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COVID-19 Diary: My Experience with Coronavirus

Updated March 16, 2021

Welcome to my COVID-19 diary. My husband Daniel and I both caught the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 2020 when the disease was relatively rare in the United States. We had just returned from Spain and Italy where the pandemic outbreak was spreading like wildfire. Four days after returning to the states, we both began to feel sick.

The below COVID-19 diary documents our experience with Coronavirus well as the progression of the illness and our symptoms day by day. Thankfully we both had a relatively mild cases and did not require hospitalization – although it was touch and go there for a while. Long-term recovery from Coronavirus has been more challenging, however, especially in my case. It took almost a full year before I felt completely recovered from my bout with COVID-19 and was able to add the final chapter to my COVID-19 diary.

Table of Contents

Prologue: A Hurried Trip Home from Europe

Daniel and I left the United States in October 2019 to follow our dream of traveling around the world. We had been making our way across Europe for six months and were in Florence news broke of the Coronavirus Outbreak in Italy. So we fled to Spain. As the Coronavirus spread around the world, it became clear to us that there was no outrunning this virus so we returned to the United States.

Since we had been traveling in areas with an active Coronavirus outbreak, we rented a secluded cabin in Washington State for a couple of weeks to isolate ourselves as a precaution. We never dreamed that we’d actually get the virus, however.

Well, surprise! We did.

Looking back that the experience now, I’m convinced we caught the virus on the plane ride home from Europe. We were packed into an airplane full of passengers with no empty seats. They guy sitting next to me was ill and coughed the entire time. This is back before anyone wore masks and in fact we were advised against it. I have no way of knowing for sure, of course, if that’s how we caught the virus but I find it convenient to blame that sick guy on the plane.

Thankfully, air travel is much safer these days but I feel traumatized by the experience and I still refuse to get into an airplane.

A photo of Daniel and me traveling home from Spain on March 14, 2020.

Part 1: Before the Diagnosis

COVID-19 Diary Day 0 – A visit to the beach

Monday, March 16, 2020
Global Cases – 187,870 cases
Global Deaths – 7489 deaths
United States Cases – 4,740
Washington State Cases – 904

Today was our first full day at the cabin. Since we recently arrived in the United States from Europe, we decided to lay low for a couple of weeks and minimize our contact with other people. We brought tons of food with us and felt prepared.

Daniel and I were both tired and feeling the effects of jet lag. I’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies for a few weeks now and have been sneezing a lot. I was congested and had post-nasal drip which was making me cough occasionally.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were eager to explore the area. We drove our rental car to a beach and there were more people around than expected. We waited until no one was in the parking lot and then made a run for a section of the beach which had no people. The beach was at low tide and I talked to my dad on the phone while we strolled along. But we felt uneasy about the other people around and didn’t stay very long.

On the way back to the cabin we decided to get gas. Daniel wore a glove and did not touch the keypad or the nozzle. We did not go inside the station.

The cabin has a small kitchen but we figured out how to make it work. There was no stove or oven, but there was one induction burner with one pot and one skillet, as well as a microwave. I heated up a pre-cooked turkey breast in the microwave for dinner and steamed some broccoli in the pot.

COVID-19 Diary: Practicing social distancing at the beach.

Practicing social distancing at the beach.

News for March 16, 2020: Today the Bay Area announced the lockdown of seven counties which are now under stay-at-home orders. President Trump gave a news conference and recommended that people avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. I published a blog post about our travels home from Europe called Our Journey Home: Airline Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 Diary Day 1 – We start to feel sick

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Global Cases – 197,791
Global Deaths – 7940
United States Cases – 6349
Washington State Cases – 1012

I woke up way too early today. I was still suffering from jet lag and felt a little out of it. It was Saint Patrick’s Day today but neither of us really felt like celebrating.

I spent most most of the day editing photos from our recent trip to Florence. While we were traveling through Europe, I blogged about each place we visited but it was hard to keep up. I was about a month behind and hoped to use this time at the cabin to get caught up.

In the afternoon, I decided to go for a walk. The beach was too crowded yesterday for my liking and I stayed closer to the cabin this time. I asked Daniel to join me and and he declined. He was not feeling very well. I found a local beach beach and explored it on foot, admiring the view.

By the time I returned to the cabin I didn’t feel very well either. We were both tired, achy, and had sore throats. It felt like my lymph nodes were a little swollen. My seasonal allergies were in full force and I was sneezing and a bit congested. Neither of us had a fever.

We cooked a steak for dinner in the frying pan and boiled some little potatoes as a side dish.

News for March 17, 2020: The United States and Canada announced that they will suspend all non-essential travel between the two countries. California Governor Gavin News said California schools will likely be closed through the rest of the school year. Governor David Ige asked visitors to postpone their vacations to Hawaii.

COVID-19 Diary Day 2 – Daniel gets tested for COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Global Cases – 218,455
Global Deaths – 8938
United States Cases – 9,285
Washington State Cases – 1187

When Daniel got up he had a low-grade fever. We have a thermometer with us that we bought in Europe so the reading was in Centigrade. We did the conversion to Fahrenheit and his fever was 99.5 degrees. A few hours later it climbed to 101 degrees along with chills and a dry cough. This was the point at which I started to really worry.

