Honestly, I Wasn’t Expecting To Write This

Backstory

I don’t know how to say this without making myself look like a jerk, but I’ll risk it. When it came to COVID, my anxieties were centered more around missing out than around actual concern about COVID. COVID itself was strange and abstract. And while I heard all the horror stories from the hospitals, and while I knew people personally who got COVID and survived (pre-vaccines, vaccinated, and unknown status) and people personally who got COVID and died (vaccinated and unknown status), COVID still had this weird abstract quality to it.

Abstract portrait of coronavirus. Photo by Dan Cristian Pădureț from Pexels

[Just to be clear, I was never anti-mask nor anti-vax. I wore a mask whenever required or requested, and I got vaccinated once vaccine appointments opened up to my demographic in my state.]

The fear that was way more prominent in my mind was the fear of missing out on life as a result of COVID lockdowns and restrictions. It makes me sick to realize it’s been nearly two years of pandemic and that I have pretty much nothing to show for it. Actually, that isn’t entirely true – I did manage to go on a glamping weekend, take an overseas vacation, go to multiple weddings – all of that was only possible because I made a point of doing anything legally permitted and reasonably feasible to not be stuck. As recently as Thursday, I was annoyed that I hadn’t managed to book travel (preferably overseas, but I’d have been happy with interesting domestic travel) for New Year’s weekend or early/mid-January. Mind you, I don’t even really like New Year’s as a holiday. In fact, I slightly hate it. And I’m not even a “travel is my identity and passion” person. But what I hated more was the idea of missing out.

Then I got COVID. For Christmas. Which is a remarkably inconvenient time to get COVID, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.

Learnings

I fully expected this to be an “I didn’t learn anything from this” experience. But that is not entirely true:

1) Everyone Is A Little Bit Wrong

Scene 1: COVID testing location. I describe my symptoms. Doctor examines my throat.

You’re not in so much pain, right? Your throat is not so red.

Doctor

I nod with agreement, thinking that is the mature reasonable response. I forget about my own miserably painful weekend. I don’t want to seem like some low-pain-tolerance sissy. Also, I can’t look at my own throat. So, if the doctor is looking, she must have some objective measure of pain. She must be right. I begin to feel like a fool.

The test center staff tells me I’ll get the rapid results back within a half hour. I sense them mocking me for coming in with some run-of-the-mill cold. I leave. Five minutes later, the staff called back and told me I had COVID.

***

Scene 2: Telling relatives and recently in-contact people the news. (More on that to follow.) Turns out my cousin (whom I have not seen lately) also has COVID. We compare notes.

“How long do you need to quarantine?” asks Cousin.

Turns out I don’t remember. The test center said 10 days. They must mean a starting day of today, right?

JYP: 10 days from today when I got a positive test.

Cousin: I was told 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

Husband: I heard 10 days after symptoms end.

At least one of us is wrong.

2) Here’s How To Tell People You Have A Sexually-Transmitted Infection (STI)

Sex Ed COVID Ed 101: Disclosure of positive status. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Early in the pandemic, I read an interesting commentary piece around the importance of fostering an environment for honest disclosure of COVID exposure status without stigma, not dissimilar to what we encourage for STI disclosure. (It wasn’t this article, but it makes similar points about stigma and shame, and I already scrolled suffered through a parent-acquaintance’s obnoxious kid-centric Facebook feed trying to find the original, only for Facebook to crap out on me, so yeah, not doing that again.) Anyway, now that I had a positive test result, it was time to start notifying people I’d been in contact with lately, aka, my metaphorical sex partners.

  • Friday lunch date girlfriend: She took the news well, responded immediately, and wished me well. We corresponded about testing options and availability. As good a disclosure conversation as one could hope for. I would definitely have metaphorical sex with her again.
  • Shabbat dinner host: This had the potential to go really badly, because we were one of many Shabbat dinner guests and Shabbat Dinner Host has a large family too. But I had to do it, explaining that while I felt fine Friday and truly appreciated the invite, Saturday I started having symptoms and later tested positive. Shabbat Dinner Host took this better than I expected he would. I’d have metaphorical sex with him again too.
  • Old Friend we sat next to at Shabbat dinner: I wasn’t close with everyone at the Shabbat dinner, but the people we were seated next to were good enough friends that they deserved a direct notification. I messaged Old Friend. He never responded. The irony is that I met Old Friend before I met Husband and thought Old Friend was a good-looking, fun guy. In another universe, I might have considered dating/relationship/sex with Old Friend (then again, we would have been incompatible, so maybe not). I now knew that I would not have metaphorical sex with Old Friend again, even if I’d once entertained the possibility of actual sex with this guy.

