Last Friday, my wife, who typically leaves our cottage at 6:00 AM for her drive to work, came home at 9:00 AM to say that she had just tested positive for COVID.
She works at a non-profit of last resort for mentally and physically disabled people. Some of her clients are in group housing; others still reside with their natural families.
One of the things my wife specializes in is “community involvement.” She focuses on a client’s needs to feel beneficial to society, which usually means finding “work” for the higher functioning clients who are younger, mobile, and who want to have a small income that they can use at their discretion.
Last Friday, she got a call from a young man’s mom who lives in Section 8 Housing and whose son is one of my wife’s clients. The young man in question is only 24 and a ball of energy, but the mother was calling to tell my wife that she, her son, and another family member had tested positive for COVID late Thursday at a clinic nearby.
The wife is tested for COVID twice a week. Friday is a typical “test” day. After that phone call, the on-staff nurse moved my wife to the front of the “wait” line, and sure enough, she tested positive. The Agency sent her home for a 10-day quarantine. When she arrived here she said she was already feeling weak and perhaps a cold was coming on.
My wife had previously received the Pfizer/Biontech vaccinations and booster.
I opted for the Moderna vaccinations and boosters.
Both of us still wear masks in public. The last time I went to the grocery store two Mondays ago, I was the only person wearing a mask.
Saturday, my wife went through two boxes of Kleenex with her sinuses flowing like a creek. She complained of bad headaches, and her joints ached. We knocked her out with some Nyquil and Benadryl during that first bad day. Sunday, she awoke, saying she felt better than the previous day and that her headache was gone. But she could not stand up and walk around because she was so dizzy. She also could not read books from her Kindle, so the only thing she had going was her iPad for Netflix, and Prime shows to lull her back to sleep.
Sunday, I tested myself using the Abbvie home kit the government sent me on request. I still showed negative. I focused on wiping down anything my wife touched, and I did piles of laundry and changed bed linen daily. She took two showers daily and made sure to brush her teeth and gargle mouthwash after every brushing.
I thought I’d test again 72-hours again to stretch out the use of the three remaining tests we had on a shelf. But when I awoke Tuesday, there was no need for that test as I knew I had COVID. I was unsteady on my feet and I could feel that irritating tickle in my throat - not a scratch, but a tickle which made me cought repeatedly - and I knew it was time to switch to all hands on deck to defeat the enemy which snuck into my body.
When I awoke Wednesday, yesterday, it felt as if a demon had stood over me during the night and dropped a cinderblock on my face. My temporal lobes were on fire and throbbed like two wadaikos, which a muscular Japanese drummer was attacking. My leaky eyes felt like they were both blackened from a good pounding in a bar fight. My nose felt like the septum was driven up into my skull by a swing from Gary Sheffield’s bat; instead of sinuses leaking (as my wife experienced her worst day) I felt pressure building in my sinuses. I stumbled to the mirror to see if every tooth in my head had broken off and hung by nerves in my mouth. I looked at myself, grimaced, and weakly slurred, “Almost extinct is the name of this screenshot.” At the darkest moment, I found my dark humor, so there was hope.
I’ve never felt a full-frontal headache like this in all my years of living.
All-day yesterday, I showered repeatedly, drank several shots of Nyquil, baby stepped back to bed, and wondered what was next. The many times I woke, I was still in CODE RED face pain; I drank Vitamin C and Zinc powder drinks (I had about four that day), and I kept refilling the Yeti with ice water. Anytime I woke from a fever dream, I drank an entire glass of ice water. My sinuses were not running, and it felt like magma building behind a volcano corona in my face.
The pain was so bad I finally pulled out the big guns: I took two 5 mg THC gummies (one is normal for a whole day of yard work), and I wished I had done this earlier as I was outside the pain late Tuesday night looking in, thinking, “What will tomorrow bring?” With those two gummies in me, I slept my first four hours of solid sleep.