I did some research and found a local clinic that had just opened a COVID-19 drive-though testing facility. I called and discuss Daniel’s symptoms with a nurse who determined that he was eligible to be tested due to his fever and our recent travels. She registered Daniel in their system and instructed us to drive over right away.

We changed out of our pajamas and prepared for the 35-minute drive to the clinic. The hospital had signs directing patients for COVID-19 testing to the back parking lot. We did not get out of the car. A nurse approached and took a sample from both of his nostrils after confirming his identity. The cotton swab triggered a coughing fit and he barely held it until she got her arm out of the way.

We drove back to the cabin. Daniel had taken some Acetaminophen earlier in the day but it wore off and his fever spiked to 101.5. So he took some more Acetaminophen and felt a little better. I browned some ground chicken in the skillet to make a Bolognese sauce and served it with spaghetti for dinner.

COVID-19 Diary: This way to drive-through COVID-19 testing

This way to drive-through COVID-19 testing

News for March 18, 2020: There were now confirmed cases of Coronavirus in all 50 states in America. Two members of congress reported that they have tested positive for Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Diary Day 3 – Daniel fights a fever and spends the day sleeping

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Global Cases – 243,655
Global Deaths – 10,007
United States Cases – 13,726
Washington State Cases – 1376

I got up before Daniel this morning and finished my blog post on Florence. I really liked Florence and took a bajillion photos so it was a really long post as a result: Florence 4 Day Itinerary: Birthplace of the Renaissance.

Daniel’s fever was a little lower today – he had a low-grade fever of around 99.5. He was super wiped out and spent most of the day sleeping.  He had chills and a body ache.

I continued to feel like I had a bad cold. I was tired and achy and coughing a little. But I wasn’t feeling that bad and I was starting to get bored. The weather was gorgeous and sunny outside but I knew I couldn’t step a foot out of the cabin until we received the test results back.

So I spent the day cooking. I made a sweet potato and apple skillet hash with kale and chicken sausages for lunch. For dinner we decided to throw some cannellini beans in with the leftover pasta sauce and it was actually pretty good.

After dinner we watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark on Netflix Party with my stepson, Brendan. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that allows people in different locations to watch the same movie and comment on it in a private chatroom. We made fun of the movie the entire time and it was pretty fun.

News for March 19, 2020: Cases of Coronavirus in the United States soared by more than 40% in just 24 hours. Today the United States State Department issued a Level Four travel advisory to all Americans warning them not to travel internationally. China reported no new locally transmitted infections for the first time. The California governor ordered the entire state on lockdown.

COVID-19 Diary Day 4 – Daniel’s fever breaks

Friday, March 20, 2020
Global Cases – 282,395
Global Deaths – 11,822
United States Cases – 19,843
Washington State Cases – 1524

I felt really wiped out today. I have been occasionally taking Benadryl at night to help me sleep since I was so jet-lagged, but I forgot last night. So I woke up way too early and I felt exhausted. My symptoms were a little worse – I was coughing a lot and blowing my nose constantly. I felt miserable at being cooped up inside.

Daniel’s fever broke. Daniel usually tends to run pretty cold, however, so when he had a temperature of 98.6 it was actually a little on the high side for him. By the end of the evening it climbed back up to 99.5.

We brought lots of nice large potatoes with us to make baked potatoes but we don’t have an oven so we had to get creative. Daniel boiled the potatoes and then skillet fried and mashed them. It worked just fine.

News for March 20, 2020: Today Governor Cuomo signed the “New York State on Pause” executive order instructing all New Yorkers to stay at home.  There were 8403 documented cases of COVID-19 in New York as of today. General Motors announced it will help produce ventilators to battle the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Diary Day 5 – We feel a little better but begin to feel chest congestion

Saturday, March 21, 2020
Global Cases – 307,037
Global Deaths – 13,034
United States Cases – 26,706
Washington State Cases – 1793

Daniel and I both took NyQuil before we went to bed last night and today we could barely function. I was in a NyQuil-induced fog until after lunch.

Daniel had no fever at all today and his body ache was starting to diminish. If he hadn’t read online about the typical progression for COVID-19, he might have thought he was better. But we knew that the illness tends to hang on for a while and most patients typically developed chest congestion in the latter stages.

I realized that I couldn’t smell anything at all today. My sense of smell was completely gone. It didn’t feel like I was just plugged up a little – this was something different.

Two of our good friends were teaching a yoga and meditation class online and I joined for awhile. I did a little yoga but I was too tired to participate much. Mostly I was happy just to see their faces and feel some connection with the outside world.

Daniel and I spent the rest of the day watching The Mandalorian. We’d been hearing all about this show from our friends and hadn’t been able to watch it because DisneyPlus is not yet available in Europe. The show is awesome. And don’t even get me started on Baby Yoda. ADORABLE!

We had steak again for dinner. By the end of the day, Daniel started to feel a little bit of chest congestion for the first time.

