A Column Intermission For Covid

This week’s Courier Herald column:

I’m now among the roughly 700,000 Georgians who have become a Covid statistic.  I’m one of the lucky ones in that I remain here, relatively healthy, with the ability to write this piece.

I’m also lucky in that when I began to notice I wasn’t feeling well on the morning of New Year’s Day, I decided to skip the family dinner hosted annually by my mother.  Instead, traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens were delivered via a 90-mile round-trip by my oldest sister. 

My luck seems to have held with aid of those peas, as those that I was around in the days prior to developing symptoms didn’t catch the virus.  I will continue to apologize to them for their quarantines and/or tests.  I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of those calls, and I can confirm they are not pleasant to make.

I got a test first thing the following morning, a Saturday.  Because of the holiday and weekend, I didn’t get the results that I was positive until late Monday night.

My symptoms were relatively mild for the first few days and were mostly gone by the time I had the test results.  I experienced a low-grade fever, headache, and a sore throat.  I have chronic sinus issues that I’ve experienced off and on since the pandemic began, which has made it difficult to determine when I might need to be tested and/or skip an in-person activity. 

I believe I had five negative tests leading up to the one that was positive.  That, and the duration of this emergency, can lead to a false sense of security and to letting your guard down.

I’m glad I resisted the urge to just plow through the latest sinus infection and head to Mom’s for one of the best meals of the year.  Had I done that, the tone of this column would likely be very different.

There have been two things along this journey that I was not expecting.  Because I have read many times that “loss of taste or smell” was a sign that I might have developed Covid, I assumed it would be a leading symptom.  Instead, I was at least a week into fighting the virus before I began to lose both taste and smell.  They remain completely absent.

The other became clearer last week, even as I was technically able to resume normal activities and in-person contact.  My cognitive functions were getting worse and did so for most of the second week after my first symptoms had appeared.

I had read this was possible, though I assumed it to be rare and associated with the peak of fevers brought about with Covid.  Instead, it was the last symptom for me to recognize, when I thought I was “fine”. 

I wrote two columns prior to this one after I began to experience symptoms.  The first was only made difficult because of some physical discomfort.  The one last week took much longer than normal, despite feeling pretty decent. 

I found myself obsessing over the word “know”, debating whether it should be the word “no”.  At that point I probably should have emailed my editors and let them “know” that “no” column would be forthcoming.  Instead, I took breaks, pushed my deadline as late as possible, and eventually got it out – only to find afterward I had used “one” instead of “won” regarding the runoffs.

This week has been better, but I’ve refused to think about politics and all of the gravity and consequence culminating in the days and weeks ahead.  For that, you get a column about a relatively minor Covid encounter, with a warning from someone who has been there.

If and when this virus visits you, don’t push yourself to be “normal”, even if you feel up to it.  The symptoms are varied and somewhat random.  It does have the ability to affect many of your faculties, including some of your most basic mental functions. 

Take your time, pace yourself, and for the love of everything, think about anything other than politics.  Politics will, unfortunately, be with us when you’re feeling better.


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