What it's like to find out you're COVID Positive
Last Saturday morning I had a pretty fun, full day of workshops, soccer games and sessions planned for the day ahead of me. I woke up around 8am not feeling great, and a cough that had me red in the face kept me on the couch and on my phone - cancelling the day ahead of me.
I'm finding it interesting the way that this new era of pandemic is effecting the way my logical brain works after I recognize in my body that I'm feeling sick. You see, pre-cvd Jane would have noticed symptoms of a cough or sore throat, and definitely still gone to work. I've kind of always believed that you can will any sickness away by going about your day as usual and also loading up on tea, medicine and making time for salt baths. I'm a big advocate for the Law of Attraction and if you focus on good-feeling thoughts, the good feelings will come, the ill feeling thoughts will fade away...
I guess I'm also the type of person who always feels better when she's "working" ("working" = acting as a contributing member of society - but more on that later). I always had that battle with myself when I'm not feeling well before heading into "work" and I would always ask myself, if I call in sick will I be succumbing myself to these symptoms and staying in bed all day? OR do I want to try to keep my day going and see if I feel better?
In my world, calling in sick is just spell to stay sick. Or is it self-care?
My capitalist conditioning can't tell the difference, honestly.
But we're in a new era now.
With any sort of cough, there's no way in hell I'm going to go sit in a two hour yoga workshop and make everyone in the room uncomfortable to be around me. Coughing in public is an easy way to become public enemy number one these days. So, it was obvious that I couldn't go. As the dry cough continued from deep inside my lungs, it was obvious I needed to cancel my entire day and probably start thinking about getting tested.
Then there's that "contributing member of society" party. In this era, when we are sick, we have to take full and complete responsibility for ourselves. Which means that if I'm feeling symptoms that are included in the list for coronavirus symptoms - you gotta stay home honey. I was pretty upset about cancelling all of my plans for the day but my girlfriend kept reminding me - it's your responsibility now to stay home and away from people.
So I did. And by the late evening, still laying on the couch having watched almost all of Marvelous Misses Maisel Season 1 and drank all the Breathe Easy Tea, I felt even worse and dreaded a night of uncomfortable sleep ahead.
I woke up Sunday morning with achey joints, sniffles and a dry throat to match my cough. And my first thought was, damn this whole covid thing really ruins the simplicity of getting sick.
I know, it's a silly thought to have in the wake of such a chaotic year, but really. I started to get kind of pissed off. All I wanted to do was just spend my Sunday feeling that shitty fall season sickness that washes over me every year around this time. I just wanted to get cozy in bed, drink my tea, watch my Amazon Prime and feel better by tomorrow morning so that I could get back to "work."
Not in this era. That's not an option anymore. Instead I had to find a place to get tested FOR THE THIRD TIME. Did I mention how horrible it is to get tested? I think that really adds to the stress that I was feeling. It reminded me of how I would always get strep throat as a kid, but I was so afraid to admit that my throat hurt because that meant my mom would take me to the doctor where they would stick that long q-tip down my throat. Traumatizing. As a kid, it was one of my most torturous memories. Today, I would love if the covid test were simply a quick q-tip down the throat, but nope. They take a plastic stick with what looks like a sharp pipe cleaner at the top and they stick it right up your nose into your sinus and then twist it and count ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE.
So yeah, I'm calling around trying to get an appointment to get tested ASAP because then you have to fucking quarantine after the exam until you get the negative test which can be anywhere from "48-90 hours!" That's a chunk of my week that I look forward to! I'm sitting here smelling lotions and candles, tasting chocolates and checking my temperature telling myself there's no way I'm positive.
And then my girlfriend reminds me - it's your responsibility now to get tested.
I think this point was the maximum of my frustration. I couldn't get a test until the following Monday at 845 am. Which means I have to cancel my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday classes. This is my job! This is my only income! I'M JUST SICK GUYS, and now instead of resting at home I'm getting all agitated and pissed off because I have to cancel more shit now. It's the year of canceling everything.
Motto of 2020: "Due to Covid, we're going to have to cancel.."
But then I got ahold of myself.
And my girlfriend reminds me, this is just how it is now, Jane.
This is just how it is now. I can't change it. And I can't ignore it. I can't act like I'm not having symptoms and then show up to work and put my whole community at risk. Even if my results are negative, it's more important to know.
