Summer

Mmmm, summer. You know what I love about summer and hot, hot days? Not having to wear so many clothes. Since the kids moved out I can wear even less! I love lounging around in only a camisole and underwear. Clothes are too restrictive. I also love open windows, fans, and popsicles. I also love the pool.

I have been eating a lot of popsicles and freezer pops this year because I had a sore throat for 24 days. How is my battle with SARS-CoV-2? It’s like a car model now. I drive a 2016 Subaru Forester and this summer I’ve been fighting the 2022 Omicron BA.5. Of course I can’t know for sure that’s the variant I wound up with, but my symptoms have been consistent with what’s being reported.

I’m doing better. Nine days after testing positive and four days after finishing Paxlovid, I tested negative. My boss told me to go ahead and work from home for a few more days, so I stayed home and tested negative again on Wednesday. I worked in the office Thursday and Friday. It went well; I still had some sinus congestion, sort of a hoarse voice, and had to clear my throat a lot. I was still sneezing and coughing a little, but nothing major. On Thursday night I did have a coughing fit because I had a lot of crap in my lungs.

Then Saturday morning something strange happened. I woke up with more sinus congestion and a sore throat. I was also very tired. It was 15 days out from testing positive, 10 days out from finishing Paxlovid, and I took another test and it was negative so I’d been clear of the virus for almost a week. I am reading some anecdotal accounts of people on Reddit having good days and bad days. They report feeling fine for a while, then get symptoms again. Rinse, repeat. This apparently goes on for weeks. The sore throat is strange. It doesn’t feel like the one I had before that was probably strep. It feels more like the Covid sore throat that actually feels as if it’s not in the throat itself, but either salivary glands or lymph nodes in the neck. My thyroid was sore to the touch for a couple of days, too. When I touched it, it felt bruised. So who the fuck knows what’s going on. Covid is not a cold or the flu. It’s a vascular disease with respiratory symptoms. So, it causes inflammation and my throat/neck/whatever is inflamed off-and-on. Also, everyone has a unique experience with this virus because there are so many variables– age, comorbidities, and in my case, autoimmune issues. My immune system is quite promiscuous; it’ll fuck anything that moves.

I’m off work next week! I’m using 40 hours of PTO and taking the entire week off. I haven’t done that since Christmas. I was planning on camping near Mt. Baker and doing lots of hiking, but I cancelled my campsite reservation. 🙁 I might have been able to handle it, but I feel like I need to get more rest. It would have meant packing up all my camping gear and getting the condo and cats ready for me to be away; driving for five hours; setting up camp; camping, hiking, and all the work that comes with that; tearing down camp and packing it all up; driving for another five hours, and unpacking and cleaning everything up. I’d also come home to a full litter box. The hikes would have been high altitude hikes and as of right now, I don’t know if I’m even ready to start walking to work again. I plan on taking walks next week and having them get progressively longer so I can see if I’m able to walk to work again. This virus really did a number on my lungs.

Uh, in other news… that guy that I’d been texting with for a few weeks back in April? The one I mentioned in my last post that apologized for “the way things happened” (him ghosting me after I told him I didn’t want a pen pal)? Much to my surprise, he responded. He has a very different texting style than I’m used to. Most people will send short messages in real time if they’re available. If they’re not, you might not hear from them for a few hours or even a day or two, but they’ll still send something short. This guy seems to only text about once a week and when he does, it’s a wall o’ text like I do. So our texting styles are very similar in that we both write paragraphs upon paragraphs, but he treats it more like email. He even refers to it as “writing.” He said, “I was going to write earlier…”

He says he still wants to meet me and may be able to sometime “in the next few weeks.” I’m not holding my breath. On one hand, the reason I drive men away is because I don’t trust them. On the other hand, I do not think I can trust this guy to follow through. So I texted him back and responded to what he’d told me is going on in his life (it’s a lot). Then I told him what’s going on in my life, and left it at that. I’m going to stop bringing up meeting, stop asking him personal questions, and stop pushing him. I am, after all, doing just fine without him. I’m doing just fine without any man in my life. However, I must admit that being so fucking sick for an entire month while being single and living alone sucked major ass. Shit still needed to be done around here.

