Hey world, I’m back.
When I say back—I mean it; I’m coming up from a low and dark place. On October 2, I was exposed to the Coronavirus, and though I’m fully vaccinated, it broke through and I tested positive on October 8. It has been a wild few weeks.
Though I had what is considered a mild case, COVID kicked my ass.
Let’s talk about it.
Sooooooooooo, Chad and I were exposed while we were at a wedding for one of our close friends. It could’ve been additional people, but it was confirmed that the bridesmaid Chad walked down the aisle with tested positive for COVID. So it’s most likely that I got it from that contact; my best guess is that I touched my eyes to take out my contacts and wasn’t diligent or careful enough with that process. That’s just my guess though! I easily could’ve gotten it when I bought champagne at the liquor store without a mask. Since being vaccinated, I haven’t been wearing my mask in places that don’t require it.
In the first few days after contact, things were normal, happy, and fine. On Thursday, I started feeling symptoms. Suddenly, I felt congested and very, very tired. I felt disoriented and unfocused, especially when I was driving. Something felt incredibly off.
Though I was hoping for a cold after being around more people than I had been for several years, my phone notified me on Thursday night that I had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID. At the same time, Chad was told by the groom about the bridesmaid. I immediately scheduled COVID testing for Chad and I for the next morning.
Chad and I went to a free testing site on Monday morning in Glenwood Springs. Here, it was incredibly easy—we scheduled our appointment ahead of time online, pulled up in our car, were handed vials, filled them up with our saliva, handed them back, and drove off. It took all of 5 minutes and we never had to leave our car.
At that point, Chad felt tired and had a headache. My symptoms started to get worse by the minute. I was notified by text the next evening that I tested positive for COVID, and they sent along directions to report my status to the state and county. I also confirmed my results to my phone, so that it could alert others with COVID exposure notices.
Chad later heard back, after about 48 hours, that he tested negative for COVID. At that point we’d just assumed that he also had whatever I had, and hadn’t been isolating away from each other. We decided at that point to be a little more careful—i.e. not kissing, being near each other’s faces, and being careful with sanitation.
My day to day
I started to decline pretty quickly, and then plateaued for the majority of my 10 days of symptoms. My taste and smell were the first to go, and I was completely congested. My energy took the biggest hit, and I decided to stay in a resting state for the duration of my isolation.
On day three or four (it all blends together), I hit my low point when I also suffered stomach issues. I totally lost my appetite, and then had diarrhea that lasted for two days. I felt warm but never quite got to a fever, thankfully. At some points I had stabbing pains in my abdomen and couldn’t control my bladder.
Immediately after feeling symptoms, I placed an order to my grocery store for supplies—soup, broth, electrolytes, crackers, bread, drugs. I began to follow a very strict hydration and medication schedule:
- After waking up, immediately take a Dayquil and a decongestant
- Drink black coffee
- Drink water
- Drink orange juice
- Drink broth
- Drink water
- Drink Emergen-C
- Take Tylenol
- Drink water
- Eat soup
- Drink Gatorade
- Make tea
- Make Theraflu tea
- Drink Water
- Eat crackers
- Eat more soup
- Drink Pedialyte
- Take a nasal spray
- Take Nyquil
Repeat. Over and over and over.
After the initial three or four days, my symptoms remained exactly the same, in a mild state. I’d wake up each day hopeful to have some improvement, but it was frustratingly monotonous. No, still couldn’t smell. No, still couldn’t taste. No, my breathing was not clear of congestion and I was still stuffy. My appetite was mostly non-existent until the last two days, and then I was hungry for food I couldn’t taste.
I catered my days around my hydration schedule, which gave me a routine. I’d wake up late, usually sleeping around 12 hours, and Chad would bring my meds and coffee to me in bed. I’d surf my phone until it was time to drink broth, and then I’d migrate to the couch for the remainder of the day.
I watched a lot of television. While Chad worked, I watched an entire season of the Bachelor (Ben’s, on Hulu) and the Bachelorette (Jojo’s, also on Hulu) (both are incredible, by the way), and a few movies. When he finished to rest, he joined me on the couch and we cruised through several seasons of various shows, and I even convinced him to watch the Titanic with me, after nearly 10 years.
The metal game
First things first, I was embarrassed. I don’t think I can adequately express exactly how defeated I felt to have gotten COVID. This late in the game? When fully vaccinated? As a person who very rarely leaves their house (outside of softball season, of course)? I had an endless pit in my stomach, sad and frustrated and confused and worried. But mostly, embarrassed for not being more careful, for going to a softball game when I wasn’t aware I was exposed, for being overconfident, for becoming complacent too soon.
