease during my most recent week in the office. Everyone there also subsequently tested with negative results, a relief to all of us.

Then a few days later, I woke with a sore throat and tight chest. Great. Is this it? Has it started? It’s not that bad, really, so maybe my anxiety-riddled self is just looking for something that isn’t there. But what if it is COVID-19 and things get really bad where I can’t breathe and I have a heart attack that I keep reading about that happens to women of a certain age and I don’t die but end up in the hospital on a respirator for weeks at a time and at least I won’t have to cook dinner every day and both the dishwasher and I finally get a break?

I need to get control of something before the anxiety spiral destroys my already shady sense of well-being. So I shave my legs as a precaution in case I have to go the hospital and wear one of those short gowns. It’s all I’ve got, but it does calm my nerves a notch.

The sore throat morphs into a fever, followed by muscle aches. Still not that bad and I’m able to work from home with the projects the office sends to me. On December 15, I lose my senses of taste and smell, the hallmark ‘rona symptom. Two days later, the hammer drops and I’m down. Everything hurts and just walking through the house takes my breath away. The fatigue is profound. Taking a shower requires a recovery period to pull myself together again.

I don’t get so bad that I need medical care, so I suppose this is considered a mild case. My husband’s symptoms didn’t get to the level of mine and this frustrates me because I’ve read somewhere that red wine is a healthy choice, so I should have been the one with the lesser plethora of symptoms. This is why I have trust issues.

When I started to feel better, I consulted my doctor about continued quarantine and how I could get back to the office to maintain my situation of gainful employment. He sent me off to another test on December 22, the results of which I received today to confirm I did indeed have COVID-19. Well, good to know I wasn’t just making this up, but it doesn’t help to get me out of my sequestered state.

The Parking Spot of Shame. Shall we pin the letter C to my car’s grill so everyone knows?

Look, let’s be honest here. I could work from home every day of my life until I retire or die or fall into unexpected independent wealth. It’s just not a realistic position to maintain job-wise and I suppose at some point I need to be around people again to avoid going fully feral. (The dogs and I have been conducting burping competitions and I’m just killing it. #betteroutthanin)

So I’ll need to maintain the agile office environment for a few more days, then will see if I can pass the next test with a negative result. Which sounds backwards, but isn’t.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my new state of bolstered antibodies doing the Saturday Night Fever strut through my body, which are estimated to maintain their street cred for roughly another six months.

Or until the new mutated strain of COVID-19 in the UK reaches the states. Because this is still 2020.


Updated Jan 1 2021

As I developed symptoms, I turned to Dr. Google to see what other people had experienced. I offer this timeline for anyone else who is interested in comparing their journey. My case was mild and I did not need to be hospitalized.

  • Quarantine Day 1: Confirmed extended exposure to a COVID-19 Positive person. Ten day quarantine begins as mandated by the CDC.

  • Q Day 4: I take a PCR COVID-19 test. Result is Negative.

  • Q Day 6: Six days after exposure, I have the first symptoms of sore throat, tight chest, and swollen glands.

  • Q Day 8: Muscle and joint aches, low grade fever.

  • Q Day 9: Same symptoms continue. Food tastes weird, metallic.

  • Q Day 12: Lose sense of taste and smell; a sudden change happening sometime between lunch and dinner.

  • Q Day 13: Eight days since first symptoms. Next three days (Symptom Days 8 through 10) are the worst with 101F fever and increased muscle and joint pain. Profound fatigue. Sore throat has resolved.

  • Q Day 16: All symptoms have lessened, but still cannot taste or smell anything.

  • Q Day 19: All symptoms resolved, except for fatigue and dizziness. I get out of breath easily. Fever is gone, as well as muscle aches. I’ve regained taste and smell.

    I take a second PCR COVID-19 test as prescribed by my doctor. Results are Positive for coronavirus.

  • Q Day 29: Fatigue and dizziness continue, but are lessened. Third COVID-19 test is Negative. My original ten-day quarantine ends on Day 29.

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