Monday, May 2, 2022



For over two years I managed to escape catching the dreaded and much-feared Covid-19 virus, mainly because I rarely left the house. And when I did, I was armed with everything from a stack of masks to a variety of purse-sized hand sanitizers in so many different scents, my handbag gave me a bad case of slope-shoulder whenever I carried it. 

The reason why I was so overly cautious is because I can’t get vaccinated. You might be wondering why. Well, that makes two of us.

Every time I tried to make an appointment to get the shot, I was asked if I had any food or drug allergies, so I’d say yes and list them. The response that always followed would be, “Sorry, but we do not recommend that you receive the vaccine.”

So I didn’t 

But as I said, I did remarkably well at avoiding catching the virus…until Friday, April 22, when I slipped and made a fateful error that would come back to haunt me.

I’d taken my car to the dealership to get it repaired. When the work was finished, the employee handed me a pen and asked me to sign the worksheet. After I paid the nearly $500 bill, he also handed me a wrapped chocolate-covered mint and thanked me.

When I got back into my car, I didn’t follow my usual routine of sanitizing my hands, the steering wheel and even my car keys, as I usually did. No, I wanted that mint. So I tore it open, touched it with my bare, unsanitized hands, and ate it.

As soon as I did, a sense of germophobic panic swept over me. I thought of the germ-encrusted pen, probably handled by 20 people before me, I’d just touched when signing the repair sheet. And then I’d touched the mint.

“It had to be chocolate-covered,” I muttered. “I can’t resist anything that’s chocolate-covered.”

I convinced myself I was panicking for nothing. I mean, the odds were in my favor that nothing would happen. Surely during the past two years, I must have made similar mistakes at least a few times and I was fine, so I put the incident out of my mind.

That Sunday morning, I awoke and noticed I was feeling pressure points on my body where it touched my mattress. The thing is, I have one of those Tempurpedic foam mattresses that contours to the body when you lie on it, to alleviate any pressure points. So why, I wondered was my right hip tender where it was touching the mattress? I rolled over onto my other side. Within five minutes, that hip also began to hurt. I thought maybe it was time for a new mattress.

I got up and realized my throat was dry…really dry.  I drank water, then juice. My throat still felt as if it just had been through a sandstorm in the Sahara. I couldn’t figure out why nothing seemed to relieve the dryness. Even worse, I wasn’t thirsty, just dry, so it was tough to keep swallowing water.

As I walked out to the kitchen to get another glass of juice, I noticed that my heart felt as if it were racing. My usual heart rate is around 60-65. I took my pulse. It was 90, which was really unusual for me.

By nightfall, I was feeling warmer than usual, and my throat was feeling even dryer. I took my temperature. Normal for me is 97.8F.  It was 99.9F. I began to get worried. Had my worst fears finally been realized? Did I have Covid? 

During the free home-test giveaways from both my state and the government, I’d managed to collect several Covid test-kits, so I figured the time had come to use one. I took the test and waited the 10 minutes for the results. Believe me, it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. Suddenly I knew what if felt like to be “Dead Man Walking.”


I breathed a sigh of relief. So why was I having these weird symptoms? The flu perhaps?

By midnight Sunday night, my dry throat had turned into a fairly severe sore throat. And a new symptom had emerged…a headache. Maybe I’m a weakling when it comes to headaches because I never get them, but this headache seemed like the Queen Mother of all headaches to me. Even opening my eyes hurt, and when I tried to lie down, the entire top of my head pounded so hard, it felt as if it were about to blow off.

I slept, and I use the term loosely, sitting up that night, with a cold compress on my head.

I might add here that the last time I had even so much as a cold was over 15 years ago, so anything I had in the house, like Tylenol or aspirin, had expired back then. There was nothing I could take to ease my pain.

Monday morning, I felt totally sick. I had gland tenderness in my neck, a terrible sore throat, splitting headache, eye pain, ear pain, and body aches. My temperature was 101F, yet I felt chilled to the bone.

I figured maybe I should take another Covid test, just to be safe.

This one came back positive. I sat staring at the two lines on the test strip and thought, “Okay, so you have it. But you’re lucky – this is the mildest variant.”