Yesterday I spent a few hours with my youngest son at his apartment. He ordered lunch via Door Dash and I got a chicken salad. It was so nice to spend some quality time with him. 🙂 It was totally random, too. I texted him to let him know I had extra garage keys made for him and he invited me over for lunch. Keys have been on the forefront of my mind because a) with Covid, who knows when my son might need to get in here and get my will out the safe, and b) last Sunday I locked myself out of the condo and it was $222 to have a locksmith come out here and get me back in.

Today I did jack shit. After my morning chores (make my bed, brush my hair and teeth, put away clean dishes, feed/water the cats/birds and clean the litter box) I replaced the screws in the top hinge of my bedroom door where they go into the jamb. I have a solid core door which is heavier than a hollow door. Because I deal with door data for a living, I know that bedrooms typically have solid core doors because they offer some sound proofing. Last year I had to replace the screws in the hinge that go into the door with longer ones because that fucking hinge keeps coming loose. When it does, the door falls a little and it doesn’t close. So I went to Ace Hardware (again) and got some long-ass fucking screws (again). I put some wood glue and a match stick in each hole for good measure before putting in the long screws. It should hold for good now. Then I cooked breakfast, drank my coffee and read the news, and vacuumed the living room. By noon I was out by the pool in my zero gravity chair listening to a Scientific American national parks nature walk podcast (this one). That series is utterly delightful and I plan on listening to the entire thing during my week off. Then I swam, laid in the sun, swam again, took a nap in the chair, swam again, then came back inside around 3:00. I was going to read or write, but felt like I needed to just get outside and get some sun. Sometimes I feel like I need protein; sometimes it’s sleep, and other times it’s sun. I’m very in tune with my body and listen to it when it tells me what it needs. Today that was sun.

Right now it’s a Benadryl washed down with an amaretto sour and a Manhattan. Yeah, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. I think Nyquil might be habit-forming. I hadn’t taken any all week and could not sleep. I took some last night, and slept. Sigh.

During my week off there are a few things I want to accomplish outside of weekly chores:

  • Take progressively longer walks; at least one every other day
  • Finish reading The Liar’s Club because if I’m going to write a memoir, I should read at least one
  • Complete the outline for my own memoir
  • Spend a lot of time outside, even if it’s in my zero gravity chair reading by the pool or out on the lawn somewhere
  • Practice playing my ukulele and work on learning a new song
  • Practice playing my guitar and work on learning a new song
  • Record a guitar progress video and upload it to YouTube

When I do go back to work on the 15th I’ll have plenty to keep me busy. I began a major project and have another lined up. There is no shortage of work to do and I love it.

My pay raise of 8.4% was such a relief. I was able to increase my grocery budget as well as how much I put into savings every month. I also increased the estimated amount my HOA fees will go up next year in case it’s a lot again. I should increase the amount I contribute to my 401(k), but right now my rate of return is -8% so I’m not in a big hurry to add more money I’ll lose. I should also have payroll take out extra for taxes, but I think for now I’ll rely on savings to pay what I owe next year. I want to see how 2023 is going to pan out first since prices of everything usually go up during Q1.

Something I do want to do soon– get another tattoo. I have my heart set on getting a tattoo of a Steller’s Jay with the name “Max” somewhere next to it. I haven’t decided what it will look like, where it will be, or how big it will be. I’m still in the thinking and looking at examples online phase. I typically think on tattoos for about two years before I get them. I just know that I want my buddy Max to be on me somewhere. I love that bird so much. ❤

It’s way past my bedtime, but it’s so good to finally be feeling better and also a little bit tipsy! 😀 I need some food.

Week 30 of 2022

That’s all I have for a title today.

Things have been rather uneventful around here. I’m just trying to keep my head above water, both literally and metaphorically. I’ve developed a Covid recovery strategy, and it seems to work fine although every morning I still feel like I was waterboarded all night.

