Truly, and with absolute hubris, I thought I was somehow immune to COVID-19. I went to Carnival 2020 and never got sick. I worked at a high school and attended large maskless meetings about how to handle COVID in early March 2020 (yeah, in hindsight, it sounds kind of dumb) and never got sick. Yes, I locked down by mid-March; and yes, I wore a mask for much longer than a lot of folks; and yes, I got vaccinated and boosted right on schedule. But still.
I worked through the Delta surge, always around high school kids. I subbed dozens of classes during the Omicron surge, as my colleagues dropped like flies around me. I got constant apologetic texts from friends who’d tested positive shortly after we’d hung out. I even took care of both of my kids when they both had it.
Still nothing, even though I was tested weekly at school and supplemented with my own stash of home tests if I had so much as a tickle in my throat. Negative, negative, always negative. I was clearly immune, somehow, some sort of lucky genetic quirk, the exact opposite of my clotty blood and messed-up teeth. Or maybe it’s because I have O- blood or was breastfed for two years. Who knows why these things happen?
So when I woke up feeling sort of crappy on Saturday, I took a test (because I’m a responsible citizen) and was not surprised when it was negative (because I’m clearly immune). It’s always negative. Obviously.
But I felt lousy all day and mostly stayed in bed. Around mid-afternoon, I asked my husband to bring me an extra blanket because I was freezing.
“Baby, it’s 80 degrees in here,” he said, and brought me the thermometer instead.
Which confirmed that, in fact, I had a fever of 101.7.
OK, so I was sick. But not with COVID. Obviously.
That night, my fever climbed higher … and I developed a cough.
Surely it wasn’t COVID, but it was definitely something.
Might as well take another test, especially since my 85-year-old father wanted to visit with me.
“Oh, shit,” I said, as the second line appeared in the test window for the first time ever.
It finally got me.
So now I’m extending my Mardi Gras break, medicating with Tylenol (for fever), hot toddies (for cough), true crime shows (for boredom), and Zapp’s Voodoo Chips (can’t hurt).
Mostly, I feel OKish so far. I’m achy and coughing and so tired that making a salad for lunch today exhausted me to the point that I promptly lost my appetite (for salad, anyway). And I’m slightly bummed that I didn’t win some sort of genetic lottery, that I am a mere mortal after all.
But overall I’m grateful I made it this far, grateful for science, grateful for vaccines, grateful that I have a job that offers sick leave. I hope to be on the mend soon.
Stay well, everyone. And wash your hands!