Earlier today, Thursday, I awoke in a sheen of sweat. But the pounding pain all over my face was gone. My wife was on her feet. She made me a bowl of soup that I could not smell or taste. I ate for the first time in 48-hours. I drank probably two gallons of liquid today and can not recall urinating much as this stuff was steaming from my pores. One other thing: my joints all feel like they need WD-40 liberally sprayed on every moving part. I move ungracefully like a dizzy stick man carrying 200 pounds to the bathroom.
Showers were a reprieve yesterday during the worst of it. I took about six showers daily, alternating from very hot at the beginning to cold at the end. These washings and rinses removed the sweat toxins and helped me feel like I was killing enemies on my skin. These showers also helped me enjoy two to four hours of deep sleep. Then upon waking with cottonmouth, I would drink a whole 32-ounce Yeti of ice water, shower, sleep, repeat.
Yesterday, I wanted to begin journaling what I was going through on Fool, but my brain wasn’t working in conjunction with my stiff fingers. And my thinking was cloudy.
Today, I awake and see that my reading comprehension has somewhat returned to me. I no longer find myself standing with a toothbrush in hand, or a bath towel on my shoulder, wondering, “So, what was I supposed to be doing next?”
Also, earlier today, the impacted sinuses finally broke through their dikes. I’ve gone through two boxes of Kleenex too, and there is just no stop to this flood of toxins I keep coughing, and sneezing. But that tickle in my throat from Day 1 is finally gone too. Another thing: I expected the stuff coming out of my nose and mouth to be green or flaming magma, but it was clear, almost the consistency of water.
So there you have it.
COVID whacked two people who took every precaution.
Comparing notes with my wife, we both thought several times that the throat might be constricting, and we both worried, “Oh no, please don’t go down to the lungs.”
I am old (almost 70) and have scarred lungs from a bad case of pneumonia as a young boy. COVID never got past my throat to congest my chest. Same with my wife, and she has had severe allergy problems all her life. I will say this unequivocally: the vaccines and boosters undoubtedly saved our lives.
We never had to go to the hospital and ask for Paxlovid. My friend, the head Pharmacist for the CVS stores in the Keys, told me to only go to the ER if the face pain didn’t subside in 24 hours. We just trusted we were strong enough to avoid it worsening, and the vaccines and boosters would fight it off. It did. And now, we await to see if we have any long COVID symptoms in the coming weeks.
I’m tired, as though I’ve run a marathon with someone shooting bullets at my feet to keep me moving. I don’t ever want to go through this again, but looking at how this snuck up on two healthy immunized adults who obtained their boosters at the right time (my first booster was December 30, 2020), I urge everyone reading to get your second booster now if it is time. I scheduled my second booster for mid-June about three weeks ago, hoping to get the latest version of the constantly evolving Moderna boosters. My pharmacist friend tells me his stores have lines of youngsters from the hospitality industry who are just getting their first boosters because so many co-workers are calling in sick in Key West. These new cases have put the fear of COVID in the Millennials down here, and those recalcitrants who got the first two vaccines, but reneged on the boosters, are now beating it down to their local pharmacies and Publix supermarkets for the boosters.
Stay safe out there, folks, because most of us getting sick now are conscientious and do not want to spread this disease. Typing in my wife’s and my particulars to the federal website was a breeze, but trying to get the state of Florida to pick up that two more confirmed cases were down here in the Florida Keys was a fruitless task. Florida’s “reporting” of COIVD cases is under-reporting the two of us because we could never get the website to register our info correctly. I’ll try again tomorrow. But I wonder, how many people getting COVID and staying home for ten days are not even bothering to report their sickness to the State, the CDC, or their co-workers and friends?
Study those symptoms. It starts small like maybe cold is coming on, and then WHAM, the mother of all headaches, hits like a runaway train.
p.s. My wife returns to work next Tuesday, yet she and I both understand that there have been a lot of Day 7 - Day 10 minor “revisits” of COVID. So, neither of us are going out in public with our masks on - as usual - until we reach Day 10 all-clear.
p.p.s. I wish the Pandemic Board had never closed on Fool. There’s something going on out there in feeble reporting of new cases and we need to be made aware that this “thing” is no over by a long shot.