My COVID-19 experience: a strange sensation

“Georgia COVID-19 cases reach 200,000 and the death toll rises to 4,000.” In late July, headlines like this filled media outlets and echoed in my mind as I laid on my couch with a sore throat, headache and an increasing feeling of illness. Do I have it? How bad will it get for me? 

It all started on a Sunday afternoon when I got that “pre-sickness” feeling: like you know it’s going to happen. The next day was a different, worse story. I was sick. I had a headache and stuffy nose, I felt nauseous and I lost my sense of smell and taste. 

My first thought upon getting sick was that it had to be coronavirus. But the big question was, where did I get it from? My dad’s co-workers previously tested positive for COVID-19 but his results came out negative. It was all one big mystery.

I had a bit of anxiety at first, but as the symptoms lightened, I was less concerned. Still I wanted to get tested for the fear of unknowingly spreading it to others.

It was a concerning thought to think that I had already spread COVID-19 to my family if I did have the virus. I attempted to keep my distance from them as much as I could, but at some point it became impossible.

The worst of my flu-like symptoms only lasted about three days. The loss of taste and smell lasted over three weeks. I really took the simple things like taste, smell and clear breathing for granted until they were gone. 

Losing taste and smell was strange. I wasn’t able to smell very strong scents that would normally make my nose burn. Although I was still able to distinguish salty and bitter things, I couldn’t pick up any flavors.

Getting tested was another new, strange sensation. On Monday, July 27 at 2:45 p.m. I got the end of a six-inch cotton swab stuck up both my nostrils. It didn’t exactly hurt, but it was uncomfortable.

Waiting for my results was the most excruciating period. I went back and forth between saying “I’m definitely positive” and “I’m probably negative.” I was feeling much better but still couldn’t taste my food. “Do I have it, or do I not?” 

I was told it would be three to five days for my results, but instead I received a call from my doctor two days later with the news: I tested positive for coronavirus. I didn’t know how to respond. Many thoughts went through my head: I have to spend fourteen days inside my house?! Is my family also infected? Did I give it to anyone else? How are we supposed to get groceries?

Telling people that I tested positive for COVID was interesting. “What are your symptoms,” they asked. “Are they bad? What was the test like?” It was annoying sometimes, but they were just concerned and wanted to know more.

My immediate family was not shocked that I tested positive. They pretty much knew I had coronavirus when I got sick. The positive result only made it official: we would spend the next two weeks locked up together.

On the other hand, the rest of my extended family was very concerned. My grandparents helped us tremendously. They shipped puzzles and games to help us pass the time. It was strange waving at my grandma and grandpa through the front window as they left groceries on our doorstep.

Over the next two weeks, finding things to do was not easy. My schedule consisted of exercising, eating food that I couldn’t taste, spending time on my phone and sleeping. For a “special occasion” I would do a puzzle, read a book or sit and do nothing.

Being with my family for two weeks inside of our house was not that bad. My sister and I spent the majority of the days in our rooms. My mother was constantly singing and cleaning. My father took pictures of birds or edited his pictures of birds.

When my two weeks of quarantine ended, I wanted to proceed immediately with my previously “normal” life, but with caution for others. I wasn’t comfortable with going back to cross country practice and visiting with friends and family — particularly my grandparents — without knowing for sure I was COVID-19 free. 

I wasn’t as nervous for my second test. I knew how it felt so it was going to be simple the second time. On Sunday, August 9, at 1 p.m. I went for my second and hopefully final COVID test. It seemed like forever as we sat in the car behind the clinic waiting for the results. Although it was only 45 minutes it was nerve-racking. I maintained a positive attitude and kept saying, “I’m going to be negative.” 

When the nurse came back out to tell me my results my heart sped up fast. I could tell she was smiling behind her mask when she told me I was negative. It was such a relief.

I was relieved to tell people I was negative and I continue with my normal life. I was also thankful that my symptoms were mild.

Having COVID-19 was an experience I didn’t ever think I would have. In the beginning it seemed like such a distant possibility. But after getting the virus and experiencing all the strange sensations that came along with it, I hope that it goes away soon and things get back to normal.

Feature image ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Used by permission.