News for March 21, 2020: I published a new blog post about our illness and isolation in the cabin: Self-Quarantine Blog Day 6: Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results. The death toll from the Coronavirus in the United States passed 300 and the Governor of California urged young people to stop going to the beach.

Part 2: After the Diagnosis

COVID-19 Diary Day 6 – We get the COVID-19 diagnosis

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Global Cases – 335,403
Global Deaths – 14,611
United States Cases – 34,071
Washington State Cases – 1996

This morning Daniel received the phone call that we’ve been anxiously waiting for – he has tested positive for COVID-19. It was a really surreal experience. We spent the rest of the day coming to terms with the diagnosis and informing our family and friends.

Since we won’t be able to leave the cabin for a while, I went through all of our garbage and sorted out the food scraps so we could store them in the freezer. It was gross but it could have been a lot worse. Thankfully I couldn’t smell anything at all.

We have a lot of potatoes so Daniel decided to make a potato soup for dinner. It looked amazing but I could barely taste it thanks to my absent sense of smell. Boo.

By the end of the day, Daniel and I both noticed more tightness and restriction in our lungs. It was noticeably a little harder to breathe and our dry coughing increased. It seemed like the illness was moving to a new phase.

News for March 22, 2020: For the first time, Japan’s Prime Minister hinted that postponing the Tokyo Olympics is a possibility. Washington DC’s Governor announces that she will deploy the national guard to prevent cherry blossom crowds in the nation’s capitol.

COVID-19 Diary: Daniel has the sick

Daniel has the sick

COVID-19 Diary Day 7 – We continue to feel chest congestion

Monday, March 23, 2020
Global Cases – 378,849
Global Deaths – 16,514
United States Cases – 44,054
Washington State Cases – 2221

After the excitement from yesterday’s COVID-19 diagnosis, today was a calmer day. I made turkey stock from scratch and then used it to make a turkey and rice soup. I couldn’t taste very well due to my diminished sense of smell but from what I could tell it was pretty good. Daniel confirmed that he couldn’t smell anything either.

A friend stopped by to bring us some extra groceries and left them on the porch. Somehow she managed to find 4 rolls of toilet paper – hooray! We waved to her through the window. She’s the first person that we’ve seen for days.

Daniel’s chest continued to feel inflamed and he experienced a burning sensation in his lungs. He had some localized pain in his back and wasn’t sure if it was due to his lungs or back pain from the bed we’re sleeping on. It was harder for him to breathe and he worried that the illness could take a bad turn at any moment. He learned that a friend was hospitalized on Day 12 of the illness after experiencing mild symptoms up to that point and we worry even more.

News for March 23, 2020: Today I published a new blog post about our COVID-19 diagnosis: It’s Official: Daniel and I have COVID-19. Governor Jay Inslee signed a stay-at-home order for all residents of Washington State. The Surgeon General told the United States that “this week it’s going to get bad.” Global stock markets sank.

COVID-19 Diary Day 8 – We almost go to the Emergency Room

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Global Cases – 422,829
Global Deaths – 18,909
United States Cases – 44,054 (I don’t think this is right because it’s the same as yesterday)
Washington State Cases – 2469

Daniel felt a lot worse today. He was experiencing shortness of breath and felt like he may not be getting enough oxygen. He was lightheaded and felt pressure in his face and hands. His lungs felt constricted which seemed reminiscent of pneumonia symptoms.

Daniel was also feeling very anxious. The symptoms for anxiety and COVID-19 can be very similar so it was hard for him to distinguish between the two.

He called the virus hotline at the local clinic and spoke to a nurse. He was told to stay at home unless it was an emergency, but was also advised that COVID-19 symptoms can progress very quickly from manageable to critical. If we felt like it was an emergency we were supposed to go to the Emergency Room or call 911.

I didn’t feel great today either, although not as bad as Daniel. I was also feeling some chest constriction and experiencing a dry cough. I was feeling anxious about Daniel and worried at the possibility of driving him to the Emergency Room. How was that supposed to even work when we were both super contagious with COVID-19?

We weren’t sure what to do and decided to sit tight for a while longer. The hotline nurse also suggested that we could be dehydrated so we drank a lot of water and watched the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. By the end of the movie, Daniel had relaxed and was feeling a little better.

He felt well enough to cook some bison burgers for dinner which were delicious. We used pieces of bread instead of hamburger buns and sliced our last avocado as a topper.

By the end of the evening Daniel started to sneeze a lot. He had a runny nose and his cough seemed to be more productive. This seemed like a good sign.

News for March 24, 2020: Japan and the International Olympics Committee announce that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed by about one year. The United States sees the country’s deadliest day with 160 deaths. Australia bans overseas travel.

COVID-19 Diary Day 9 – My sense of smell starts to return

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Global Cases – 471,036
Global Deaths – 21,284
United States Cases – 69,047
Washington State Cases – 2580

Daniel felt a lot better today, which was a huge relief.  He had less chest congestion and for the first time in a few days he could catch his breath and really breathe. His other symptoms had significantly diminished. He still had a productive cough and sniffles.

My symptoms were about the same -  I coughed occasionally and had some chest congestion and felt fatigued. My symptoms did seem better than yesterday, however.

