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One person’s experience with COVID

January 1, 2022
All of us in our house have gotten two vaccine shots plus a booster before testing positive.

January 1, 2022

Still in the throes of COVID. 

The afternoon of the 27th I started to feel achy and congested.  My spouse P. had had similar symptoms the day before, but she thought missing her asthma inhaler made her chest hurt.  I remember cleaning the kitchen the morning of the 26th—dishes stacked to the ceiling with Norwegian meatball detritus and various charcuterie plates, dozens of beverage bottles, pitchers, glasses, cracker plates. 

What a time we had Christmas day evening playing games with Bob, Heather, Olivia, Josiah!  Also, Kate and her dog Maya had been over.  No wonder the dishes were dirty.  In my mind I kept hearing the Spike Jones classic, “Leave the dishes in the sink, mama!”

Then the night of the 27th my body–back, legs, neck, head– hurt bad enough I could hardly sleep.  I’d cough; down the hall 20 feet I heard sister-in-law Dolly answer with a cough of her own.  That’s when I had the nightmares that the whole world seemed to be a suffering face as big as a barn door.  I coughed mud at it.  Next morning P. asked if I wanted a COVID test.

She found an opening for a COVID test appointment at the CVS pharmacy, but it would take 1-2 days for a result.  Good, I’m thinking.  Probably a more sensitive test than the quick test.  Remember:  high sensitivity means low false negatives.  High specificity means low false positive results.  Of course, they don’t tell that to the lay public.  Instead they use the term “accuracy” and I don’t know precisely what that means, except in terms of plus/minus.

I was dismayed that the CVS pharmacist had me take my own nasal swab sample because I’m not trained to do it properly.  I swirled the swab which looked like a Q-tip, except the swab part was harder and more compact. Because I was in the passenger seat I couldn’t hear the instructions the pharmacist rattled off at the drive-through.  Did I mention we got the test at the drive-through?  Sorry I forgot.  I glanced at the instruction sheet.  Said you don’t have to poke the swab far into each nostril, but to circle inside three times on each side.  I did.  Then we poked the swab into a tube that had liquid.  I wasn’t clear whether to put the business end into the liquid, but P. was sure we needed to, so I did.  Then we returned home and I slept until the next day.  I took two extra-strength acetaminophen tablets every 6 hours for pain.  They helped quite a bit with the back pain, leg pain, arm pain, headache.  I drank coffee that tasted like colored water because I was afraid my headache might be caused from my not drinking my usual coffee.

No result from the test that day, or the next, but the following morning, after a much better night with less coughing, we got the result: positive test.

We didn’t check any temperatures, so I don’t know if any of us had a fever, but all three of us had similar symptoms.  The morning of the 30th, P. and Dolly went to the ER after our son Todd recommended she do so.  Dolly got a COVID test and a flu test, but the COVID was positive, so she got the monoclonal antibody shots.  I called my internist, Dr. Malters, who ordered the antibodies for me.  P. got the COVID test from her physician and the next morning the antibodies.

I didn’t notice a complete loss of taste or smell. In fact I had a great appetite throughout. I tried some of Dolly’s Sprite, but it tasted like carbonated water only. Soup tasted and smelled fantastic. I drank some white wine that tasted like vinegar.

We all feel much better, but still have fatigue, some headache.

Do you know about antibodies?  These are normally produced by our body’s B-Cells in response to infection.  The antibodies themselves are usually Y-shaped molecules that bind to viruses and inactivate them.  The antibody treatments are not well tested, but seem to be effective clinically.

Nor did we party New Year’s Eve. In fact we went to bed at our usual 7 pm.

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