For the latest status on our fight against the Coronavirus, check out my COVID-19 Diary.
Hello again from our secluded cabin. For those of you who have been following along on my blog, you know that Daniel and I are currently sick and have been waiting for the COVID-19 test results to determine if we have the novel Coronavirus. Well the test results are in and they are positive: Daniel has COVID-19. The clinic wouldn’t test me because I didn’t present with a fever. But they told me to assume that I have it too if Daniel’s test is positive.
It is a really surreal feeling to have a confirmed case of COVID-19. Soon it will become more and more common as the virus sweeps across the United States and the rest of the world. For now, we are among one of the first ones to get the virus in the state. There are probably a lot more people who have it, however, but weren’t able to get tested due to the shortage of testing kits. And this all comes amid stories that testing will be restricted going forward in some hard-hit areas due to shortages of medical supplies and risks to medical personnel. Crazy.
The Curse of Seasonal Allergies
For me, the onset of COVID-19 was difficult to detect because I was already experiencing seasonal allergies. I had been suffering from congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and the occasional cough due to post-nasal drip for some time. According to all the research I’d seen, the primary symptoms for Coronavirus were fever, dry cough and shortness of breath – and I didn’t have any of those things. So I assumed that I didn’t have it.
I even created a meme about it on Facebook and joked with my friends that having seasonal allergies made it difficult to be in public (this was back when “being in public” was still a thing). The meme read:
It’s an awkward time to have seasonal allergies. I need a shirt that says “It’s not the Coronavirus it’s the tree pollen”.
My friends thought it was hilarious and one of them actually even designed a t-shirt with the slogan.
What Are Our Symptoms?
Disclaimer: the symptoms listed below are true for our experience, but other patients with COVID-19 may have different symptoms.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, Daniel and I really started to notice the first symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, achy joints, the occasional cough. My lymph nodes felt a little swollen. I wasn’t sure whether or not to chalk this up to jet lag or seasonal allergies or what. The next day Daniel developed a fever of 101 F and that’s when I rushed him to the clinic to get tested for COVID-19. The following day he had a low-grade fever and the day after that his fever was gone.
I no longer have a sore throat and the illness has moved to my lungs – it’s not a shortness of breath exactly, but I can feel a little tightening when I inhale deeply. We both cough sporadically- sometimes it’s a dry cough and sometimes it’s not. I’m blowing my nose constantly (thankfully we had the foresight to stock up on Kleenex before coming to the cabin). We tire easily and have headaches. The usual sick stuff.
One additional symptom is that we have lost our sense of smell and taste. Normally my sense of smell is quite strong. I first really noticed it yesterday when Daniel made a potato soup from scratch and I was bummed that I couldn’t taste it. According to a new article published in the New York Times, a lost sense of smell (anosmia) is a common symptom among people infected with COVID-19. For some patients with mild symptoms, it’s the only symptom they may experience at all. Doctors are now warning people to who suddenly lose their sense of smell to self-isolate as they could unknowingly be carrying the virus.
When Can We Leave Isolation?
When can we leave isolation? That is the million dollar question. We have read conflicting stories about how long people are contagious after contracting COVID-19. When Daniel was tested, they sent him home with a pamphlet which stated that we could discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:
- If you had a fever, 3 days after the fever ends AND you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); OR
- If you did not have a fever, 3 days after you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); OR
- 7 days after symptom onset, whichever is longer.
Personally, I find that a little confusing. I emailed my doctor yesterday to ask her about it and she basically repeated the same information back to me. Apparently these guidelines are from the CDC. Neither of us have fevers any more but we don’t exactly feel well either. So I guess we wait until our symptoms improve some more and then wait for an additional three days after that.
We have the cabin rented for one additional week so I’m hoping that we are fully recovered by then. We will be taking all of our garbage with us when we leave so as not to leave any of it behind. Thankfully I have lost my sense of smell as our garbage is getting full and it probably smells pretty bad. We have been doing a lot of cooking and it is full of food scraps and other stinky things. Yesterday I meticulously sorted through the garbage and pulled out all the food scraps and stored them in the freezer.
Before we leave the cabin, we will do a deep clean on it and thoroughly disinfect everything we have touched. The cabin was provided with cleaning supplies upon our arrival, including Clorox disinfectant wipes and antibacterial cleaner. In hindsight, those are going to come in very handy.
In the Meantime
In the meantime, Daniel and I lay low and watch a lot of television and movies on my laptop. We take naps and cook simple meals. Today I am making broth from some leftover turkey bones that I had stored in the freezer. I plan to make a soup out of it for dinner this evening.
When I’m not cooking, I spend a lot of time gazing out of the window and looking forward to when I can go outside again. We text with our families and I write blog posts when I’m not too tired. A friend is stopping by today to drop off some more groceries for us (we technically have enough food but we are getting low on a few of our favorite things).
Mostly, I’m grateful that we both seem to only be experiencing mild symptoms so far – although it’s not over yet.
Date: March 23, 2020
COVID-19 Quarantine Status: Day 8
For more details on what we’ve been up to recently, see my previous posts:
- COVID-19 Quarantine Day 6: Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results
- Vagabonding Day 138: Florence 4 Day Itinerary: Birthplace of the Renaissance
- Vagabonding Day 166: Our Journey Home: Airline Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Vagabonding Day 164: Escape from Europe: The Coronavirus Edition
- Vagabonding Day 137: Verona in 24 Hours: Valentine’s Day Edition