I think I forgot to mention my air conditioner. I have a new one! None of the condos in my complex have any ducting because they were built in 1979 and back then, the climate here in northwest Oregon was more temperate. As a result, we’re on our own here as far as heating and cooling. We all have wood-burning fireplaces, although those provide more ambiance than heat. Some units have baseboard heating, and some have Cadet wall heaters. I have the Cadet wall heaters and just replaced all of them back in December. Cooling isn’t too much of an issue in my unit because I have no east-west facing windows. I’m also under trees and have units on either side of me, so I’m well insulated– at least downstairs. I do have a one-story unit next to my west side, so upstairs gets toasty, especially in the guest room. The guest room is front-facing, so per HOA rules, I can’t have a window unit in there. Most residents here have portable AC units for those front-facing rooms and that’s what my son and his girlfriend had, but they bought theirs and took it with them when they moved out. The guest room doesn’t really get used anyway, so it’s not a big deal for now. My bedroom, which is also upstairs but faces the back of the building, is the one room that has an air conditioner installed. It’s a window unit, but it’s installed into the wall next to the window. Because the whole setup is upstairs and has trim and caulking around it, replacing it isn’t easy (and they weigh 81 pounds). So I called Mr. Handyman and they agreed to replace it. All I had to do was order one and have it delivered. Now, $837 later, I have a brand new AC unit in my bedroom. It’s been really nice since I’ve been stuck at home due to Covid.

Work has been great. Despite my string of illnesses and being sick for most of this month, I have only missed two days. They allow me to work from home while sick and my boss has been very supportive and responsive. We also got $500 bonuses about a month ago, so that offset most of the cost of my new AC. I had my annual performance review and it was even better than the last. I’ve been with the company for nine years now, and I got an 8.4% pay raise! That puts me at a nice even $30/hour. (Side note: Yes, I know I could make almost twice that at a tech company. However, I love my job and the company I work for, love my team and the respect I get, and I get good benefits and it’s 1.5 miles away from home. In IT it’s also hard to find permanent, full time employment. Because I am single and have a mortgage to pay, I need that kind of security.) Since I’ve been doing the same job with one system for 7.5 years and the other (in-house) system has changed so much, I need to re-learn most things for the in-house system. I’ve been doing some cross-training with my boss and doing some updates in that system. I’ll also be doing some cross-training soon with another team member so that I have some help testing and backup in case I need it for PTO or illness. I take a lot of pride in my work and I know I’m a valuable employee. Aside from being a hard worker with a fantastic work ethic– I’m a fast learner, good at troubleshooting, testing, and my entire job in general. Something I’ve also done that I think often gets overlooked, is having fostered a great working relationship with the companies I work with in other states– one of which is a major multinational corporation.

Our swimming pool here is finally open again. We had some expensive water leaks and after much investigation, had several repairs done. First there was a plumbing repair. Then they tore out the liner and resurfaced the bottom of the pit, put in a new liner, a new pump, and a new skimmer. Altogether I think it cost about $12,000 and took several months. It just opened back up a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been out there a couple of times this week. Since I’m done with isolation but still have to mask, I make sure to only go out when there’s no one else there. It’s been wonderful. It feels so good to be in the water. I think the water level is too high, though, so I’ll have to mention that to the Board and see what they think should be done, if anything.

I have a Covid coping strategy I’ve developed. My symptoms are clearly going to linger for a while. I mean, the obvious, of course, is to be fully vaccinated and boosted and test often enough to catch it in time to get Paxlovid. It’s been rough enough to make me wonder how bad off I’d be if I weren’t vaccinated.