My sense of smell was beginning to return but it was really faint. I stuck my nose straight into the compost bowl and could catch the faintest whiff of stink. It was very encouraging. Daniel still couldn’t smell anything though.

We felt well enough to spend some time working on our blogs today. While we were working, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the window. It was a momma deer and her two adolescent youngsters going for a walk through the yard. We were delighted.

Daniel made eggs and bacon for breakfast today and I could actually smell the bacon frying. He simmered lamb chops all day in some tomato sauce with olives and served it over spaghetti for dinner. I’m glad that my sense of taste was improving because it tasted really good.

We were both feeling optimistic that we may have finally turned a corner.

News for March 25, 2020: The Senate passed a massive $2 trillion Coronavirus spending bill. Coronavirus cases in New York skyrocketed to over 30,000 and the city set up makeshift morgues in anticipation of the deaths to come. Heir to the British throne Prince Charles tested positive for Coronavirus. Trump said that he wanted America “opened up and raring to go by Easter” to avoid an economic catastrophe.

Sunset from the beach.

Sunset from the beach. This photo is from a few days ago as we can’t leave the cabin right now.

COVID-19 Diary Day 10 – Two steps forward one step back

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Global Cases – 529,614
Global Deaths – 23,714
United States Cases – 83,545
Washington State Cases – 3207

Daniel continued to feel better today. He still coughed occasionally but he experienced less chest congestion than he had a few days ago. I felt a little worse today. I was really fatigued and my chest felt constricted. It was a little discouraging.

We started watching a new show today – Star Trek: Picard. CBS All Access is offering a free one month’s trial right now so we signed up and plan to cancel once we are finished. We’re enjoying it so far.

I impulsively put a call out on Facebook asking all my friends to send selfies. My post had over 150 comments (and counting). I spent all afternoon laughing at all the selfies and commenting on them. It was was super fun.

Daniel and I decided to extend our cabin rental for a few additional days. We had planned to leave on Monday but I don’t think we’ll be ready to go by then. We want to make sure we are fully recovered when we leave. It’s funny – a few days ago I was dying to get out of the cabin. Now the thought of leaving too soon has me worried. Agoraphobia anyone?

We had steak and corn on the cob for dinner last night. Yum!

News for March 26, 2020: Today there were some sobering new milestones for the Coronavirus – the number of global cases surpassed 500,000 and the United States death toll surpassed 1,000. Moreover, the number of Coronavirus cases in the United States topped that of China for the first time. America is Number One! Yay?

COVID-19 Diary Day 11 – We continue to feel a little better

Friday, March 27, 2020
Global Cases – 597,252
Global Deaths – 27,365
United States Cases – 104,671
Washington State Cases – 3723

I felt a little better today – less pressure in my lungs and chest congestion. In the morning I sneezed a lot and had a runny nose. Daniel felt some of his chest congestion returning. We both still cough occasionally.

We both felt well enough to spend a lot of the day working on our blogs. Daniel is working on a post for the last city we visited in Spain before we had to leave – Granada. I put this COVID-19 diary together and started researching some ideas for a web site logo. I’ve been wanting to create a logo for A Rambling Unicorn but never had the time when we were traveling. I have plenty of time now I guess.

We saw some more deer in the yard.

Daniel and I will leave this cabin rental in five days. We don’t have anything lined up yet because we wanted to wait until we were fully recovered and weren’t sure how long that would take. We are both feeling a lot better, however, and confident that we’ll be healthy enough to leave next week . So we spent a lot of time yesterday looking at various short-term furnished apartment rentals. Neither of us has the energy to deal with a long-term rental or the hassle of furnishing an apartment. Moving is THE WORST.

We defrosted the last of our ground meat to make bison burgers last night. Star Trek: Picard continues to be entertaining. All of my friends are raving about the Netflix Show Tiger King so I’m looking forward to checking it out when we are done with Picard. We haven’t watched this much television in a long time.

News for March 27, 2020: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he tested positive for Coronavirus – this just weeks after he boasted of shaking hands with Coronavirus patients. British Secretary of State for Health was also diagnosed with the virus. After Trump’s feud with the governor of Michigan, she reported that vendors were not necessary medical supplies to the state. I published my COVID-19 Diary.

The number of Coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 100,000 while Italy’s death toll climbed to over 9,000.

COVID-19 Diary Day 12 – Daniel begins to regain his sense of smell

Saturday, March 28, 2020
Global Cases – 664,873
Global Deaths – 30,943
United States Cases – 124,697
Washington State Cases – 4310

Daniel felt a little worse today than he has the last couple of days. He complained of some minor chest congestion and a sore throat. But overall he is still feeling a lot better than he did last week. Also his sense of smell is starting to return – he could just barely smell the apple and sweet potato hash I made for lunch today. So that is a very good sign.

I continue to feel about the same. I still cough and sneeze occasionally and feel a little fatigued, but otherwise I’m feeling better. My sense of smell is not back at 100% but it’s a lot better than it was a couple of days ago. I think I’ll be ok to leave the cabin in another day or two and go on a short walk. I’m a little worried our car may not start since we haven’t driven it in over a week so that will probably be my first order of business.

