Tuesday, January 24, 2023

COVID Caught Me

It's been a while, I know. I'm a little surprised that I didn't return to blogging earlier in the COVID pandemic of 2020 - present because it seems like the sort of thing lots of folks did, but I didn't.

I did want to recount how, after nearly three years, SARS-COV-2, finally got me. We've been generally very careful during this time, though I confess that for most of the last year we've put less emphasis on masking in public unless we were somewhere indoors with a lot of people (which is very rare for us). But the current strain of the virus, XBB.1.5, an Omicron variant nicknamed "The Kraken," is known to be extremely contagious and is likely what I caught. And oh, boy, did it knock me out.

My symptoms started with a sniffle the Saturday after Nico returned to Clarkson University for his final semester. He had also had a sniffle for most of his last week at home, which we attributed to either cat dander allergies or possibly a mild head cold. We don't know for sure that I caught it from him, though.

By Sunday morning, I woke up feeling lousy. My head felt like it was packed with cotton balls, my nose was running, I was sneezing. I'd soon add a mild cough, a sore throat, and a wholloping fatigue that made it hard to do anything.

The symptom that concerned me the most, though, was my loss of taste and smell. I'm not sure whether that was why I also had zero appetite for several days or if that was its own symptom, but I barely ate anything for several days, and what I did eat - mostly soup - I essentially had to force down.

Fortunately, we've got some pretty good drugs now. In addition to being fully caught up on my COVID boosters, I was able to call my Dr. on Monday morning and get a prescription for Paxlovid. By noon, I had taken my first of 10 doses (three pills taken all at once, twice a day). My symptoms began to back off a bit later that day, and they tapered the rest of the week. By the weekend I mostly just had the sniffle and the fatigue, and that fatigue was pretty mild by the start of the following week.

I did have some swelling in my lymph nodes during the middle of that first week, which is something I don't remember experiencing before. It made the sides of my neck tender to the touch and made me look a little like I was about to sprout gills, but otherwise didn't affect me much.

I felt varying degrees of lousy for about 6 days, but it easily could have been much, much worse. I'm glad we have drugs like Paxlovid and I'm glad to be in a situation where I had easy access to it. I wish our healthcare system took as good care of everyone as it takes of me. By ten days after my initial symptoms, I still only have about 90% of my taste and smell back.

So that's my COVID survivor story. I'm probably not the very last person in America to get it (Nate still hasn't had it that we know of, and Nico's never tested positive for it, either), but I dodged that sucker for a long time with no regrets (except perhaps that it finally got me, haha).

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