I’m pretty sure I have BA.5. It’s not as easy on the lungs as the other Omicron variants and turns you into a snot factory. I think the origin of lung congestion is post-nasal drip, so here’s my coping strategy because I am so susceptible to sinus infections:

  • First thing in the morning — Stage 2 Neti and Flonase. Take 400mg ibuprofen and a dose of Dayquil. The ibuprofen calms down the inflammation in my sinuses and throat and the Flonase is a steroid, so it helps open up my sinus passages.
  • Mid-morning — Productive coughing and blowing my nose like a motherfucker because I just opened everything up and the gunk had built up in my lungs overnight.
  • Noon — Feeling pretty normal, but my appetite is still weak so I have to force myself to eat. I’ve lost 8 pounds in 12 days.
  • Mid-afternoon — Stage 2 Neti again. Take 400mg ibuprofen if needed for the throat pain. Cough drops as needed.
  • Early evening — Feeling pretty normal, but still forcing myself to eat dinner.
  • Bedtime — Stage 2 Neti because without it, I either can’t sleep because I’m choking on the post-nasal drip, or I wake myself up snoring because it’s gurgling in the back of my throat. Yeah… it’s that bad. Also 600mg ibuprofen so my throat will let me sleep through the night. Bonus dose of Nyquil to calm the cough.

All of that seems to be making this at least tolerable and avoiding another full-on sinus infection. The cough is deep and sounds awful. The throat pain is still moderate. Sinus congestion is mild, but I still don’t completely have my voice back at 100%. It’s as if the throat issue is what’s preventing that. I sometimes wake up with a headache, but the ibuprofen helps that. I’ve still never had a fever or body aches. No brain fog, either. I don’t have the tachycardia that so many people have reported with Covid; in fact, my resting heart rate has declined to an all-time low of 44 bpm. My blood pressure is normal and my oxygen levels, though they dip down to 95-96% in the morning before I clear out my lungs, are good otherwise (97-98%). Blood sugar is good. I do have a thermometer, pulse oximeter, blood glucose monitor, and blood pressure cuff so I can check all of these things whenever I want to. Fatigue has been an issue. After making my bed and cleaning the litter box in the morning I’ve had to either wait until lunch to shower, or lie down and rest for about 10 minutes before doing so. I am easily winded. I had a conversation with a neighbor outside on Thursday and I was getting winded just talking to them. I have been able to do some household chores, but I limit them to one per day so as not to overdo it just because I’m feeling fine from the copious amounts of OTC medications.

So I think the lingering symptoms of this are going to be all throat, lungs, and some fatigue. I don’t foresee anything drastic or even long Covid as long as I take it easy for a while after symptoms subside. It has been pretty rough. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I avoided it until after vaccinations and antivirals were available. Maybe also lucky in a way that if I did get BA.5, I will now have antibodies for the variant that evades antibodies. Other variants will pop up, so I’m still afraid of this thing.

Because so many people are testing at home and not reporting it, case counts are artificially low and I think this variant is more serious than people realize. I don’t like wearing masks or social distancing any more than anyone else, but this… is awful. I wish mask mandates would come back.

My hypothesis, which my doctor also thinks is true– is that I caught something on July 4th that wasn’t Covid. He says it might have been a cold that turned into a sinus infection, like they always do for me. I still think it was strep because colds don’t cause hellish sore throats that last for 11 days and only go away with antibiotics. So I think I had strep + sinus infection July 7-21, and that weakened my immune system. Then the week of July 17-23 (probably the 19th when I went to the grocery store), I caught Covid and it kicked me when I was already down. A relapse of symptoms began and I tested positive on July 22. I’ve been so incredibly fucked this entire month, health-wise.

On another subject– I’ve been too tired to do much aside from symptom mitigation and sleep, but I really want to get back into the ukulele and guitar. I do also want to write that memoir. I was supposed to have had the outline done by 7/24, but I got too sick. I’ve extended the arbitrary deadline to 8/14. I do have something that resembles an outline that I drafted a long time ago. It’s more of a list of things I don’t want to forget to include. I just need to transform that into an official outline.

Another thing I’ve considered doing is getting into mushroom picking. I was supposed to have been learning about that with a new friend, but that person has ceased all contact with me (they were the one who got me sick in the first place, so maybe it’s just as well). I joined the Oregon Mycological Society. I’ve also considered looking into the Portland Audubon Society or at the very least, finding a bird watching Meetup group.

Right now, though, I need to get some food and water. I’m not even hungry, but I need to eat. Covid has killed my appetite and I suppose as an overweight person I should be happy about that, but it’s not healthy. I haven’t been able to exercise, so my muscles are beginning to atrophy. It’s also dehydrated me.