Today Daniel and I booked our next lodging. We have rented another furnished apartment – this time in Seattle so we are closer to family . I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to spend any time exploring our current location at all which I was looking forward to, but such is life.

It’s Saturday which for me means it’s “Blog Post Saturday“. I’m an active member of an online Facebook group called Female Travel Bloggers. On Saturdays we have a weekly event where we share our latest blog posts with each other. It’s been a fun way to meet some other bloggers and get ideas on how to improve my blog.

I made chicken and rice soup again from scratch (including making my own chicken broth). We finished watching the first season of Star Trek: Picard. it was really good and I’m a little disappointed that it’s over.

News for March 28, 2020: Today Daniel published a blog post about the last city we visited before we left Europe: Granada, Spain – The Last Stronghold of Moorish Europe. The CDC issued a travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. The NYPD reported nearly 700 positive Coronavirus cases with about 12% of its workforce out sick. Trump issued a statement refusing to comply with key transparency measures in the Coronavirus stimulus bill.


Hello from two sickies in isolation at the cabin!

COVID-19 Diary Day 13 – Our last day in isolation

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Global Cases – 722,435
Global Deaths – 33,997
United States Cases – 142,537
Washington State Cases – 5001

Daniel and I both felt better today than we did yesterday. Daniel reported feeling less chest congestion. I was less fatigued and coughed less. Our symptoms are consistently feeling pretty minor at this point.

Since it’s been about four days since either of us felt like we experienced significant symptoms, we agreed that today would be our last “official” day in isolation. We have officially complied with the CDC’s steps on when to discontinue home isolation. Tomorrow we will make our first official foray outside of the cabin. I’m pretty excited about it. And a little nervous too.

I noticed that the kitchen sponge has a nasty smell again today. Daniel and I first noticed that the sponge stank when we moved into the cabin – but then we both lost our sense of smell so I kindof forgot all about it. Well the smell is back. It’s the only time that I’ve been grateful to smell a stinky kitchen sponge.

It was another pretty quiet day in isolation. I played casual games on my phone most of the day. We watched the movie The Fifth Element (a classic!). Daniel made pasta carbonara for dinner.

News for March 29, 2020: A slowdown of Coronavirus transmission in Washington State suggests that containment strategies are working. West Virginia reported its first Coronavirus-related death. President Trump said he would extend nationwide social distancing guidelines for another 30 days. During the same press conference, President Trump bashed Governor Jay Inslee as a “nasty person”.

Part 3: Leaving Isolation

COVID-19 Diary Day 14 – I go for a walk that is way too ambitious and deal with anxiety

Monday, March 30, 2020
Global Cases – 786,228
Global Deaths – 37,820
United States Cases – 163,479
Washington State Cases – 5317

Daniel and I left the cabin today for the first time since I drove him to the clinic to get a test for Coronavirus (COVID-19). I was eager to leave but a little nervous too. During our first days of confinement, I was bouncing off the walls and desperate to go outside. But that changed the longer we stayed here. I got used to being inside.

Today was actually a pretty rough day for me. I went for a walk in the morning and Daniel and I ran some errands after lunch in the car. Leaving the cabin was harder than I expected. I felt a lot of anxiety about leaving the cabin. I was a nervous wreck for pretty much the entire day.

More details are available in the following blog post: The Anxiety of Emerging from Isolation.

Daniel and I watched movies on my laptop for the rest of the day which was a welcome distraction. He picked up a pizza for dinner. It was nice to take a night off of cooking and dishes.

News for March 30, 2020: Amazon and Instacart grocery delivery workers walked off their jobs to demand better better pay and treatment due to the Coronavirus. The FDA approved chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 despite inconclusive clinical proof of their efficacy.


Photo from my the walk I took on my first day out of isolation. In hindsight trying to walk a mile was way too much. It’s taking me a lot longer to recover than I originally anticipated.

COVID-19 Diary Day 15 – Daniel and I sterilize the cabin

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Global Cases – 859,032
Global Deaths – 42,322
United States Cases – 189,445
Washington State Cases – 5570

I felt a lot better today than compared with yesterday. Less anxious. I was really tired, which is common after a day when I experience high levels of anxiety. Now that my COVID-19 symptoms have diminished my seasonal allergies are more noticeable. I’m sneezing a lot and congested, like I was before I caught the virus. Daniel consistently continues to feel better.

We disinfected the cabin today and used Lysol wipes and antibacterial cleaners to sanitize all high-touch surfaces. We couldn’t do much about the floors or the furniture but we cleaned every handle, knob, light switch and surface that we could think of. It’s a pretty small cabin so it actually didn’t take as long as I had anticipated.

I planned to go outside again today just to get some fresh air but I didn’t. I did take a long hot bath, however, which was absolutely lovely. Afterwards I felt better than I have in days.

Daniel concocted a meal to use up some of the last food in our refrigerator – steamed cauliflower with ham and a side of corn on the cob. It was actually pretty good.

We watched an old 80’s Disney movie after dinner called Flight of the Navigator. Neither of us had seen it before. It was pretty bad but we were entertained.

