As I enter my last day of quarantine, I’ve coincidentally been getting a lot of questions on what testing positive for Covid-19 was like, what symptoms I had, and what recovery was like. I figured it’d be easier to collect all of my thoughts into one place as I reflect on what it’s like being the only person I know to have tested positive for the virus currently causing a worldwide upheaval.
It started on a Sunday, the day after my partner’s birthday, when we had several of her family members over. The week itself was the exact same as any other week, which is probably the scariest thing about contracting the virus; how it can pierce the seemingly normal operations of our lives.
It started with a feeling of being hot, which didn’t strike me as strange initially as it was a pretty warm October day. It got worse as the day went on however so I decided to switch to water as I figured something viral was coming on. I didn’t think it was Covid at first, as sometimes I’ll feel a fever coming on, but after exercising and eating some healthy food I get better pretty quickly. By the time night came around, my head felt like it was on fire.
The next day is when I felt the symptoms in full force. The heaviest symptom I felt wasn’t a cough or dry mouth, instead it was an intense feeling of malaise. The whole day I just felt hot, foggy and a general unease. Luckily I have a whole basement and a Netflix account, so at least having Covid allowed me to start Mindhunter from the very beginning.
By Tuesday, I felt a pressure in my chest so heavy that I can only equate to feeling to something like having someone heavy sitting on your entire upper body. My hands and legs felt like glass, brittle and aching every time I moved. I also forgot certain things, I would be talking to my partner when she came down but can’t for the life of me remember what exactly we talked about. When I slept, I vacillated between being soaked in sweat and shivering so hard my teeth hurt.
I don’t remember most of what happened Wednesday morning. I have vague recollections of getting some work done and playing Devil May Cry 2. Sometime around Wednesday evening, my head suddenly didn’t feel as hot anymore. I started to move again, slowly, and could actually enjoy the minestrone Rayna made me.
This was also when I got the email that I was positive for Covid-19. To back up a bit, at some point on that Monday I managed to find the energy to get down to my local hospital for a drive-thru nasal swab. Tests understandably take a while to process though, given the huge volume of people they have to test every day, so ironically by the time I got the test result back, I was on my way back to feeling normal.
By Thursday, the fever was gone, and all that was left was a cough. I talked to a nurse via a telehealth appointment, and the official advice from them is that the cough can linger for a number of weeks, but that contagiousness only lasts seven days from the onset of symptoms, or three days of no fever without fever-reducing medicine. Naturally, the tri-county health department called and told me that it’s actually 10 days from the onset of symptoms or at least five days of no fever. So. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The last two weeks of quarantine I’ve felt the cough reduce more and more each day, and my energy levels have returned to normal. Although one thing that was a little strange after the fever dissipated was an odd, metallic-like taste in my sinuses. I could smell/taste it with everything I ate, and thought at first it was the smell from a dirty towel.
There was also a weak feeling that persisted, which has made a return to my normal routine of exercising and eating well difficult to say the least. The week before this one especially was characterized by needing to sit down after standing up for a few minutes, inability to exert myself, and feeling intense muscle pain for days after a hard workout.
As my last day of quarantine approaches, I can feel myself returning to normal. The most interesting thing about the recovery from something like Covid-19 is that the rapidity of recovery is equitable to the rapidity of contracting it. I’m incredibly lucky that I only had a mild case, that I didn’t develop pneumonia afterwards, and that I work a remote job with a very understanding team of people who were willing to give me time off when I needed it.
I also want to give a special shout out to Rayna, who took care of me when I was in the worst of it. She took the necessary precautions and was able to bring me a steady supply of soup, bagels, and Sprite. I love you, babe.
If anyone has further questions or wants to discuss getting and recovering from Covid further, feel free to reach out. My quarantine may be over soon, but I’m still idling at home. I may have recovered but we’re still in a pandemic, and every precaution still counts.