At least that’s what the newscasters on the local news had said when they reported that Omicron rapidly was sweeping across the state.

Because I live alone in the middle of nowhere and have no immediately family, I thought it might be a good idea to let people know about my situation in case I suddenly keeled over. I wanted people to keep track of me and how I was doing, so if I suddenly went silent, maybe they’d call someone to do a wellness check and I wouldn’t end up lying on the floor for a month before someone missed me. So I put a brief post about it on Facebook.

Offers of help, even from strangers, poured in, asking if I needed anything.

“Yeah, a 9mm,” I joked. “To put myself out of my misery.”

But really, my dogs and I pretty much had everything we needed – except I would have killed for a throat lozenge or even a piece of hard candy for my throat. I even searched through my purse, hoping to find a lint-covered Lifesaver or something in the bottom. But would I really make someone drive 20 miles out of their way just to bring me lozenges? No.  I told myself I could do without.

Monday night, I dared to look at my throat, using a flashlight. Two things immediately scared me – my uvula was neon red and swollen and my epiglottis was popping up and touching it. Prior to that, I’d had no idea what those two things were, but through the miracle of the Internet I learned all about them – and that they normally shouldn’t be touching each other.

“This could lead to epiglottitis,” the blurb read, “a medical emergency that requires a tracheotomy to avoid suffocation!”

Let’s just say I wished I hadn’t read any of it. I made myself a cup of tea, curled up in a blanket on the sofa and wondered what was going to happen next. I was beginning to suspect that the way Covid worked was it threw darts at a map of the human body hanging on the wall to determine which area to attack next.

Meanwhile, two sets of dog eyes stared relentlessly at me. They wanted to be fed. They needed to go pee. They wanted to play fetch.

I wanted to be left alone in my misery.

But I got them fed, watered and comfortable, then crawled back onto the sofa. The headache, to my relief, finally began to let up. But new symptoms replaced it – queasiness and a very bitter taste in my mouth. Everything suddenly was unbearably bitter, even the sugar in my tea. And the fact that I already felt queasy, made the bitter taste even more annoying.

I wanted chicken soup. I would have settled for a can of the stuff at that moment, but I had none. So I made soup from scratch, which was the last thing I wanted to do. I realized, as the soup was simmering, it smelled like burnt waffles. I then realized that everything smelled like burnt waffles – even my tropical dishwashing liquid that usually smelled like fresh pineapple. I had to admit what I’d been fearing to admit – my sense of smell and taste slowly were deteriorating.

My chicken soup ended up tasting like very bitter, very disgusting slime. I choked it down. And the sugar cookie I had for dessert also tasted bitter, with the consistency of sanded cardboard. I took only one bite, and it hurt my throat so much, I didn’t take a second bite. I was done.

Then, because of my queasiness, I prayed the food I’d managed to eat would stay down.

One thing a doctor once told me was that a fever is one of the body’s best virus and bacteria-killing mechanisms, which is why fevers exist in the first place. He said a fever should be allowed to run its course, so trying to stop it in its tracks isn’t a good idea because that prevents it from doing what it is meant to do. So, I told my fever to keep doing its thing. I didn’t have anything to stop it with anyway, so I had no choice.

But the sore throat was looking and feeling worse. One online doctor recommend saltwater gargles three times a day.

“But!” he said. “The ratio of salt and water has to be precise, and the water has to be warm, or it won’t work. He recommended 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in one cup of warm water.

I made the mixture and gargled, and no kidding, it was like gargling with something from the Dead Sea. Never have I tasted anything saltier in my life.  But I stuck with it, and by Wednesday morning, my uvula and my epiglottis no longer were touching each other. I successfully had split up their love affair.

Wednesday night, two new symptoms appeared. My nose suddenly completely stuffed up. One minute it was fine, and the next, it felt as if I had a massive sinus infection. I also developed a cough. It seemed to originate from a tickle in my throat, not from somewhere deep in my chest. I guess you could call it a superficial cough…a very annoying, superficial cough. And when I coughed, I sounded exactly like a goose honking…and it scared the dogs.

It scared me, too. I mean, I’d never realized I could make a sound like that.