News for March 31, 2020: Brazilian President Bolsorano rejected calls for a Coronavirus lockdown, saying “We’re all going to die one day.” Trump warned of “painful” two weeks ahead as White House projected more than 100,00 Coronavirus deaths.

COVID-19 Diary Day 16 – We say good-bye to the cabin

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Global Cases – 935,817
Global Deaths – 47,208
United States Cases – 216,154
Washington State Cases – 6030

We moved out of the cabin today. I’m glad we stayed on a few extra days as moving would have been difficult for me a few days ago. But by the time today came around, I was really ready to leave.

After discussing with the owner, I bagged all of our garbage and put it in the bin and set it at the curb for pick up. I wore gloves and sterilized the can and lid afterwards. We tidied the cabin and packed up the car. The owner is in a high risk group so she is going to wait for a few days before going inside to ready it for the next tenant.

It was a lovely sunny day today with big puffy clouds. The drive back to Seattle was pleasant. The lack of cars and people on the roads still continues to amaze me.

We’ve rented a furnished apartment in Seattle for the next month and I absolutely love it. It has two bedrooms and a well-equipped kitchen as well as laundry facilities and two bathrooms. It feels like home.

Now that we are in Seattle we can order food for delivery when we feel like it. Yay! Tonight we had Korean fried chicken from Bonchon.

News for April 1, 2020: The U.S. Army set up a field hospital in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field to help medical centers swamped with Coronavirus patients. Florida’s governor finally issued a stay-at-home order after the state confirmed it has over 7,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases.

COVID-19 Diary Day 17 – Grocery shopping and anxiety

Thursday, April 2, 2020
Global Cases – 1,016,128
Global Deaths – 53,069
United States Cases – 245,069
Washington State Cases – 6585

Daniel and I went grocery shopping at Safeway today. The store has implemented a cart sanitizing station outside of the store which is nice. It’s a big store and wasn’t too crowded so it was fairly easy to avoid other customers. We decided to buy two week’s worth of groceries and before long our cart was overflowing.

I’ve never really liked shopping. I’ve always found being in large grocery stores to be somewhat stressful. By the end of this particular trip I was about ready to have a panic attack. I felt so overwhelmed by the experience. When we got home I hid in the bedroom for several hours.

People ask my why I feel anxious – what am I anxious about? That’s not how anxiety works, at least for me anyway. It is not really rational and is usually triggered by certain things or events. Shopping has always been one of my triggers. I don’t know why.

News for April 2, 2020: Governor Jay Inslee extended the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order through May 4, 2020. The number of Coronavirus cases reported worldwide topped 1 million for the first time.

COVID-19 Diary Day 18 – Our first walk in the new neighborhood

Friday, April 3, 2020
Global Cases – 1,100,283
Global Deaths – 58,929
United States Cases – 277,491
Washington State Cases – 7144

Daniel and I went for our first walk together around the neighborhood today. Our new apartment is located in Seattle’s Central District. It’s amazing to see how much the neighborhood has changed in the past 6 months. The area is undergoing some serious gentrification – many old houses and businesses have been torn down and giant condo buildings are now under construction.

We walked over to Garfield High School and to Ezell’s Famous Fried Chicken. It’s only about 3 blocks away but by the end we were both tired and shaky. One house we passed had created an obstacle course on their sidewalk with chalk. We also passed several teddy bears in neighborhood trees and windows as part of the global teddy bear scavenger hunt. It’s heartening to see neighbors coming together to create community and improve morale.

I talked to my stepson Brendan on the phone for the first time in a long time today. He’s home all alone right now as his roommate recently moved to Seattle and I’ve been a little worried about him. We talked for over an hour. It was so nice to catch up.

I made spaghetti with chicken sausage for dinner tonight. Its the same recipe we made at the cabin except this time I had a lot bigger kitchen to cook it in. I also made gluten-free brownies. Yum!

News for April 3, 2020: Missouri Governor Mike Parson issued a stay-at-home order for the state of the Missouri.

COVID-19 Diary Day 19 – My failed quest to buy a Nintendo Switch

Saturday, April 4, 2020
Global Cases – 1,203,485
Global Deaths – 64,784
United States Cases – 311,616
Washington State Cases – 8489

I’m a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda video game. I’ve played all the major titles in the series over the years and was absolutely dying to play the latest game when it was released a few years ago. Playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild requires using the new Nintendo Switch so I borrowed the system and the game last summer. I kept them for two months and then returned it to my friend

Breath of the Wild is the best game I’ve played in my life and I kept thinking about the it. So I decided to just go ahead and buy the game system. But, alas, all local and online stores were sold out. I did find some systems at ridiculously marked-up prices on Amazon but I refused to pay $600 for a game system that retails for $299.

So I dug up my old Nintendo 3DS handheld game system from our storage unit and decided to use it instead. I can’t play any new titles on it but there are still quite a few older ones that I’ve never played. After some research I found an RPG (Role Playing Game) called Bravely Default which got good reviews and so decided to give that a try. I spent most of the day downloading it as it is a big game and the wifi here is pretty slow.

Daniel made burgers for dinner tonight with corn on the cob on the side. He mixed together three kinds of ground meat and used some of it for tonight’s dinner. It was quite tasty if I do say so myself.

