Almost the moment we walked into our house on Sunday night after getting back from the Vegas wedding, a small cough erupted from the inner-most depths of my soul.
We both stopped whatever we were doing and looked at one another. "Oh God," Skylar whispered, like we had just heard a small rumble and saw the water in a glass shake right before the T-Rex shows up in Jurassic Park.
"I'm FINE." I said, more to myself than him. "Just clearing my throat."
It suddenly occurred to me that, you know what, I had been feeling more tired than usual in the past day or two. I just assumed that it was because I had traveled for work earlier in the week and had otherwise been working very long hours lately.
This is one of those things that's so easy to retcon that I feel like an absolute moron for not realizing something was wrong earlier.
The next morning I got a Covid test as early as I was able, "just to rule it out so we don't have to worry," I told Skylar. And then I worked from home for the day, waiting for my result, and trying very hard to ignore the fact that I was feeling crummier and crummier by the hour.
Skylar slept in the basement Monday night, "just to be safe."
"I'm sure this is all totally unnecessary," I told him. "I'm vaccinated and careful."
"You were in Texas last week at this time," he reminded me.
"Yeah, but only because I had to for work! I didn't want to go, you know!"
Skylar assured me that this wasn't an accusation—just a reminder that I flew in plane packed with other people to a place with high transmission rates, and that the vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing the spread.
The text came to my phone at 2:00 AM on Tuesday morning. I swear it vibrated more loudly than usual. "Click here for your test results," it said.
I was awake when the text arrived because the body aches and sore throat were keeping me up at this point.
I clicked the link and scanned the page and then saw the word in bold: POSITIVE.
It's strange—there's no reason I should have been surprised at this point. I had several of the symptoms. But it still knocked the wind out of me. Why does everything feel more dramatic at 2:00 AM?
I took a screenshot and texted it to Skylar downstairs. He responded with profanity.
It's an insult to injury that once you confirm you have Covid, and you're feeling like you've been run over by a truck already, you have to start contacting everyone you've seen in the past few days to let them know you may have ruined their life. It's an unrelenting walk of shame, in a way.
I started with the wedding guests (it's been six days now and no one from the wedding has tested positive, thank God). Then I emailed the HR person at my firm since I had been in the office following my Texas trip. "But I was only there for a few hours, I didn't have any symptoms then, and I didn't see or interact with anyone while I was there," I assured her, more trying to convince myself than anyone else.
"We'll have to hold class via Zoom this week and next," I informed the law students in my First Amendment class. "I'm so sorry."
When you get Covid despite being vaccinated they call it a "breakthrough case," like you've finally made it on Broadway. "It's my big moment," I've been thinking to myself all week. "My big irresponsible moment."
All the shame of getting sick is coming from myself. I can see that. "Stop apologizing—it could have happened to any of us," the wedding guests have been telling me.
By Tuesday afternoon I had piled every blanket in the house on my shivering body. That night I woke up in a sweat unlike anything I've ever before experienced. The entire surface of my bed was completely soaking wet, like someone had sprayed it down with a hose. My hair looked like I had dipped my head in a bath. I was shivering so violently that my neck still hurts, a few days later.
One thing I didn't realize about Covid is it really does make you not care about anything. It sort of sucks all of the joy out of everything. I hate having the flu, but usually when I do have it, I can bundle up, sip tea, and watch comfort movies. With Covid, I don't want to do anything. TV gives me a headache. Writing feels like I'm clawing my way up a mountain. Lying down hurts. Walking around sounds impossible.
I don't want to cook.
I don't want to listen to podcasts.
I don't want to talk to anyone.
This is not a cry for help. You don't need to send me any crisis management phone numbers. I know this will pass. I'm aware that I need to let myself rest and ride this out. I'm just recording how I feel right now so I can read this again later in case I ever decide to try to get Covid again.
So here I am—on day five or six, or something, of this. I recognize that this is a fraction of what it might have been if I wasn't already vaccinated. I've had no breathing problems. My cough is very minimal. I haven't lost taste or smell at all. Knock on wood. All in all, I'm lucky.
A miserable, exhausted, hopeless, lucky slob.
~It Just Gets Stranger