Covid Catches Up
"It will only be a couple of months" we all told ourselves. Well, two years later, and here we are. Covid is on the rise again, and guess who got it this time.< Last | Next >
I remember the early days of January in 2020 when we learned that the world was going to go into a mandatory quarantine until further notice. I was both disappointed that i would be missing more work, having been off as my brother flew home through two big airports, and i was also nervous about this mysterious new disease that was terrorizing the world. "It will only be a couple of months" we all told ourselves. How wrong we were...
Two years later and here we are. I am stood at a car show, telling hundreds of people about my EV and its ten year history within the city, a story for another time, when i learn that a family member who stayed at home due to not feeling well has just taken a covid test and had tested positive. I felt fine, and had not even had so much as the sniffles, but to learn i had potentially been spreading it for the last ten hours was unsettling. I took a covid antigen test myself as soon as i got back home to see if i had it too.
Great. Just how i wanted to spend my week. Not like i had anything big planned at the office this week or anything. I do realize i am a bit lucky in the grand scheme of things. The covid strain that started this pandemic was not well understood and caused severe medical issues with many people, however the covid strain most prominent today, is Omicron, a much less severe strain that sits in the upper airways in the throat and head rather than diving deep into the lungs. It is still deeply unpleasant, but nowhere near as severe. I was also vaccinated, with one booster as well (two Pfizer and a Moderna) so, ever the optimist, i expected this to be a fairly easy ride. I was wrong.
I was lucky at the beginning of the vaccine rollout. Somehow i had mistakenly been labelled in the government system as 'severe high risk due to medical illness' which was not true, but hey, their mistake, i went along with it. I wanted to be free from the plague, and so didn't correct it and so was in one of the first rounds of vaccinations locally. That meant i was protected early against the more violent strain from the beginning, but it did mean that it had worn down by the rise of the current strain. In short, i now had covid.
I have just taken the covid test, its about 5pm, and it's really not that bad. I feel no different, and even reached out to the office to ask what i can do from home while i am off. I did have to cancel my plans for tomorrow at short notice, but i was able to find someone to go in my place, so it has all worked out. I spent the remainder of the day mainly watching youtube, looking up how the antigen test works, and beginning to write this.
The tests are really quite fascinating. First, you start with the absolutely horrible stick-up-the-nose, and then mix the nasal swab with a carrier fluid. You then put a few drops of the fluid in the test well. It then flows through capillary action through a large quantity of dyed antigens that then bind (or not) to the covid particles in the fluid. As it wicks through the test, it ends up dragging the dyed antigens, bound to a sample or not, along for the ride. These then pass over a line of dyeless antigens fixed to the paper, the 'T' line on the test, and if the sample contains the virus, the particles bind there too, thereby fixing some of the dyed antigens in place. The rest of them, or all if the test is negative, make it through to the second line on the test, labelled 'C', which is a second line of antigens glued in place designed to bind to the colored dye on the antigens from the start. This means the second line will always appear and is used as a self test on the test's performance. No second line, invalid test. Simple as that. It's really quite cool.
Night has fallen, and covid finally has its claws in me. I am freezing to death, shaking so violently i can hardly stand, and exhausted, far more than usual. Maybe i wont be able to work from home. Let's see what the morning brings.
Literally only got out of bed maybe four times today. I feel really awful. I am all stuffed up, can hardly breathe, and i am not thinking clearly at all. It's hard to describe how i am feeling, especially in this foggy state. I was naïve to think this would be an easy ride. This is a mutant strain of a dangerous virus, and its reaction to my cells, and in turn my body's reaction to it's presence was unpredictable. How was i supposed to know what it was actually going to do to me? It was silly and foolish to think anything else. Side note; 'covid dreams' are really bizarre.
Well i got up today. Thats an improvement. Still feel absolutely miserable, but i have a bit more energy. I spent the day watching youtube mainly. Saw a couple of really interesting videos by people who had covid and its effect on them, such as this one by Hank Green, and this one by the channel 'Be Smart'. The first video is an entertaining adventure with someone who's covid caused him to lose his sense of smell, and how that affects taste. I was lucky to not have lost my sense of smell or taste, but it is amusing to see what can come from it. The second video is a more science focussed video about how covid is changing, and how it is still spreading, and what to expect from the new strains. It also goes into a bit of detail in answering a question a few of you may be having reading this. Why did we all get the vaccine if it didn't stop me from caching the virus? Did it not work?
