I recently survived what may become a rite of passage for most Americans– COVID-19.
Yes, Virginia, I am vaccinated and boosted but nonetheless caught the dreaded illness. Cases in the Delaware Valley have been increasing, so chances of encountering the virus are also rising.
Luckily for me, I contracted one of the Omicron variants rather than the original strain, which killed so many. At last count, more than 1 million U.S. residents have died of the disease since it crossed over from China and began its deadly spread in early 2020. Nearly everyone, it seems, knows someone who died from COVID.
For two days, I had a sinus headache and felt tired. I chalked it up to the extremely high pollen count, triggering allergies.
The third morning I woke up knowing something was definitely wrong. My headache was worse, I was achy, running a fever, congested, and sneezing. My throat hurt. And the lethargy. What can I say? I could barely move.
Was it a bad cold, influenza, or COVID? We had some instant tests, and I used one.
After 15 endless minutes, I knew the results.
The dreaded double lines appeared that indicated a COVID positive test.
I called my doctor, who was very reassuring, and set up a telemedicine visit.
I sat down in from of my smartphone, she took one look at me and said, “Well, you definitely look sick.”
At this point in the pandemic, my doctor told me, her patients are doing well on an anti-viral medication, and, if I took it, I would have a 90 percent chance of not being hospitalized. I liked those odds. It had one downside, a terrible taste in my mouth for hours after swallowing the pills.
I had planned to do some tasks for work that day and decided to go ahead and try to get those done. COVID had other ideas.
After accomplishing little for a couple of hours, I gave in, left my home office, went to the guest bedroom, and laid down. I “rested” for three days.
Tea, chicken soup, books, and my iPad kept me company. I also said a few prayers and am thankful for my family and friends who also prayed for me. My dog checked on me often, probably wondering why Mommy wasn’t playing ball or taking her to the park.
On the fourth day, the medication began to kick in, and I started to feel better. By the fifth day, it was like a curtain lifted. Suddenly, I felt like myself again.
I kept to the doctor’s rules: self-isolating for five days, followed by wearing a mask around other people for another five days. So far, my husband has not succumbed.
When I think of how ill some people I knew were when COVID first hit–including a friend’s brother who was placed on a ventilator (he survived) — I feel lucky. Lucky that I caught a milder version of the killer virus. And lucky there is now an easily prescribed treatment.
More and more, people tell me they’ve caught COVID twice. It’s become another bug we have to live with, like colds and the flu, as the pandemic becomes endemic. And life goes on.