From the COVID Sickbed
Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing to you from the COVID sickbed or rather, more precisely, the Omicron BA.5 sickbed. I am vaccinated and double boosted and unlikely to end up in the hospital, but I haven’t been this sick in decades—cough, fever, chills, sore throat, congestion, body aches. Two nights ago, the fever and aches were so bad I didn’t think I would be able to sleep—even after taking ibuprofen and Benadryl. It hurt just to lie down.
It’s been five days and counting. Five days in my bed. Five days quarantined. Five days isolated. My husband can’t even come in and put his cold hand on my hot forehead, and tell me it’s going to be alright. This virus is too contagious for that.
And, yet, I know I am one of the lucky ones, one of the privileged ones. I have a bed, a room, a home, and someone to care for me. I am not unhoused or alone. I got COVID after being vaccinated and boosted. And, I got the less deadly Omicron variant, which remains in the nose and throat, as opposed to Delta, which settles in the lungs. I can take Paxlovid pills at home, rather than an IV of Remdesivir in the hospital. And, no one else around me has gotten it, including my husband who slept beside me as I coughed all night (before I tested positive).
Still, even with all this good fortune, I am sad and weepy. I miss my husband’s touch. I miss my neighbors, my communities, my friends. I miss having the energy to walk around the little infinity path in our backyard. I miss being outside. And, it’s only been five days.
The Paxlovid is beginning to work. I’m not coughing as much, but my mouth tastes like metal and ash—so much so, that when I woke up this morning I thought I was breathing smoke from a distant wildfire. I checked the air quality, but it was green, very good. My head and body still ache.
I have three more days of Paxlovid, and at least five more days before I can venture out into the world again. But, when I do, it will be with a renewed sense of wariness and caution. Omicron BA.5 is no joke. Being vaccinated and boosted might mean you won’t die, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get infected. And, getting infected doesn’t mean you won’t get re-infected. It’s not like the chicken pox where you get it once and you’re immune or you get a vaccine and you’re immune. No. This virus mutates and outsmarts our immune systems and our vaccines. Getting it once doesn’t protect you from getting again. And, getting it multiple times increases your risks of bad outcomes, like heart attacks.
I am weary of this virus.
And, at the same time, I am grateful for the chicken noodle soup, the therapeutic juices, the popsicles, and the texts from family, friends, and neighbors.
So, until next time, keep wearing your masks, keep taking your rapid tests, and stay healthy, safe, and loved, most important loved.