Tuesday 31 August 2021

Virus diary #7

Day 7

This is the point where the disease gets dangerous for those who are so unlucky. I'm lucky. Nothing seems to be happening to my lungs, apart from some coughing. I think the single dose of vaccine that we did get, offers us some protection about the serious illness. Our bodies were able to recognise the virus and start fighting it properly before it could do any serious damage.

Taste and smell are still out of commission. I couldn't eat much food. I can't remember if it was my appetite, coughing, some disagreement or simply not making enough. I think we ate spring rolls? The days are all the same now that we are in house arrest. We wake up, use the computer, do housework, cook and eat a tasteless meal, and after that one of us takes a nap. We measure our temps twice a day. It is now at 37,5-38C. I would have taken a paracetamol and gone to work with this before the world got strange.

I seriously miss going outside. My SO has made it into a habit to throw out the bin bags and check for letters late at night. We are allowed to go out into our own garden, and the bags do need to go out, but it still feels like both a crime and the highlight of the day. Our energy is low. He gets winded from those few steps. 

I can't see anything in the dark, can't hear well (and my hearing has become one dimensional...I can't determine where sounds are coming from), can't smell or taste anything, and my sense of touch is still strangely disconnected. It is almost like walking on new snow. We can't feel if it has grass or sheer ice under it, so we need to walk carefully. I feel like a 90 year old woman. In fact, i know an actual 90 years old woman who is complaining about the same disconnect and numbness, and how it is affecting her hiking in the mountains...

I was able to concentrate enough after dark that I could play some Mario Kart. My mental energy is gradually improving, but with that comes the restlessness too. I keep myself from crying most times that I'm not distracted, from feeling trapped, the stomach pain, and the idea of never smelling again.

Monday 30 August 2021

Virus diary #6

 Day 6

The night was full of nightmares, about being stuck somewhere, hiding, or not being able or allowed to speak. I didn't sleep well at all and woke up with a headache. Coffee tastes hot and bitter, but it works.

I had ordered groceries to be delivered from the local supermarket today. My request was spamfiltered, but when they did find my order, the service was excellent. 

Little one is completely OK now. SO and I are still having low fevers, but his has gone considerably down. He doesn't seem to be as affected by the sensory "wrongness" anymore, but he is irritable and quick to make angry and upset. He coughs all the time and has a headache.

It could be that men and women handle illness differently, or that the two of us simply have different instinct around illness. When I don't feel well, I withdraw and typically become oversensitive to noises and other stimuli. This has also happened with COVID, even more than with normal colds and flus. He, on the other hand, becomes very vocal. There is a constant stream of noises that indicate pain or discomfort. The noises make me want to escape up through the ceiling. It takes more and more mental energy to keep a straight, compassionate face on. 

I don't like the idea that loss of smell can be permanent. I don't want to never again be able to smell and taste food, grass, rain, the flowers at work. Most of all I don't want to lose the smell of my loved ones. I was one of those mothers who sniffs my child's hair every day. Now even he doesn't have a smell. It is heartbreaking, and I'm not allowed to talk about it at home as it makes my SO feel bad. He believes he was the one who infected me. I don't think so. I think we both got infected at the same time.

I tried taking a nap in the afternoon, and got a dream about pulling up mutant, half-human fish. This is a classic nightmare that I often get from feeling sick!

Sunday 29 August 2021

Virus Diary #5

 Day 5

As expected, the results came back positive for both SO and LO. We had to have that difficult conversation all over again, only that SO's list was much shorter. He is a stay at home dad. I had to list everybody at work as well. It felt like we were talking to investigators trying to solve a mystery. In a way, we were. They thought that the virus had most likely come from a customer at work. We suspected the nursery. After all, media keeps reporting that the virus is spreading wildly among school children now. Going there was the only unusual thing we had done lately. LO had only gone there for a week when we got sick.

