|FlowFlex Test on July 15, 2022|
I'm hoping I'm at the end of my COVID-19 experience. I believe that I was exposed on July 2nd. That day I sat in an AT&T store with Nova until I got fed up with the poor customer service and drove to another, where getting a new phone set up took a little over an hour inside, we were the only ones wearing masks. That day we also went to Costco...I went in the store while Nova waited in the food court. That night I worked at the 411 show at the Casbah and as I've said, I was mostly masked but definitely had some unmasked conversations with a few friends on the patio. Any of these places could've been my exposure.
However, it is also possible my exposure was at the San Diego Zoo. It's the only place I go with regularity, I had gone on July 3rd and July 4th. I had gone nearly every day before July 2nd, except for July 1, when I went to the Safari Park with Darren. I could've been exposed there, but I doubt that. I was almost never near other people and wear a mask whenever people are close, and sometimes even when they're not.
Whatever the case may be, I got COVID-19. All my experiences and how I'm getting through it, after the jump.
I felt like shit on July 5th, thought it was a sinus infection, tore apart my room finding my health care plan information, realized I should take a test, and that first test was very brightly positive. Day Zero.
|First Test on July 5, 2022 - Day Zero|
I'm not writing today to recount every moment of my sickness since I pretty well documented most of that. I will say briefly that my symptoms were sinus pressure/earache, body aches, shortness of breath (one night my blood oxygen dropped to 92/93%), extreme fatigue. There were a couple days that I slept 12-16 hours, before and after testing positive, which maybe means I should've known sooner that something wasn't right. My eyes would get so heavy I couldn't read my phone or laptop. For a couple days, I was definitely dead to the world. After having talked to so many other people who have been sick, I'm grateful that I didn't get the deep cough, sore throat, and only once did I get a fever which was quickly resolved with Tylenol. Fatigue has remained, though not so extreme, but most of my symptoms resolved by Friday, July 8, my day 3.
|My lowest Blood Oximeter Reading on July 7, 2022|
I highly recommend watching these two videos from Dr. Mike, who I've been following since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Doctor Mike Hansen - BA.4 and BA.5 COVID Variant now DOMINANT - The 'worst variant' is here
- Doctor Mike Hansen - I got covid BA4 BA5 - Covid Update
I also will reiterate that there are secondary 'symptoms', too, just from isolation: depression, fear-- about what could happen, if you can get worse, if you'll get long COVID, and general confusion - am I doing everything possible to get better? who do I contact? should I get monoclonal antibodies or Paxlovid? There's deep loneliness in isolation, missing my pets and not being close to them or taking naps with them, and it is very depressing.
I guess I have to write the disclaimer that obviously I'm not a doctor, I just want to share some survival tactics should you come down with COVID-19. Or things to do or have on hand to be prepared before that happens. I also have to acknowledge my privilege: I have a supportive partner and family, I work from home, I have a studio apartment in which to isolate, and I am a supply hoarder, so I always have a full pantry of food, medicines, masks, paper goods.
|Test on July 7, 2022 - Day 2|
|Test on July 10, 2022 - Day 5|
|Test on July 13, 2022 - Day 8|
|Taken July 15, 2022 - Day 10|
What I always have on hand:
- Cold & Flu Mediine (I liked Alka Seltzer Plus, especially the nighttime one to get solid sleep when I needed it the most)
- Allergy Medicine (I use Allerfex near daily from Coscto, but have recently started using Flonase in some cases.)
- Supplements: Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Immune Defense gummies, etc.
- Masks (These were 100 for $100 for a long time. $14.99 for 50 is a steal from Costco)
- Fans & Air Purifiers For Every Room
- An abundance of home tests. If you haven't ordered your free ones, get them here.
- Digital Thermometer
- Pulse Oximeter (Critical to measure Blood Oxygen levels often)
- Say how you feel: When you downplay your symptoms, everyone else will, too. When I finally admitted to myself and others that I wasn't running at 100%, I got a lot more support that I desperately needed.
- Monitor your symptoms: Specifically dramatic changes in those symptoms, in case you need greater medical intervention. Take your temperature often, in peak symptoms, I alternated with Tylenol and Advil every 4 hours, check you blood oximeter. If you're breathing is strained or oxygen low, try sleeping with more pillows, almost sitting up, or lay prone on your stomach with pillows underneath to free pressure.
- Say what you need: This isn't a time to be coy. I felt like Darren had checked out when really he needed to be explicitly told what I needed. It's not a time to skip meals or feel like you're a burden for asking for food. Your job is to get healthy and you can only do that if you're eating and...
- Resting: In my normal life I sleep when it comes. I have sleep problems so I can be up for 20 or 24 or 28 hours straight and then zombie sleep to recover, but COVID made my naps normal, on several nights I've been in bed by 9 or 10pm. I've been up by 6 or 8am, or on one morning, 4:30am. When I've been tired, I have to just let myself sleep. Or at least try. Surprisingly, I've gotten used to the camping cot, but when Nova has been gone at UCSD or Darren at work, I have taken over my bed, with a fan, a purifier, and the A/C on and it has been glorious.
- Answers are hard to come by: Health advice is everywhere during this pandemic. But good advice is harder to decipher. I know people who have done the bare minimum to 'get back to normal' as quickly as possible, maybe still infectious but did their five days and were done. But we all have to do our best. I regret and also don't regret going to the San Diego Zoo on Thursday, my day 9. My test on Day 8 was nearly invisible. But then I tested on day 9, after returning and my positive line was faint, but less so than the day before. Then on Friday, my day 10, I switched test brands to FlowFlex and still had a clearly visible line, albeit faint still. People will say that tests will pick up 'dead virus' but from everything I've read, that is only true for PCR tests, not for home antigen and lateral flow tests, because they detect a different part of the virus. If it's visible, you still have live virus. Further, there is evidence that if you're vaxxed and boosted, you may test positive for longer, because the thinking is that the initial symptoms are the immediate immune response, then isolating the replicating virus in the sinuses to prevent it from getting into your lungs and other organs. You can read some threads about this here, or here. I regularly follow Dr. Topol, Dr. Hotez, Dr. Mina, among many, many others.
- Be vaxxed and boosted. I can't imagine how much worse this could've been without vaccination. I wish I had a second booster and will get another shot as soon as I'm eligible. And then I'll get a bivalent vaccination should those become available later this year. I trust science. I can "do my own research" and barely tap the surface of the science out there.
|FlowFlex Test, Day 12|
I decided to take a test this morning for a number of reasons. I was feeling good but the head stuff is hard to know if the weather and allergies and pollen are getting to me or if this thing is just lingering. But also Darren is working all day so I have the mom duty of checking Nova back in at UCSD. I believe it's just a parking lot drop off and then waiting for her to test on site before I can leave, but in case I have to interact with any of the advisors, I wanted to know my status. And last, because since I'll be driving all the way to La Jolla again, it seemed fitting to stop by the Cove since I haven't seen the sea lions in ages, and again, wanted to know my personal status before going out into the world.