News for April 4, 2020: Top U.S. health official Doctor Debora Birx warned that America could see a dramatic increase in Coronavirus-related deaths in the upcoming two weeks. Dubai announced a two-week lockdown to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Diary Day 20 – A relaxing day

Sunday, April 5, 2020
Global Cases – 1,273,990
Global Deaths – 69,444
United States Cases – 337,278
Washington State Cases – 8368

Daniel and I had a very chill relaxing day today. We decided to make a point of laying around and not doing anything productive. Not that we have the energy to do much these days but today we really went for being lazy and watched movies all day.

We made a big breakfast in the morning – eggs and bacon and gluten-free pancakes. For dinner we ordered delivery from Ezell’s Famous Fried Chicken. We are only 3 blocks away and could have walked over to get it but that would have been counterproductive to our goal of being lazy.

News for April 6, 2020: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital for tests related Coronavirus.

Part 4: Beginning the long road to recovery

COVID-19 Diary Day 21 – My first training walk: 1.3 miles

Monday, April 6, 2020
Global Cases – 1,348,628
Global Deaths – 74,826
United States Cases – 336,987
Washington State Cases – 8384

Starting today, I decided to make a point of trying to walk every day – or at least every day that I feel well enough to do so. I don’t feel up to aerobic exercise but I’d like to try and work on increasing my distance. Before I got sick I was training to walk the Portuguese Camino and was walking 8-15 miles at a time. Now I can only walk very short distances in comparison.

My first day out of isolation, I walked for about a mile. In hindsight that was way too ambitious. I was exhausted afterwards and a nervous wreck. My lung capacity is definitely diminished and I feel tightness in my chest when I try to breathe in deeply

With that in mind, today I went for a slow ramble around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful spring day and the streets were lined with blossoming trees. I brought my camera and took lots of photos – it was a handy excuse to ensure I didn’t go too fast.

I tracked my mileage with a running app and found that I went 1.3 miles today. I wasn’t tired afterwards at all so it felt like a major victory. We are on a hill but I avoided roads that had any elevation increase or decrease.

Daniel made meatballs for dinner with the ground meat that he prepared the other day, with some Tuscan beans on the side. They were quite tasty and reminded me of some of the meals we had during our visit to Italy. Sniff.

This evening, Daniel and I had a socially distant happy hour with our friend Angel. The wifi signal was terrible and after trying 3 different conferencing apps we ended up using the phone. Despite the poor connection we had fun time catching up together.

News for April 6, 2020: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit due to worsening Coronavirus symptoms. Governor Jay Inslee canceled all Washington State schools for the rest of the 2019/2020 school year.

COVID-19 Diary Day 22 – Daniel and I go for a walk together

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Global Cases – 1430,453
Global Deaths – 82,133
United States Cases – 401,608
Washington State Cases – 12,902

I had such a lovely time on my walk yesterday that I invited Daniel to accompany me on the same route today. It was fun to show him all the cool things I discovered yesterday – the neighborhood P-Patch, a little free library, a small community park.

Daniel made a trip to Target to get a few essential supplies and I decided to stay home. He actually enjoys shopping and I really don’t. Works for me! He came home with some yummy dark chocolate treats for me. Yay! Daniel cooked steak for dinner when he returned.

In the afternoon I had another socially distant happy hour with my friend Lisa. The signal was much better today and we didn’t even get disconnected once. She and her husband just moved to a new apartment before the lockdown and they haven’t quite finished settling in yet – so it’s been quite the adventure. I can sympathize 🙂

News for April 7, 2020: The state of New York surpassed Italy with the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases. New York now has 138,863 cases and Italy has 135,586. Wisconsin insisted on holding an in-person primary election in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, potentially endangering the health of thousands of citizens.

COVID-19 Diary Day 23 – My second training walk: 1.8 miles

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Global Cases – 1,484,811
Global Deaths – 88,583
United States Cases – 437,791
Washington State Cases – 9097

I continued to feel good today so I decided to try for something a little more ambitious. Rather than keeping to roads with no elevation, I walked east. This involved walking downhill towards Martin Luther King Avenue and then back uphill again to the top of a ridge in the Madrona neighborhood. I was rewarded with lovely views of Lake Washington. It was another gorgeous spring day and a few people were out but it was easy to maintain a generous social distance.

In total I walked 1.8 miles with 173 feet of elevation gain. A month ago that would have seemed like a ridiculously short distance to me but today it felt like another victory.

Today was my nephew’s 6th birthday and my family all got together on Facebook Messenger to sing him happy birthday. With four kiddos and 8 adults online at once, it was a super fun and chaotic experience.

I made chicken and rice soup again for dinner tonight. We made it a couple of times in the cabin as a way to use up some random ingredients and now it’s one of my favorite meals. We have access to larger pots here so I made a bigger quantity and stored the rest in the freezer.

News for April 8, 2020: The state of New York surpassed Spain with the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases. New York now has 149,316 cases and Spain has 148,220. That means the state of New York has more confirmed cases than any other country in the world. The army hospital left Seattle’s CenturyLink field so that it can be deployed in another state.