Oh, one more thing– I texted someone I had been talking to from OkCupid for a few weeks back in April. He was the one who kept saying he wanted to meet but had an excuse not to every week, then ghosted after I told him I didn’t want a pen pal. I didn’t think he was going to respond, but four days later he did respond and apologized. He said he “kind of still wants to meet me” but that he “opens up slowly and got a bit overwhelmed.” I am not going to take that to heart or get my hopes up, but it was nice of him to apologize. I texted him back and said I still want to meet him as well. Nothing back yet, and I don’t think I’ll ever hear from him again. Maybe he simply wanted to apologize to make himself feel better about the whole thing. Who knows. Life goes on.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately; some low-key stuff from the 90s and 2000s as well as some Post Malone. It’s been making me a tad emotional, but that’s a good thing. I don’t like not feeling anything. I think the reason I keep going back to OkCupid and dating is because although most men on there are broken and shitty as fuck, I enjoy the banter and the occasional feelings. There’s nothing worse than feeling nothing at all, and I’d rather feel hurt than nothing. There’s a reason “The Nothing” was such a bad thing in The Neverending Story, you know. Because nothing is the worst thing. Even the James Webb Space Telescope found something in a space that looked like nothing to the naked eye. It was a cluster of galaxies billions of years old.

Life really is meaningless. It’s also too short to squander on not feeling anything.

I’m still not dating at the moment, though. I need to recover from these illnesses and get back to me.

My Experience With COVID-19

I’m documenting this because it’s been so fucking weird I can’t make heads or tails of what’s happening to my body and need to have it all in front of me to try and make sense of it.

For reference: I’m fully vaccinated and boosted with a total of three Moderna shots. My last booster was in early December because I am not old enough to qualify for a second booster. I’m 47 years old, female, and have a BMI of 33.5, which is considered “obese.” I have no other known comorbidities, but I do suspect an undiagnosed issue with autoimmune inflammation. I have all of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. That’s why I quit gluten; it was making it worse. Because I know my body better than anyone, I have always suspected I may have a hard time with Covid. As such, I have taken every precaution until this year, when the mask mandate was dropped and I started dating again. I managed to avoid Covid for 2.5 years, but it finally caught up with me. Thank goodness I didn’t get it until vaccines and Paxlovid were available.

Here’s the timeline of exposure, symptoms, and testing– with commentary from the person who first got me sick as well as two doctors. None of this is hyperbole. This is seriously one of the worst illnesses I’ve ever endured:

  • July 4 — Went hiking with someone. Afterward we went back to his house, showered, had sex, then cooked dinner and ate together.
  • July 5, 6 — Nothing yet.
  • July 7 — Woke up with a slightly sore throat but attributed it to sleeping with the window open all night (allergies?).
  • July 8 — Sore throat got progressively worse. I went for a walk with the guy who gave me this shit and he said, “I had a sore throat too, but I just had Covid five weeks ago and took a test and it was negative.” Later that night I took a home rapid antigen test (RAT) and it was negative.
  • July 9 — Sore throat got even worse, like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I took another RAT and it was negative, so scheduled an appointment at an urgent care center. Oddly lots of burping all through the beginning, to the point where I did an Internet search for “Covid and excessive burping.” Turns out it’s a thing.
  • July 10 — Unbearably sore throat and slight dry cough, but no fever. I went to Zoomcare and asked for a strep test. The doctor said since I had no fever and had a cough, she was going to give me a Covid PCR test instead. I told her I’d already had two negative RATs and she said, “For people who are vaccinated and boosted, those rapid antigen tests are garbage.” Apparently the vaccine keeps our viral load so low, we often don’t test positive with them. By the middle of this day I’d lost my voice.
  • July 11 — The PCR test came back negative. I was shocked but at the same time not shocked, because at that point it felt like it had to be strep. Sinuses began acting up as well. I got my voice back for this one day, but lost it again the next day for almost an entire week. I’d just switched to all smart bulbs, which made turning on any lights… difficult.
  • July 12, 13 — Felt like I’d died and gone straight to hell, and Satan himself was shoving a wire bottle brush up and down my throat all night, every night followed by slashing it with razor blades. This lasted for 11 FUCKING DAYS. I made a video appointment with my PCP. Also major sinus infection. I spent all night coughing so hard I literally pissed myself. At this point I was so fucking miserable I couldn’t function. I didn’t even work those days because I was so sick. I took yet another RAT and it was negative.
  • July 14 — Barely able to speak, I talked to my doctor. He said, “Another one of your sinus infections, huh? What’d I give you last time? A Z-pack?” I squeaked, “When I had that flu, yeah.” So he prescribed me Azithromycin. I picked it up after work and took the first two pills.
  • July 15-18 — Still the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. Even getting my tonsils out didn’t hurt that badly. Sinuses started to clear up.
  • July 17 — Just to be sure it wasn’t Covid, I took another RAT before returning to work in the office Monday. It was negative. That was negative test #5 but I still wasn’t totally convinced it wasn’t Covid, so I double-masked at the office each time I left my cubicle. I also masked up because I thought to myself, “If this isn’t Covid and Covid is worse than this, I do not fucking want it.
  • July 19 — I got my voice back, sinuses felt better, and my throat began to feel a lot less sore. I could only assume at this point that I had, indeed, had strep. I don’t always get a fever when I have a bacterial infection, but as soon as I finished the five-day course of antibiotics, my throat magically got better. However, because the doctor at Zoomcare wouldn’t test me for strep, I’ll never know if that’s what it really was.
  • July 20 — Worked at the office. Still double-masked whenever I left my cubicle, even if it was just to use the restroom. I kept going back and forth; it was strep… no, it was Covid and my viral load was too low to test positive… no, it had to be strep. No, Covid. I could never make up my mind which one I had.
  • July 21 — My best day so far since the mystery illness began. Sinuses were almost cleared up and the only throat pain I’d had left was from it being so raw, but it was healing. I’d been taking Mucinex for a few days and the cough was productive, but not deep or painful. My energy level was good enough to do grocery shopping during lunch and cook a huge batch of red curry that night. Of course I double-masked at the store and everywhere else I went, because I still was not convinced it wasn’t Covid and still, if it wasn’t, no fucking way I wanted it. There was something in my gut nagging at me that although it probably was strep, I should take precautions anyway because of the way the BA.5 variant behaves, the level of community transmission, and what I’d been reading about low viral loads and negative test results.
  • July 21 — Middle of the night… I woke up in an uncontrollable coughing fit, gasping for air. It was very deep, productive enough to have to grab a tissue to spit into, and quite painful.
  • July 22 — I woke up with new sinus congestion. I took yet another (#6 now) RAT and it was… positive. Like really, really, unmistakably positive. The T (test) line showed up dark as night, in under two minutes. In fact, I had to double- and triple-check to be sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing because the C (control) line hadn’t even shown up yet! I looked at it and said out loud, “What the fuck?” I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing because I fully expected it to come up negative like all the rest, especially considering how much better I’d been feeling the day before. Even after the 15 minutes the instructions said to wait, it was clearly positive.

The only reason I even bothered to test was because a friend of mine suggested they won’t show up positive until the cough begins. I’d been coughing for two weeks, but this time it was deeper and more painful. Really, though, it was the new sinus congestion that made me suspicious and it had been four days since my last test, so I thought… why not?

So I called my doctor’s office and they squeezed me in for a 10-minute video call where I showed him the positive test. He facetiously congratulated me (because before we had joked about how I kept catching everything but Covid). In all seriousness, though, he suggested I may have actually caught something else from my July 4th date, began to recover from it, then caught Covid because my immune system had been weakened. That does make the most sense, but I’ll never know for sure what it was. It could have been a cold, like he suggested, but the sore throat was too awful for it to have been a run-of-the-mill cold. It could have been strep, but I’ll never know because they wouldn’t test me for it. I suppose it could have been the BA.1 or BA.2 variant and now I have BA.5, but that seems the least likely scenario given the timeline and types of symptoms (the older variants cause fever and body aches). It could have been Covid this entire time and my viral load was so low I never tested positive until one day the virus replicated like mad, made me sicker, and then showed up on a test. I’ll never know, but right now it’s definitely Covid.