I still can't smell or taste anything apart from the most basic sensations of bitter, sweet, and spicy. I feared that salt didn't taste like anything either, but plain salt still tastes salty. Spicy is weird. I seem to be a lot more sensitive to spicy now than before. The thai chili tuna, which usually is one of my favourite foods, burns my mouth now. I still ate it.

My stomach is upset. I keep running to the bathroom, and it feels like I had eaten fire noodles the day before. It burns. The cramps were so bad that they woke me up in the middle of the night. I had dreams where I was curled up in pain on the floor, crying and breathless. I woke up feeling almost like that. This reminds me of the pain from ovarian cysts, or labour, or the worst periods when I was full of polyps and myomas. To be fair I have an appointment scheduled in early September to check for cysts and myomas, but this came out of nothing.

We are now confined to this apartment until 3.September. I called my father yesterday. He thought that sounded like something I wouldn't like at all. He is probably right, but going out is still not too tempting.

Saturday 28 August 2021

Virus Diary #4

 Day 4

My test coming back positive for COVID meant that the little one also had to get tested. His result would determine if all the other children in the nursery also needed a test. My SO, not having received his result yet, was technically not in isolation (even if he fell into the "Suspected COVID" category at this time), so he was allowed to come with him to the test station. Little one and I had woken up at 6. SO at 9. Their appointment was today at 17.

SO had the foresight to fill our freezer and fridge with easy food that night of day 2. I did some housework while they were at the test station, and wanted to have some lasagne ready for them when they came back. My sense of smell was now completely gone. It had started with the smell of "pus" or "crusts" that usually comes at the end of a common cold, when the nose has started to dry up a bit and the sense of smell is returning. Now this smell came before a total loss. I couldn't smell anything. Not even frying onions smelled of anything. Everything smelled as neutral as air coming out of an air purifier. I could still somewhat perceive if the air was hot or cold, humid or dry, but the sense of smell was just completely deleted from my nose.

The lasagne was hot, and I could taste some acidity from the tomatoes and some saltiness from the cheese. We had some ice tea with it. I could taste sweetness and some astringency from the tea, but apart from that, nothing had a smell or taste.

I still had a fever. For me, it never moved away from the 38-38,5C area. This isn't a high fever, and it felt strange that it could affect my sleep, dreams, and senses so much. I was dizzy, and it was hard to tell directions and temperatures apart. The only touch that didn't get translated into WRONG was the little guy's hugs and kisses. Even my husband's touches came through as WRONG, which i found very disturbing.

Testing positive means that I'm not allowed to leave the house for at least 10 days. That thought wasn't welcome, but I was still too sick to enjoy going out at this point. I tried to distract myself with some games, mostly Ingress and Pokemon go, but those games require walking in order to be played properly and I just couldn't concentrate. 

Friday 27 August 2021

Virus Diary #3

 Day 3

I got up at 8. I hadn't slept well and my dreams had been weird. My test result wasn't in yet. My head started spinning as soon as I got up, so my boss got another call. She made it clear that I can't come to work in this state. 

My entire body felt weird. Now I understood what my SO had been complaining about a couple of days ago, that his nerves was oversensitive and even wearing clothes was uncomfortable. Almost all sensation of touch was translated into "WRONG" by my brain. It was hard to feel the difference between hot and cold. My head was spinning, in the same way as it does if the ear canals are blocked by water, ear wax or a sinus infection. It wasn't hard to breathe or anything, there was just sort of a disconnect between my senses and my consciousness.  Worst of all was sticking my hands into water of any kind. It gave almost a fight or flight reaction. This was inconvenient, because housework still needed to be done, and it is important to wash our hands often when we are sick!

Making and eating dinner was exhausting. I was sweating, shivering, and constantly feeling like all my hairs were standing up. I couldn't decide if the feeling was pleasant or uncomfortable. My feet felt like they weren't fully in contact with gravity. This can be compared to the first sign of a THC high. I decided that I just wasn't used to having a fever.