Of course, my willingness is irrelevant if these people aren’t willing to have metaphorical sex with me again. That’s what makes disclosure uncomfortable.

3) On Wanting To Live

What I’m about to write is the hardest thing I’ve ever written on WordPress: I’ve struggled with suicidal ideation. I want to be clear that I’m not in danger, I don’t have a plan, I’ve never attempted nor intend to attempt, and I’m not going to elaborate further and totally derail this post. I mention this for a specific reason which I’ll explain in a moment.

I haven’t yet written about the experience of having COVID, and for the most part, it hasn’t felt that different from a really terrible cold. That said, there were two moments that felt really, scarily different. One moment was Saturday night when I awoke with a high fever, coughing and choking on mucus and struggling to breathe, alone because I’d forgotten in my feverish state that Husband had gone out to pick up leftovers in a socially-distanced manner from the pseudo-Christmas party we were clearly not attending. The other was yesterday, when I experienced what felt like a sudden swelling of my throat (almost like an anaphylaxis reaction, only I don’t have those kinds of allergies and hadn’t been in contact with anything I’m allergic to) and while I could still breathe, it was noticeably more difficult, and I was really struggling, gagging and choking.

I realized in those two moments, that no matter how much I’d contemplated ending my life in the past, that actually, I really, really, really wanted to live.

Movie Version vs. Real Life

In the Hallmark Movie version of my life (I can barely type this with a straight face, which is bad because laughing hurts my throat), there would be this moment of appreciation and silver lining. I’d get over my stupid FOMO and focus on the important things in life. I wouldn’t feel bad about missing out on the possibility of an exciting New’s Years weekend because I’d spend New Year’s reflecting (did I mention I actually hate New Year’s?) My troubled marriage would blossom over the course of the 2 hour movie because of all the quality quarantine time we’d be spending together.

I mean, it’s either that or I’d fall in love with the Grubhub delivery driver, and we’d run away together and discover the true meaning of Christmas. Isn’t the plot of all the Hallmark/Lifetime movies? Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Look, maybe I’ll be singing a different tune 10 days from now, but right now, I find this dubious. Right now, I’m annoyed that even low-key plans like free New Year’s workout classes at the gym, or New Year’s Eve karaoke at the bar (the one year that the bar decides to celebrate with something totally up my alley and I can’t even go…) can’t happen. And while it could be a lot worse, I do not believe for a minute that 10 days of quarantine is going to improve my marriage. I also do not believe that our marriage will produce hilarious quarantine moments for lists like these because that’s just not our situation.

***

But what else can I do? For the first time in a while since we’ve been in this pandemic, I have fears in addition to FOMO and I’m really and truly stuck.

That said, I don’t have a serious case, my parent, cousin, husband and I all seem to be fine, and we can afford proper quarantine – this is not some Greek tragedy. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

57 comments

  1. Oh no!! I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m glad your case hasn’t been more serious! It’s a scary illness for sure!! I hope you get better soon!! And I’m glad your suicidal ideation went away! Please take good care of yourself and enjoy the takeout! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry to hear you fell victim to the covid cooties. It’s a little like the Spanish Inquisition, you don’t expect the covid cooties, even though you are surrounded by them. This is a really well-written get off your chest, cough up the mucus post. Quarantine is rough, and FOMO is downright depressing. But you know what the French say: “Les choses sont contre nous!” So, of course, you are going to get covid during the holidays when it is most inconvenient, at a time when you are going to miss out on a lot of fun activities like New Year’s Eve karaoke and free workouts. Our daughter had covid last Christmas and she was sick before Christmas, but her covid test was negatory. Suzette is about over her quarantine time. Lane had to quarantine with her, but they stayed as far apart as possible, which might not be as easy for you and your hubby. I feel really sad for you. Sending you good vibes, and the kitties send healing purrs, kitty hugs ad kitty kisses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They’ve been tough on everyone. Relatively speaking, I’ve had it easy – steady work, good health, enough flexibility to do some fun stuff (although I still didn’t appreciate it and still complained all the time). Now I’m just experiencing more of the same fears and inconveniences as everyone else.

      Thank you so much for your kind words ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear all this. I’m glad you all don’t seem to have really bad cases–get well soon!
    I’ve been fairly–a little bit–sick twice during the entire pandemic, and tested negative each time, so I still feel like there’s a giant shoe hanging over my head, waiting to fall on me. Hoping the vaccine does the trick. Question: do you feed a covid? Starve a covid? There’s so much misinformation flying around! Just what is the common wisdom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • So much misinformation! Not only that, but the medical professionals don’t help at all. The test center staff didn’t clarify from when I’m supposed to start counting the 10 day quarantine period, no one advised what I should tell my household / other people I’ve been in contact with. I also got my results on an app, which had a promising tab labeled “care plan”, which I assumed would answer questions like this, and it was blank. I don’t blame the nurses and doctors at all because I know it has been utterly insane for them lately. It just means that we are all running around like chickens with heads cut off.