Basically, in a nutshell, the vaccine does work, it's just not the silver bullet we had been led to believe. Studies have found that those who are vaccinated have a much easier time with the virus than those who have not, and not only that but those who have not been vaccinated are nearly twice as likely to need hospitalization than those who are. In short, get the vaccine if you have not. I am triple vaccinated and i'm finding it rough, i can't imagine what it would be if i was not.
Not that covid hasn't been a piece of work so far, but the pain i am experiencing tonight is on another level. The fever, fine, the freezing to death, easy, the shaking, a walk in the park, but the sore throat that hit me tonight...
Even the tiny amount of saliva you swallow without thinking about it causes the most debilitating pain you can imagine, like literally drop you to your knees shaking, edge of passing out level of pain, but every 5 to 15 seconds. I genuinely would not wish this on anyone. I cant possibly imagine what the first version of this virus was like if this is the mild version! It's nearly 4am now, and i am in more agony than when i ripped my finger open after getting it caught in a spinning engine clutch. The others in the house who also have the virus are lucky to have not had this.
Do everything in your power to not get this virus. It is horrible.
It's now mid day and i am still in a severe amount of pain. The throat pain that hit me last night is still with me, but has changed from intermittent life ending to constant unbearable, so it is a bit less. Also, to rub salt in this freshly cut wound, i now have a bad cough that makes it hurt more. I am trying everything i can find on the internet to try to lessen the pain. I have tried honey water, i have tried cough syrup, i have tried throat lozenges, heat, ice, laying down, sitting up, sweet, salty, everything. The pain is unbearable and i can barely speak too. A couple of sentences here or there is all i can really manage today.
Pain is beginning to lessen today, but i have this weird feeling like there's a mild acid eating through my skin. I can however see the light at the end of the tunnel and i am hopeful its daylight, and not the headlamp of on an oncoming train. Not going to push it with my voice as it is still weak, but i am beginning to feel better. I spent most of the day on the couch looking through the window watching the fish in the pond swim around. Koi are smart, and so hey are pretending to act all hungry, hoping to be fed again for the fourth or fifth time today. It's amazing how big some of them have grown, even just this summer. Some of them have grown to over a foot in length!
Today was the first day i actually feel like a human agin. I was up early today too, 7am! Spent the day working on the website replacing a couple of temporary menus and links that have always irritated me with some more permanent replacements. I also upgraded the search bar on the website to make it run a bit faster and improve its grep search capability. I even sat down and watched a movie with my also sick family (The Da Vinci Code if you are curious). I was definitely writing code a bit slower than i normally would, and not fully processing the movie at some points, but i think i am finally coming through this. Still fairly tired, but finally feeling better. As the famous saying goes, you can't appreciate what you have until you have to go without. I am standing again, no longer in constant pain, feel awake and alert, and was able to do some of the things i really enjoy again! Still have a bad cough, but it no longer hurts as bad and that is just about it for symptoms now.
Technically speaking, according to the current guidelines from BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC), a covid quarantine is "five days from the beginning of symptoms", amusingly, regardless of current symptoms at the end of five days, meaning i am technically free to go today, but somehow that just feels wrong and premature. I would have said at least one symptom free day past that if i was making the rules, but it is what they have said. For myself, i had previously chosen to wait for at least one symptom free day past the five day quarantine, and so i am going to stick to that. I would want that if i was at the office and someone else was off, so i will hold myself to the same standards. I really enjoy my job, and as much as i do miss it, and want to return, i also respect it too much to potentially bring this virus in and infect the others. If it was earlier in the week, i would be super excited to get back to work tomorrow, i even reached out today to see what the office's feelings would be on my return to work (i.e. masks, distancing, etc). Although they did want me to back in today, i insisted that Monday would be my grand return. Instead i am spending the day doing laundry and such to make sure i am rid of this virus, and will take the weekend to make absolutely sure i have fully recovered.
If you are not vaccinated, do so. If you distrust the vaccines, learn the truth about them. Most importantly, not from your third cousin Jeff who heard it from a friend of his uncle, but rather the cold hard unforgiving science. Vaccines are not the enemy, Covid19 is the enemy. Do your part to protect those around you and avoid getting it yourself. I thank you for doing so and everyone else does too.