It’s an image that nobody ever wants to see. Two lines on a lateral flow, followed by a panicked image of it sent to various group chats late at night, accompanied with a quick, “ahhhhhh!!”
After all this time – two years in a pandemic, avoiding the disease the whole time – covid finally caught up with me. I’m lucky that things never got bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital – it was more like a really, really bad cold – but that’s not to say that those ten days were easy.
A few weeks ago, I was hit with COVID-19. This was my experience.
For the whole of the first say, I knew I was coming down with something. It was just a cold, though, a sneeze, a sniffle, a bit of a sore throat. Run-of-the-mill symptoms. No bother. Take some paracetamol and walk it off. It was only when I got home, and my housemates asked about my day, that they wondered: “have you done a COVID test?”
I was so unbuffered, so unfazed, by the idea that I could have caught it, that I didn’t even consider testing until the evening. Even then, it was only a just in case kind of a thing. Let’s be on the safe side, I thought.
Two swabs later and both tests had two solid lines. I’d had a pretty busy weekend, so probably picked something up on my travels. Still, you never actually expect to actually get it, do you? You hear on the news of rising cases, but never think that you could be one of them.
Ego: meet hubris.
I’d been up late the night before, quickly sorting cover for my lessons the next day, but still woke early to call in sick and ensure everything had been set correctly in my tired state.
Well, a 6am start wasn’t a good idea. As soon as everything was checked and accounted for, I practically passed out until midday, only stirring for a pretty sensational round of Prime Minister’s Questions.
I think it’s the first time my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has ever recorded two sleeps I’m one night. When I woke, the symptoms were no better. Joining those listed earlier were a head cold and aches and pains.
Once I was fully awake, I set to work on setting cover for the next few days. It also happened to be data deadline week, which involved marking and uploading grades by the end of play on Friday, which I wanted to focus on if I was well enough. In between resting, sitting in our garden and marking books, that was my life for the next few days.
For a while, my routine was the same, except I’d throw in an episode of Stranger Things or two every now and then.
My initial symptoms started to clear up, but I was hit with a wave of breathlessness and a nasty cough, which I’m not sure is much better. Everything became a bit of a struggle. Even cleaning my bedroom and bathroom, especially in the heat, became a lot of effort.
It was after a long day of marking that I realised I was finally starting to run low on supplies, so this also marked my first time using a takeaway app to order groceries. It was very surreal seeing supermarket bags brought to my front door by someone who’d usually bring me a burger and chips, but useful to have that for when I inevitably can’t be bothered to leave the house in the future.
Another day, another positive. Two lines on my tests – tests plural, because I so desperately wanted it to be a false positive so that I could get back to work and stop setting cover. Despite my hope, I was actually positive for the whole time period; how’s that for bad luck?
To stay busy once my marking was all done, I decided to throw myself into gardening. It meant that I was outside the house when my room was getting to a whopping 31 degrees celsius, that I was breathing in fresh air, and that I could explore a new hobby that I’ve always had an interest in.
I even ordered these hedge clippers for the job on Prime Day, meaning I no longer get hit in the face on the way to my car! Silver linings.
Dawn of the final day
One word: freedom.
Having experienced COVID firsthand, for the first time, I can confirm that it’s a pretty nasty experience. However, I never lost my sense of smell or taste, and there wasn’t a chance of being rushed into hospital, so I’m grateful for having got off pretty lightly.
So many others had it worse than me, but that doesn’t stop me from being annoyed at being unwell at the busiest time of our school year.
Have you ever caught COVID? What was the illness like for you?