I has started to feel like I was coming down with cold. I had a scratchy throat and runny nose. It was the end of the year going into the holidays and I usually always caught a cold this time of year from the stress of year-end business at work plus the coming holidays but my parents were coming up and are older so I thought it was best to get tested for COVID. I tested at Riverside on Saturday which cost $80 and my result came in early on Sunday morning. When I opened the PDF, it was like the whole floor dropped out from under me. It was positive. I read and reread it in a state of disbelief. I immediately told my wife and we contacted my parents, cancelling all of our plans for the holidays which was very sad. We also cancelled all plans we had with friends that weekend and in the comings days, sledding, Christmas lights, hot chocolate outings around a fire pit, all of it was now not happening. My symptoms were mild, cold-like not flu like. No fever, no chills, no fatigue. I thought maybe they got it wrong, maybe a common cold can trigger a false positive. But then my wife began to feel sick. Plus my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and mother-in-law also had symptoms. Everyone tested positive. For my wife and in-laws, it was different, fatigue, loss of smell and taste, and most commonly, these recurring headaches which could be severe. We assumed our son must have had it too but he was completely asymptomatic and for a kid not seeing family and friends during the holidays and school break, he was amazingly resilient and willing to follow the quarantine guidelines. One thing you need to get used to when you have COVID is your loss of health information privacy. Your results are shared with the state, who then in turn share that information with the city/town (for us it is Newton) and also with the school system. The state contact tracing team called and did a 45 minute interview for contact tracing purposes. Then they check in every couple of days to see how you are doing. The city BOH plus the school also reached out to us. Due to a snow storm in mid-December, our son had not been in school for in-person since I began having symptoms which was a relief. The school switched him over to remote learning until he could produce a negative COVID PSR test. My symptoms were mild. I never felt threatened or concerned about breathing or needing to go to the hospital. I had the flu several years ago and pretty much lost a week of my life to high fever, body aches, chills, weakness. At that time I was taking 4 to 5 Advil at a time and was still in agony and sweating one minute and then feeling chills the next. During that miserable bout with the flu, I had the TV Land station on with MASH reruns and at one point they switched over to a Golden Girls marathon that ran for hours. I was so weak that I couldn't even change the channel. My experience with COVID was very different. If anything, from COVID I was more depressed than sick for quarantining through the holidays. You learn to get creative when your stranded in your own home with mild symptoms. Suddenly all those draws and closet corners and shelves are now fair game for cleaning out and straightening up. I even meticulously went through our basement and attic, removing clutter from years gone by. For my wife and in-laws, there was fatigue, low grade fever and recurring migraine-like headaches. It was a perfectly horrible way to end a nerve-wracking and unpredictable year. We ordered a Pulse Oximeter and had it overnighted. This is crucial if you have COVID. It is a non-invasive tool to measure your oxygen concentration in your blood. The rule of thumb is 95 and above is normal, if you go below 95 keep an eye on it and maybe call your doctor. If you go below 90, go to the hospital. Anything below 90 means you need to been seen immediately by a medical professional. This is why COVID and the flu are so dangerous. It disrupts your lungs ability to process oxygen and get it into your blood stream. None of us ever dropped below 95. After Christmas, my wife and in-laws gradually began regaining their strength. My mother in law is 86 and due to her age she went to see her PCP every few days and they checked her vitals just to make sure she wasn't getting worse. The amount and length of the headaches for all of them decreased and we began going outside into our own backyard to get some fresh air and walk the dog more often. Our son tested negative which we shared with the school nurse before he went back to school. And the phone calls finally ceased from the Mass COVID tracing team. It has been a little over a month since we had COVID. My wife's sense of smell still has not full returned but her energy level has. The one thing you don't feel after you have had COVID is some sense of invulnerability or immunity. You watch the news and see all of the tragedy that COVID has caused and you wonder, did we just get lucky and get a weaker strain of it? Can I catch it again and maybe become sicker from a more severe strain? We're coming up on almost one year of living with the pandemic which has changed everything for all of us. The vaccine is being distributed in Phase One. The case rate is trending down. As we get closer to the Spring, the season takes on a different meaning for us, not only one of warmer weather, greener grasses and budding trees, but also one one hope.
My professor wants me to survey people about COVID. You can skip questions if they make you uncomfortable but can you please try and do as many as possible? The responses are anonymous if you don’t add your name. https://forms.gle/RFjqECVswgCLuGX17