Oh, hello COVID.
Have you experienced COVID personally? As in - tested positive?
The day was August 1st. The first day of a new month and a Monday at that. I always thought that if I were ever indeed inflicted with COVID-19 that I would write about it. This virus has such a history of variability in symptoms and severity. None of us know what it is going to be like to endure this virus, so I wanted to document my first hand lived experience.
Three out of five of my family members tested positive either on August 1st or one of the last few days of July. On Friday, July 29th I awoke later than normal with a piercing headache. I had been up late the night before at a candle selling event, so I thought it probably had to do with that or the fact that I had my period. It was a day that I didn't really have time to be sick because I needed to drive over 4 hours to the International Peace Gardens to pick up my daughter from International Music Camp. The plan was that my husband and our sons would drive up Friday afternoon, camp and then be there Saturday morning to help move her out of the dorms and attend her concert in the afternoon. Well, it didn't exactly go according to plan. I spent Friday morning getting our camping gear and meals ready to go and in the late morning my husband announced that he didn't think he felt well enough to go with us. He tested himself and he was positive. Other than the headache, I did not have symptoms and frankly didn't think it was worth testing myself because someone needed to pick up my daughter, sick or not. I drove that day with my boys and we met my parents at the Peace Gardens. My headache had somewhat dissipated, but returned as soon as I had laid my head down in the tent that night. Needless to say, I did not sleep.
When we returned home late Saturday night we tested ourselves. Everyone was negative. I felt relieved, but not convinced that we were out of the woods. One of my sons was complaining of a sore throat. On Sunday, that son stayed in his room all day and with my husband isolated in a basement bedroom, I served their meals to them in their rooms and continued with my own activities that day. Monday morning - August 1st, I retested those of us with symptoms (myself and son) and we were both positive. Since that time we isolated ourselves from my daughter and other son who had remained symptom free. The healthy two took it upon themselves to do all of the cooking, delivering meals to those of us that were isolated, and did all of the cleaning up. I am quite grateful for their love and support. What follows is the journal that I kept while in isolation. My biggest take away from this experience is that everyone experiences this virus differently and uniquely. Please don't assume that since COVID-19 has been around for years now and most of us have been vaccinated and boosted that we won't feel ill - even if the newest variant is "mild". I never once felt like I had to be hospitalized, but it also didn't feel good when people told me that my symptoms should be mild. It just felt invalidating. Did that mean I was weak for feeling what I did? That is why I wrote this. Whatever you experience is real and don't feel less about whether you feel crummy or feel nothing at all. You have no control over how you will experience this virus and frankly, any virus for that matter. Don't shy away from what it is you are experiencing and don't alter what you share about your experience for someone else's comfort.
August 1st: I can hear Ava and Escher chatter a bit as they cook and then seem to eat their own meals in silence. The house is quiet and we communicate through texts and muffled thank you's behind closed doors. I am resigned to the fact that it is Monday and for this entire week I will be opting out of my regular routine. Ben can continue to work remotely from the bedroom downstairs , but Rowan and I will not be partaking in our scheduled events this week. It will certainly be a long week, but if this was going to happen and odds seemed quite likely that it would - better now than any other time. Our next summer trip is scheduled for next week. We should all feel spectacular with a new lease on life by then - right?! Indeed I am also thankful that this did not happen during the school year. I know there is risk of it happening again, but well - I hope it doesn't.
I'm in bed after taking a hot bath and sending out texts to the yoga studios I teach at to let them know I will not be teaching this week. It is here. In me. It feels foreign, yet similar to a typical flu. Ava picked up Nyquil, Gatorade, and cough drops for us. I can hear the clanging of dishes being cleaned. I am going to close my eyes like my cat sleeping at my feet since I tested this morning. Animals. Does he know that I am ill and that his soft noises - breathing, purring - are comforting as I surrender to the fact that my ambition to move is infinitesimal?
The brain hurts. I don't know if I've ever felt this in my head before. I feel like my mind has been hijacked. Thoughts don't fully form, but I also don't seem to care. I am not frustrated by this, just noticing and aware of these differences. I had a massage scheduled for this week that I had to cancel. I'll need one more than ever after this. My neck feels like a field of knots and my joints ache - dry and deficient of something.
There are cooking noises again in the middle of the afternoon. Ava is cooking us dinner before she heads to work for the evening and Escher has been given instructions to warm it up for us invalids when we start moaning about food rations.