Thursday morning, I took my temperature and it was back to normal, which made me think I was on the road to recovery. But the cough got worse and my throat still was sore. And my senses of taste and smell completely disappeared. NO more burnt-waffle smell, no more bitter taste. There was just nothing at all.

So everything I’d heard about Omicron being nothing like the original Covid wasn’t true. The only symptoms I didn’t have were shortness of breath and fatigue.

Today is Monday, eight days since my symptoms began. If you look up a “typical” case of Covid, it says it lasts about five days. I guess I’m not typical because I still feel too crappy to do much of anything. And just an hour ago, I suffered a pretty substantial nosebleed, so I have no idea what that was about. 

And my voice!  I sound like a man! Twice today I’ve answered the phone and was called “Sir.”

I’m trying to be patient, I really am, and I’m counting on my body to emerge the victor in this personal war.

I will update this post daily, just to let you know how I’m doing.

Wish me luck…

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UPDATE:  Tuesday -  Still sound like a guy and still have no sense of taste. But I use a daily spritz of vinegar on my dogs to repel ticks and fleas (It really works!), and I suddenly could smell a faint odor of vinegar. Made me think that maybe I'm regaining my sense of smell. We'll see. Still no appetite, so I'm still struggling to eat. Ordered a new thermometer, so I can't take my temperature until it arrives, but I'm feeling cool, not hot.

UPDATE:  Wednesday - Last night was my worst night yet, which hit me totally out of the blue. Went to bed, tired, and suddenly started to cough these deep, terrible coughs. The coughing wouldn't stop. It was like having a bad case of the hiccups, but it was non-stop coughing instead. Four hours later, I still was coughing and getting panicky because there was no lull in it at all. My ribs were killing me, my breastbone was tender, and my throat was really raw from so much coughing. I tried drinking warm liquids, breathing steam, wrapping my neck in moist heat - nothing stopped the cough. Finally, I rolled over onto my stomach in bed and the cough let up. I fell into an exhausted sleep and woke up at 5 this afternoon!  I haven't coughed again yet, but I feel as if I've just gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. My oximeter says my blood oxygen is 98, so at least that's still good. I'm glad I have an oximeter because it gives me peace of mind. There's really no need to be hospitalized with Covid unless blood oxygen levels are low. I remember, when Covid first hit, a doctor on TV saying to splurge the $20 on an oximeter and keep it handy because if you catch Covid and feel really crummy, the oximeter will tell you if need to go to the hospital. I was smart enough to buy one back then, thank goodness. So no matter how rotten I feel, if my blood oxygen is still up there, it at least gives me hope. But if it suddenly bottoms out - I'll be aware of that, too, and get help!

UPDATE:  Friday - Spent Thursday doing a lot of sleeping. I did take a short walk on my land and the fresh air and sunshine felt heavenly. Last night I was craving brownies, so I made some from scratch. Seeing that I've dropped 12 pounds, I figured I could splurge and treat myself. But they tasted terrible, of course, because my taste buds still are all messed up. Instead of bitter, everything now tastes salty, even when there's no salt in it. So one bite of brownie, and that was enough for me. I froze them, however, so when my taste gets back to normal, whenever that might be, I still can enjoy them!

Today I feel wiped out, but my voice is beginning to sound less like a foghorn, and my sense of smell is slowly returning. I did find out that someone I know who lives right near the dealership where I went, also came down with Covid, so there might be a pocket of the illness brewing in that area. If I survive this bout, I never want to get it again! I do worry about the long-term effects from it, but I'm taking one day at a time for now, and each day finally is getting a little better. 

My mail notification says my new thermometer was delivered today, so I'll walk out to my mailbox and get it. Haven't been able to take my temp. since Monday, when my other thermometer died.

UPDATE: Monday 5/9 - day 15!  Well, you know you're feeling better when you get excited about being able to smell a dog fart!  Actually, my sense of taste also is returning - and today I was able to taste my bowl of soup for the first time in two weeks. It was the best soup ever!

My temp is 98F and my cough, although still annoying, is much less frequent. So I guess I'm just about recovered. Now, if I can avoid ever catching Covid again, I'll be happy. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

Although...there is one certain person...

Never mind.

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