Monday, December 07, 2020

Guess what

I have the coronavirus. I woke up Monday morning (11/30) feeling fine, but with no taste or smell. I called my doctor, who got me in to the clinic for a test at 8:00 AM Tuesday. By then I started feeling tired, really tired. Wednesday I began running a fever and battling diarrhea. 

I also got my test result: "Detected." That's how it reads: "detected," vs. "not detected." I felt very alone and frightened. Fortunately, it appears I will recover without going to the hospital. By Saturday my fever had broken and the diarrhea had ceased.

I sleep all the time. I'm awake two or three hours at a time. I talk on the phone and then I go back to sleep. I think I'm doing OK -- I mean, I'm in no physical discomfort and I breathe comfortably -- but I have a telehealth appointment with my doctor on Monday and hopefully she'll confirm that I'm progressing as she hopes/expects.

I am lucky. A nurse called me, unsolicited, to follow up. She encouraged me to eat the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast). Otherwise, she reasoned, I won't get nutrients I need and we'll never know if the diarrhea persists. But I don't have all those things in my pantry, and now I'm sick and I can't go to the store and now I'm scared again. She was lovely. "Let's see what you do have," she said and asked me for the contents of cabinet. Friday I had handful of Ritz Crackers. Saturday I added applesauce to the crackers. Today it was Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, crackers and applesauce. No appetite, but no diarrhea, either. I appreciated the nurse's initiative, patience and sensitivity.

I hear from the Illinois Dept. of Health every day, too. A survey of my symptoms and whether I left the house or not. I suppose I can see how this would seem intrusive, if I chose to look at it this way. After all, I didn't tell them I have covid, the clinic did. But at the end of each call, I'm asked if I need help with groceries or medication. I'm fortunate to live in Illinois, where my state is reaching out with assistance. I feel supported.

I haven't told many people. My oldest friend, because she and I go so far back (Kindergarten) and I needed that continuity. Kathy, because, frankly, I knew she'd be home. Joanna, because she's so take charge. John, because I knew he want to know. Henry and Reg, because obviously I won't be traveling to Key West to see them this year. They've all been loving and supportive. Henry sent me the link to his church service, and I was delighted to hear the shoutout from his minister. It made me feel stronger to know I was included in that congregation's prayers.

Once I hear from my doctor that I'm on the mend, I'll let more people know.

Yes, I was careful. Yes, I think I know how I caught it. Wednesday afternoon -- before Thanksgiving -- I helped a woman at the post office. She had a pair of shopping bags full of wrapped gifts and was struggling. Her mask had fallen and her nose was exposed. I tried to explain to her that she should take her gifts to the UPS Store, because here they wouldn't put her packages in shipping boxes for her, but she just didn't get the difference. (Her time at the counter didn't go well.) All the while we were talking, I was watching her nostrils and wondering how she didn't know her mask had fallen. Anyway, the rep from the Dept of Health explained that as little as two minutes of direct conversation with someone not wearing a mask properly can spread the virus. So ...

I used to think that the saddest thing about 2020 was that merely acknowledging that "Black Lives Matter" was somehow controversial. I was wrong. Now I think that saddest thing about 2020 is that trying to help a grandmother with Christmas presents likely gave me covid. What a world!

PS Thanks, Bev!