      Like

  4. Welcome to the club, JYP! I had it in March, expecting to get the new one any day now. Don’t feel bad about your original thoughts on Covid. When we were first locked down and I was furloughed for three months, I hadn’t been so damn happy in ten years. Our brains process things with the information it has at the time and mine was happy to not be at work. I understood people suffering, but my brain was processing the joys of not going to work. I guess we just have to temper our knee-jerk emotions with rational thoughts about the entirety of a situation. Anyways, I hope you make a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I remember you mentioned that! We need a secret handshake, haha.
      I think March was a much scarier time to get COVID. But I think you’re also right that we’re human and we’re going to think about knee-jerk human reactions first. You should be able to be happy about not being at work (even if the reason itself is not so happy).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Get well soon…
    I think that much like the flu, we’ll be living with Covid from now on. In my opinion, people should get vaccinated, and get on with their life, no more of this lockdown nonsense. I live in the South, and restrictions aren’t heavy handed here. Personally, I know people who have had Covid, but only one who was hospitalized and later died, and he had numerous comorbidities, so, though sad, it wasn’t surprising. We can’t cower in fear of this virus forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. You can’t tell people to get vaccinated, then effectively punish them by making them suffer through extended lockdown measures. The impression I get from reading about Hong Kong’s zero COVID policy and extreme lockdown measures is that it’s just making everyone miserable and driving away talent and business.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh wow, not the New Year’s post I had expected, but glad to hear that you’re well on the path to recovery, and that your symptoms weren’t severe. Also glad to read about the part where you realise you really want to live. That must’ve been a tough thing to share, and I respect your honesty because of that. Get well soon, and am looking forward for that ‘all’s well’ post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really, really, really want you to get better pronto. You mentioned you’re vaccinated. I’m so glad to know this. Yet still, this is a scary situation from which I hope you recover in no time.
    You added humor to your story, and i appreciate that. Please stop worrying about FOMO and stay positive in what’s happening/zoom in on the positives (they’re there): the quickest way to a swift recovery, methinks.
    Sending you good vibes to help clear things, physically and mentally. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad the humor came through. I really didn’t want this to be just a “hey I have COVID” post.
      Fighting FOMO would be easier if I were actually happy with the present and happy with where I am in life. There are positives and I am grateful, but if I’m honest, I don’t actually feel that positive or grateful. I know I ought to be, but I don’t really feel this.
      Appreciate the good vibes – all of them

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh no! I wish you and yours a speedy recovery and I hope you’re already feeling better!

    It’s a sucky situation, and you’ve nailed what it feels like. Your STI/COVID comparisons gave me the giggles, because this is exactly what I’ve been picturing it to be like – super funny stuff.

    Hope you’re healthy and out of quarantine soon enough!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Shabbat Dinner Host mentioned is actually an Orthodox Rabbi. I didn’t think I’d see the day where I’d be essentially telling an Orthodox Rabbi that I’d metaphorically slept with him and that I had an STI and he should get tested for metaphorical herpes, but here we are. It’s an experience all right!
      Thank you for the well wishes. Glad you enjoyed. I really wanted this to be more than a “hey I have COVID” PSA post.

      Like

  9. I want to say you are younger than me? But maybe you around my age? This year I will be half a century lol – sounds bad to say like that but is easier than saying the true age lol – is same thing but whatever – makes me feel sly saying it that way lol

    Because I was sick with cancer – and we went through what I told you – my baby brother stepped up and made sure my mom was taken care of and happy while I was sick

    There were moments where I didn’t wanna continue

    I used to fight with the doctors because they tell me I had to stop doing so much and needed to focus on beating cancer

    I said “I can do it all”

    I could not ☹️

    And my fight dwindled.

    I went through everything I mentioned in a reply to your other blog post … but …

    I worked my butt off to be where I am now… and then I had a moment to escape and go be with my mom ❤️ so I did

    I live in California – my mom is with my brother in Texas – she lives in a care facility where she is happy and well taken care of

    California is a blue state – mask mandates and I work in a funeral home with elderly – I put my own restrictions down

    But Texas is red … no masks nothing … I was there 5 days and caught Covid from nephew who went to a Catholic private school who refused mask mandates

    I wore my mask everywhere except with my family at home – I thought I was safe

    I was only supposed to be there for a week – but I had to cancel my flight and I was there in Texas for almost one month 😮

    I couldn’t see my mom anymore cause I would never forgive myself if I killed her – so I stay away out of love ❤️💔