COVID-19 Diary Day 24 – A visit to the storage unit

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Global Cases – 1,600,427
Global Deaths – 95,699
United States Cases – 468,703
Washington State Cases – 9608

Daniel and I made a trip to the storage unit today to get a few essential items. Going to the storage facility is nice because there are hardly any other people there and its easy to stay socially distant.

Our main reason for going to the unit was to pick up some reusable cloth masks that we purchased for Burning Man last summer. While we were there, we picked up a few other essential supplies – such as the DVD Player, yoga mats, and some cooking implements. We took the entire storage unit apart searching for the box with the vacuum sealer so that Daniel could use his sous vide.

I was pretty wiped out afterwards and decided to skip going for a walk today.

Our car rental ends on Sunday and we’ve been searching for a more affordable transportation option. I signed up for Zipcar but I’m not thrilled with sharing a car with other people during a pandemic. Today, however, we found a temporary solution – my step-son Brendan’s car. I called the insurance company and got us all set up with a policy so we are good to go!

Daniel made made seasoned ground beef and all the trimmings for taco night. Yum!

News for April 9, 2020: Microsoft announced that it will give its workers 12 weeks paid parental leave because of school disruptions due to the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 Diary Day 25 – A trip to Bellingham to borrow some wheels

Friday, April 10, 2020
Global Cases – 1,684,833
Global Deaths – 102,126
United States Cases – 504,780
Washington State Cases – 9887

Today we drove to Bellingham to borrow Brendan’s car. It’s actually my old car – a dependable 2003 Toyota Corolla with just shy of 200k miles. I gave him the car when we left to travel the world but Brendan hasn’t gotten his driver’s license yet and it’s just sitting there unused. So we agreed that Daniel and I could borrow the car until Brendan gets his license.

Daniel drove us both to Bellingham in the rental car and we practiced social distancing while greeting Brendan and trying to get the car started. The battery was dead so we had to roll the car to a spot where we could set up the jumper cables. A quick jump was all it took and soon the car was running like a champ.

It was really good to see my kiddo and I wished we could have stayed longer. I’m trying to walk a fine line between doing essential activities and also not abusing the stay-at-home order. So we chatted for a few minutes at a distance of 6 feet apart while the cars warmed up and then bid Brendan good-bye. Sniff.

Driving the 1.5 hours from Bellingham to Seattle was a pleasure. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were treated to lovely views of the Cascade mountains the entire way. Even though it was a Friday evening, traffic was light. And having my old car back, even temporarily, was really nice. I miss the old girl.

We were too worn out to go for any walks or cook today, so we ordered delivery from a new Thai place down the street called Kin Dee. It’s the best Thai food that I’ve had in long time. We’ll definitely eat there again.

News for April 10, 2020 : The global Coronavirus death toll exceeded 100,000 with over 1.6 million cases worldwide. Burning Man cancelled its annual festival for the first time and plans a virtual event instead.

Post-Script: Long-Term Recovery from Coronavirus

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

It’s been a full year since I began this COVID-19 Diary and what a year it’s been. Even though I stopped keeping daily diary entries on April 10, 2020, my story didn’t end there. Although Daniel recovered from COVID-19 fairly quickly, my road to recovery was much longer.

The months of April and May 2020 were rough. I felt weak and fatigued easily. I didn’t have the energy to do much more than lay around the couch and go for the occasional very short walk. More details are available in this blog post: How We Spent April and May 2020 During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

I started to feel significantly better, however, by June. I bought a scale in the beginning of the month and discovered that I had put on over 20 lbs from eating comfort foods and the lack of exercise. Thus properly motivated, I began a more focused effort to walk every day and to cut out the naughty foods. By the end of the month, my energy levels had increased significantly and I could go on walks up to five miles.

It was around this time that we decided to buy a motorhome. Daniel and I still didn’t have a permanent home and we weren’t willing to settle down in one place yet. So we bought a Rialta motorhome on Craigslist and then embarked on a Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip.

We traveled more-or-less nonstop throughout the entire summer in our RV. It was an exciting time and I felt healthy most of the time. There were periods, however, where I felt exhausted and had to lay low.

In November 2020, we decided to change our travel habits. The pandemic was sweeping the country at an alarming rate so we decided to hunker down for a while first on South Padre Island and then in Tucson. Plus the fatigue was back in earnest. I don’t know if it’s fair to blame the lingering exhaustion entirely on my bout with COVID-19. I also have an autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis which occasionally causes fatigue. Plus I was a little depressed that we couldn’t travel any more. Regardless of the reason, I was pretty much couch-bound for a month.

I began to feel a little better in December. By the time Christmas rolled around, I felt well enough to attempt a few short hikes in Sabino Canyon.

It wasn’t until January 2021, however, that I experienced a true breakthrough. We moved to an AirBnB in Joshua Tree where I fell in love with the National Park and hiked almost every day. I began working out and finally lost all the weight I had gained the previous year. By the end of our visit, I backpacked the 37-mile California Riding & Hiking Trail over a 3-day period.

Now, a year later, I can now *finally* say I have truly recovered from COVID-19. But it took a long time time to get to this point.