I’ve been taking Paxlovid exactly as directed and the taste in my mouth is so bad it keeps me up at night, but it’s worth it. My sinuses are congested– again— and my throat is sore– again– and I’m coughing– still. But the symptoms do feel a little different this time. The congestion is obnoxious, but it’s not a bacterial infection and I’ve been able to get some of it out. The sore throat feels more like a regular one this time. The cough is only really productive in the morning, and my lungs aren’t so congested I’m gasping for air between coughs. It’s still a deep cough, though. I still have never had a fever and no body aches. My symptoms are consistent with what’s being reported with the BA.5 variant.

So, today is officially Day 3 since testing positive. I told my boss and I will not be working in the office at all next week. I’m hoping I don’t get the Paxlovid rebound.

Here are all of my symptoms since this whole thing started, in order of appearance; some of which are so bizarre, I knew they could only be from Covid:

  • Excessive burping (before symptoms really set in, about when the sore throat started).
  • Massively, unreasonably painful sore throat that lasted for 11 days which only Ibuprofen and popsicles helped.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Itchy, painless, but relentless dry cough.
  • Fatigue, but I attribute that to becoming so exhausted by lack of sleep from all the throat pain and coughing.
  • Bloodshot, goobery eyes in the morning.
  • Unexplained bruising on my upper body, two of the bruises being on my boobs; one is rather large and dark and next to my nipple.
  • Excessive urination (during the period known for sure to have been Covid – I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last week).
  • Deep, painful, productive cough.
  • Sinus congestion (a second round of it, but not as severe as the first).
  • Sore throat (also second round, but not as severe as the first).
  • Intermittent reduction in smell and taste.
  • Diarrhea (presumably from the Paxlovid).
  • 7/25 – Loss of taste.
  • 7/25 – Fatigue.

So it appears that either what I had at first was actually worse than Covid, or it’s been Covid all along and my viral load is finally high enough to test positive but I’ve had symptoms for so long, they’re finally getting better.

Either way, the whole thing fucking sucks because this is my 3rd weekend in a row home sick (been symptomatic for 17 days now). And now that I’m actually testing positive for Covid, I can’t claim ignorance and be out in public, even with a mask on. I am isolating until I test negative. I only have six of the free government-issued tests left, so I’m going to wait a while before I test again. Maybe I’ll just do what the CDC says and isolate for 5 days then mask in public… not for 5 days… forever, from now on.

And no more dating because now we have monkeypox, too. So between Covid, STDs, monkeypox, and men generally being shitty self-serving assholes all-around, fuck a bunch of that.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, Y’ALL:

  • Even if you have had Covid within the last FOUR WEEKS you can still be infected by the BA.5 variant, especially if what you had previously was BA.1 or BA.2.
  • Even if you have had FOUR VACCINES you can still be infected by the BA.5 variant.
  • The BA.5 variant is now the dominant variant in the U.S.
  • The BA.5 variant evades antibodies from vaccines and infections from previous variants.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and boosted, there is a very good chance you will test negative despite symptoms.
  • The vaccines can cause a viral load to be so low as to be undetectable.
  • Undetectable does not mean you’re not contagious.
  • Undetectable does not mean you won’t have symptoms, because symptoms are the body’s immune system’s response to the virus.
  • The more haywire your immune system is due to myriad reasons (like inflammation), the worse you will react to the virus despite having low levels of it in your body.
  • KEEP EACH OTHER SAFE. IF YOU HAVE EVEN A SINGLE SYMPTOM BUT TEST NEGATIVE, ACT LIKE YOU FUCKING HAVE COVID BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY DO.

(Sources: All the news articles I’ve read and news podcasts I’ve listened to from the New York Times, NPR, and Scientific American.)

*gnaws off own arm*