The little guy seemed a lot better, his fever was gone, and they had gone out for a short trip to a park while I was busy with housework. After eating, I wanted to lie down for a short while to gather energy for the little boy's night routine. Exactly when I put my phone away to drift off, I got a message. My test came back positive.

This wasn't the message I wanted to give to my boss. She took it well. The nursery manager had just left for the day, so I sent a message through their app. After this I got a phone call from the city's health authorities, asking me to list every person I had been in contact with this week. With my head swimming from fever and lack of sleep, this wasn't an easy task. There was no nap. The rest of the evening was spent on phone calls and emails.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Virus Diary #2

Day 2

I woke up at 5.30. The agreement with my boss was that I would check my temp, and if it was back to normal and I was feeling better, it would be OK to come in. Unfortunately, it was still high. Not bad, just slightly high at 38,5C. I booked a COVID test because the workplace requires it, and went back to sleep.

A couple of hours later, I woke up from a smell. It was difficult to make out just what it was I was smelling. Was it coffee? A fart? Mature cheese? Feet? The smell was musty and brown, and could fit any of those things. If my brain would have been fully awake, I would have made the logical conclusion that it was cheese. My SO was eating breakfast next to me. He doesn't like coffee. A headache and cough had woken him up. 

I sat up, and my head started spinning. "Wow. It has been a long time since I felt like this!", I exclaimed to my SO. I had indeed not felt this bad since the flu in 2008. A tiny alarm in the back of my head was saying something about my sense of smell being off. My phone showed that my test was scheduled in a few hours.

"Have you taken this test before?", the nurse asked me, fully covered in gloves, plastic clothes, and a face shield. "Yes", I replied, and tried to think of something distracting and peaceful while I first opened my mouth, then tilted my head backwards so she could reach my nose. It was over quickly. My stamina was so bad that I decided to rent a scooter for the way back home. Walking is usually one of my favourite things.

We didn't get the test results this day. We all still had a fever. The little one had also developed a nasty diarrhoea, which my SO got the unfortunate task of dealing with while I was at the testing station. He took a walk late at night to get some groceries and fresh air. I put the little one to bed in the mean time, which took a while, since he was restless. His nose appeared to be stuffed.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Virus Diary #1

Media (at least in my country Norway) has been full of stories about the pandemic. The focus has been on the serious cases, the horror stories from hospital units where unlucky patients fight for their lives with severely damaged lungs.

I got a mild case of COVID. Maybe reading one of these blog posts will make someone recognise the signs of the infection, and decide to get tested. If only one person does that, then these posts will have served their purpose. I know that the infection is different from person to person; as a Reddit user put it, "Breakthrough COVID is a disease with random symptoms".

I'm vaccinated. My country has had a good supply of vaccines, and I'm in the age group that didn't come completely last in the queue. Unfortunately, the virus caught up with me before the second shot did.

Day 1

I picked our son up from the nursery at 3 in the afternoon. He was tired after playing outside, and he had completely refused to take his thick jacket off in the warm late summer day. When I arrived, he was sitting in the kitchen eating a snack. This must have been the first time he would rather be inside than outside. I asked the employee if she thought he was getting sick. She assured me that it was completely normal for the newcomers to get tired easily, their senses can be overloaded from the new situation with other kids everywhere.

I was also feeling tired and cold. My SO had been feeling unwell for a couple of days and didn't want to go to the nursery in case he had an infectious cold or something. When the little one just wanted to spend the rest of the day curled up on my lap, we decided to measure his temperature. We all had a low fever.

Now I had to contact the nursery and tell them that the little one wasn't coming in tomorrow, as well as my boss. She told me to stay away from work for as long as I have a fever. I asked if I could still come in and do something that didn't directly involve customers, but that was also not allowed.

Still hoping that I'd get up for work at 5.30 the next morning to go to work, I went to sleep on the sofa, to not disturb the others that early in the morning...