So I'm sucking it up. I still feel like shit. My whole body is achey and pale and gross. My throat feels like the desert and my sinuses keep trading off who wants to be more congested as I write this. Tonight I'll go to sleep and wake up at 1am puking my guts out, full body chills, joints so achey that every hair on my body feels like a shard of glass in my skin.
This is it. My poor, irrational dehydrated brain decides as I lay on the floor of the bathroom. This is it, this is when I die.
And eventually, I have to pull myself out of bed, get into my car and over the Utah health clinic for my test. I sit in the long line of cars in the parking lot thinking to myself, this is my own unique hell realm. As I'm sitting in line with my tiny dog on my lap to keep me company, I'm on my email once again canceling my day and updating everyone. I MIGHT HAVE COVID. UPDATES COMING SOON.
And honestly, as I'm here I realize that a) I'm not afraid of testing positive. I am a young, extremely healthy and strong woman. My body is perfectly qualified to handle this and I'll be fine. And b) I'm not going to feel embarrassed, ashamed or less-than for testing positive. In fact, I'm going to write about it and share about what it's like to be sick in this era - even if it's from an extremely privileged and bitchy perspective. (I turn into kind of a dramatic bitch when I'm sick - ask anyone). There's such a stigma on being sick right now. There's such a stigma on those who test positive. And I'm not going to carry that mythology around with me. This is 2020. We have absolutely NO idea what can happen. So whatever happens, happens. I'm going to be fine.
Then, here's the BEST part of my sob story. As the medical staff gets a nice break of smiles as they say hello to my tiny dog, they give me this little tube and say, "We're doing saliva testing today so we just need you to fill this tube with your spit, take your time, we'll be here all day."
My sick eyes must have lit up with joy and excitement. All I have to do is spit in this tube?? That's it??? This is the best news EVER!!!! I did my best at filling the tube with my nasty saliva, gratefully handed it back to the staffer and drove home with a smile on my face.
The worst is over. Now all you have to do it go home, get back in bed and wait.
This is your responsibility now, Jane.
As I get home, I realize it's all getting better.
The most beautiful woman in the world is in the kitchen making her home made soup for me. She keeps making fresh juices and urging me to knock them back with her mysterious homeopathic medicine. She kisses my forehead and tidies the sheets around my feverish body while I transition to bingeing Netflix shows. I have a home. I have health insurance. I have a partner who can take care of me when I can't. I'm not worried about bills. I don't have children to care for. If I test positive I will go into serious retreat mode and make prayers for two weeks. I have the privilege to get sick.
And that's why I'm writing this. Most people do not have the privilege to get sick. A lot of people don't have health insurance. For many people, taking one week off of work without pay could mean bankruptcy. It could mean no food on the table for their children. For some people, getting sick could mean inevitable death.
And that's why I'm writing this.
We're in a new era. Where yes, it totally sucks to get sick and it totally sucks to have to go through all of this "protocol" just to be safe. But it's not for me. It's not up to me. I do all of this to protect those who don't share the same privileges that I do. I stay home for the single working moms who's families would crumble without their health. I do this for the older folks who don't have a strong immune system like mine. I do this for my human race, who needs me right now to take this pandemic seriously and just stay home. I know it fucking sucks. But this is just the era that we are in now.
We must take responsibility for ourselves and the ways in which our choices affect people we don't even know.
If you are feeling symptoms, please, stay home.
Please, get tested.
Please, be considerate of those around you.
This is a new era. Be a good person.
And if you're still reading... then you probably already know my test results...POSITIVE.
I think perhaps the best part of this little blog here is that I've written a little bit more about it, every day that has passed. Seeing my perspectives change and shift and be challenged is hopefully something you've enjoyed reading
. Seeing that positive test was an actual shock. I'm still digesting how I'd like to relate to this diagnoses, how I'd like to learn from it, how I'd like to empower myself and others during this unique era. I wonder how this might hurt my image - then I feel relief because if you're judging me for this, I don't need you in my life. I recognize that this has very much to do with the fact that I chose to live in a state that doesn't take this pandemic seriously. I'm just 1/1105. Tomorrow there will be 1000 more. Not that I wish this upon anyone, but it just feels inevitable at this point. I'm grateful to have the antibodies now to fight this off. I think this is where I'll end this post and get back to resting. More messages will arrive soon.
Until then, thank you for reading.