    I did get to see her couple times before I left once I was cleared

    For us – it’s 14 days from diagnosis

    I stay little longer and it was blessing / I hadn’t seen them since 2017 and my cancer

    So for me Covid was blessing

    And then I had added bonus of loss of taste and smell …

    The smell part – I did not like… because I love lotions and perfumes and I couldn’t smell anything lol

    The taste part was awesome – because I ate everything I couldn’t normally eat lol it was awesome – jalapeños and hot peppers etc lol – nothing

    I felt like a bad ass lol I did love that part

    But it did really hit me badly before all that – I had 102.5 fever for days and I couldn’t stop sleeping and I couldn’t move etc

    I was fully vaccinated because of the job I hold

    I was a cross over case

    I blame the breast cancer – but I’m still ok – that was just before thanksgiving and at work all hell broke loose and there was nothing I could do from Texas

    I’m glad you are ok 👍

    I am ok too ❤️

    I just try to find the fun where I can, so helps me get through things

    I loved the shut down – I had highways to self

    And when I caught it was fun to eat things I don’t normally eat – I enjoyed that

    I hope you doing better now.

    Now we have that stupid omacron variant (not sure I spelled correctly but whatever)

    Because of where I work we are strict with it because we deal with elderly and compromised people.

    It is annoying and I am sooo tired of Covid!! Omg if I hear of anything else!!! But ya know whatever – it’s here

    Like I said – I hope you doing good 😊

    Is ok / the holidays didn’t really feel like normal this past year to me either

    But whatever – I figure this is gonna be a crap decade with that lol

    Later we can look back and say “remember when?” And be all mad lol

    Is ok. Nothing you can do with that.

    Is hard to have life be normal with Covid

    But will be eventually – just like 1918

    It will stay and be here now … but eventually will be nothing

    I write novels sorry. Just sharing

    In 2020 working for funeral home was awful – is better now

    I have a lot of cases – almost 30 at this moment – at one funeral home … but none are Covid ❤️

    Unfortunately now… the baby boomers are hitting – so is 1930 through 1964 😮 mostly

    But we also do accidents and homicides – so any age range – just a lot of baby boomers

    No Covid typically this year ❤️ people be vaccinating and listening ❤️

    Right before Christmas was silent and nothing was coming in… we knew was calm before the storm and it exploded for New Years … but no Covid

    I wish you well. Is ok. Life just happens ✌️

    Like

    • I’m not as young as my blog handle and immaturity would suggest, but I’m still a decade and change away from being a half-century!
      Interesting to read about your experience with COVID as a patient and as a funeral home worker. We really didn’t appreciate the essential workers enough. That must have been a sobering experience. My case is mild. It’s also a lot less scary getting COVID now than it was in 2020. I’m just immature and whiny. Thank you for listening and again, for providing a needed dose of perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right – we did not appreciate essential workers – not even just funeral workers … they protected us very well – had us vaccinated immediately because we dealt with families & loved ones with Covid. I was vaccinated in February/March of 2021, with a booster recently after I returned from Texas.

        I always say “we are the last responders” ✌️we come in at the end.

        I always thought about the grocery store workers and people like that who were not paid or protected enough.

        It is less scary now… half because of all the crap and misinformation that goes out, but also – I don’t wanna be scared of something killing me – been through that a lot so ya know – gets old lol ✌️

        But 2020 was quite the year for sure

        My kids got me a Christmas ornament this year that says “I survived Covid” inside it has a teeny tiny little mask, a tiny syringe 💉, and a tiny toilet paper 🧻 😄😄

        Btw… I never had any issues needing toilet paper so no idea why that was such a huge thing lol – but whatever 🙄

        That’s ok… I can be immature too lol even still … I’m not so whiny?? But I moan about things from time to time lol – maybe is same?

        You are very welcome 😊 perspective from other views is always helpful! Even just the thought.

        When I was at my lowest – I always remembered … someone out there had it worse than me. That kinda helped me through a little – to appreciate what I did have and who was around my life ❤️😊 not that I wish anyone to have worse than me – I just know some people have way harder than what I had. That kept my own perspective

        I also used to always think – is only a moment and the moment will pass and all will be fine. Whether that was true or not – I didn’t think about – but was only a moment I had to get through … and I did 😊❤️

        I really had to trust life would give me peace. I had to put my life in gods hands sometimes… I don’t mean that in offensive way … but I just had to trust all would work out and be ok. Sometimes I just had to let go and believe – reminds me of that song by Carrie Underwood “Jesus Take the Wheel” I had to do that.

        I wish you the best – you can always contact if you need support.

        Take care ✌️😘

        Liked by 1 person

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