I Have COVID

Saturday, March 13, 2021

I was sitting at my desk on Sunday night doing exactly nothing when I got an alert from my Apple Watch: My heart rate was inordinately high. Weird, but I felt fine, so I didn't pay too much attention to it. The next morning, though, I woke up to a whopping nineteen alerts that my heart rate had gotten too high while I slept

On Monday, my doctor told me to go to urgent care, but no local urgent care has an EKG machine. I tried to put off care for awhile because I was equal parts anxious & lazy, but on Tuesday, I headed to the ER at Fairview Hospital. 

I was admitted quickly, where I was given an EKG, hooked up to an IV, & given fluids. Nurses drew blood, did a chest X-ray, & conducted a standard COVID test via nasal swab. "Has anyone been in to see you?" the nurse asked a couple hours later. When I told her no one had, she sort of laughed: "Well, you have COVID."

Just like that: Well, you have COVID, this thing you've spent 363 days trying desperately not to contract! (I, of course, immediately started weeping, as is my custom.) The next day, Mike tested positive, too, though he doesn’t have many symptoms.

That means it's me who drew the short end of the stick, though my breathing has remained steady, so I can't complain too much. Still, it's been a rough five days, compounded by the sheer anxiety of having contracted the deadly virus that has consumed my thoughts for an entire year. 

I took the whole week off of work, which is something I don't think I've ever done. Even when I'm awake for long enough stretches of time to work, my brain has been cloudy, sometimes unable to conjure up simple information like... basic addition & the formation of sentences. (It's taken me three days to write this blog post.) My rapid heartbeat chilled out, but my other symptoms  body aches, a splitting headache, a sore throat, a cough, congestion, GI issues  persisted for most of the week. 

Oh, & did I mention that I've lost my sense of smell? Weirdly enough, I haven't lost my sense of taste, but taste without smell is a strange sensation. 

Thursday was my worst day, & then, surprisingly, Friday was my best, with some of my symptoms relenting a little. I've been getting through with a steady combo of Tylenol & Advil (uhh, did you know you can combine those two?! I didn't), except for the night I took Sudafed & didn't fall asleep until 5 a.m. I have otherwise been sleeping a lot, drifting off for what I expect to be a 30-minute nap that instead lasts three hours.

And still... I feel lucky. As bad as I've felt, this is truly a mild case. This is a bad flu, or a nasty cold. This is a bad week, not a deadly week. I can breathe & speak & complain. I will be OK. And I'll be immune for three months, which is plenty of time, I hope, to get vaccinated  which means, in some ways, that having COVID actually marks the end my COVID experience.

But it is truly terrifying to end up coming down with the same virus you've spent a year fearing, a year trying so desperately not to get. Because, yes, I have spent a full year truly terrified of this disease, of what would happen if I caught it, of whether I would live or die or something in between. 

I have spent the last year so cautious that people have laughed at me, have trolled me in anonymous Instagram accounts to tell me I am "on a high horse" about my safety protocols. I have not slipped up & indulged in any of the experiences that others have begun to enjoy, like shopping or eating at restaurants or, God forbid, travel. I'm not saying, "I don't know how I got this  I've been so careful!" when what I really mean is "But I wore a mask while I visited Disney World!" 

But I can't sit around wondering how I got it (I'm guessing it was from my singular in-office doctor's appointment). If Mike & I could get it, anyone can. Now, as we enter week two of our COVID illness (& our COVID-induced quarantine), I'm trying to look to the future  one day at a time & one dose of Tylenol & Advil at a time.

And on that note, I've gotta go lie back down, as bed & Netflix beckon. Stay safe out there, friends. 

1 comment:

Another Day said...

Oh Kate, I am so sorry to hear this! I've been reading your blog for a while so I know you have been extremely careful all year so this seems like really bad luck and quite unfair. Really hope you are through the worst now and start to feel better very soon.

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