After that initial embarrassment and in the earlier days, I took care of myself without asking for any kind of help. If I needed meds, I went to find them myself. If I was feeling sad, I kept it to myself, really isolating and retreating into a mix of complicated feelings. I felt a little alone in this, and like it was an uphill battle I was facing on my own. It was hard and scary.
I struggled with my mental health as I coped with both gratitude and saltiness that Chad didn’t have COVID. I was thankful for that, but also a little bitter. Why me? Why only me? I felt misunderstood and lonely. I missed intimacy and conversation. I also felt as though I was completely taking care of myself, which wasn’t a fun feeling as I slipped deeper into sickness. I was also trying to stay away from Wally as much as possible, to ensure his safety. (Though we managed to cuddle and I avoided his face, thankkkkkkk goodness.) I couldn’t help but crave everything that I was missing. Food, mostly. But the freedom to go outside, the memories of places out of reach. The carefree nature of even a week previously.
We had to miss a wedding for one of Chad’s college classmates, and I was devastated. I so badly anted to dress up and have a night of fun, celebrating our friends in a beautiful setting. That was a huge bummer.
I cried a lot. This didn’t seem to help my congestion.
Right as I hit my lowest health point, I also hit my lowest mental point. Chad and I got into an argument where I was able to voice my concerns. It wasn’t a big deal, but it wiped me out as though I had run an entire marathon. I sunk into the couch afterward and could barely move—it took tremendous effort to do anything, from speaking to breathing (it didn’t hurt, but it was hard). I couldn’t lift my phone, or my damn Pedialyte cup. It literally felt as though I was incapacitated.
Noticing I was struggling, Chad really stepped in and up at that point, even helping to hold my straw as I sipped. He helped to feed me, had to physically help me up off the couch to retire to bed. That night I was able to slowly recover with some food (that I couldn’t taste, of course) and rest. From that time on, Chad helped me for everything, from heating up broth to digging out meds from their foil containers. Sometimes I asked, but usually he knew when to fill up my water bottle or heat up the kettle or mix some powdered electrolytes.
With the extra help, I was still lonely, but I felt more secure. It felt survivable. I thought more along the lines of, “if this is as bad as it gets, I’ll be okay. I can do this.” And I did! I also promised myself to indulge on all the treats when my taste returned, to satisfy all of the cravings I took for granted.
A huge shout out goes to all the people who checked up on me, especially my Mom. She texted me every day to see if I made any progress, and I really appreciate that. I decided to post on my Instagram stories about what I was going through, and a lot of people replied to wish me well. It honestly helped to get so much feedback digitally while I was feeling very isolated in reality.
Please get your Fauchi Ouchie
If there’s anything anyone takes from this: please, please get vaccinated.
I can only imagine how this process could’ve looked if I didn’t have the shot. It could’ve gotten ugly. I thank god for a mild case that I could get over without hospitalization and worse. I will definitely be getting my booster shot and recommend that for anyone else who can.
Take this shit seriously. It sucks.
As of now, my taste has returned to about 60% and my smell’s at about 20%. I can finally get a sense of most flavors and I can officially say that I am 100% over chicken noodle soup. Throughout this whole time, I could really only feel textures, and I’m not sure I’ll ever think of chicken as anything other than mushy again.
On day 14 (since experiencing symptoms), I’m finally feeling better. There’s improvement across the board, and I finally feel less congested. Yesterday I could blow my nose and get results, and today I don’t even have to. I’ve been drug (medicine) free for two days. I did some work today, and I’ve reduced my sleeping hours to a more normal amount.
Chad’s been good and fine and healthy this whole time, except a few headaches here and there. He might’ve had a quick stomach bug in there at some point, but he thankfully remained in good shape.
I’ve felt inspired and lazy and hungry and all the feelings other than miserable. I’ve done a little retail therapy (shhhh), and even mapped out a dream board of new places to live one day (does anyone know anything about Cleveland?). It snowed, and I admired the flakes from my window. I did my hair and put on my nicest pair of sweatpants. I’m trying to convince Chad to go on an expensive trip to Jamaica. But first, we need to settle our last-minute Halloween costumes.
Pending one last negative test, I’ll be free to go out and about again. Until then, the black coffee I’ve been pounding like water might need a little creamer.
Chad and I went for a brief car ride and it was amazing to feel brisk fall air once again. I got a kiss, and all is right in the world.
Update: the test came back. I’m negative! Hallelujah.