Last week, at about the same time the governor of my state experienced a temporary COVID-19 scare, I had a minor scare of my own.
Hours before a scheduled meeting with The Fraud, my governor tested positive for the coronavirus. After a subsequent test that same day came back negative, he was allowed to resume his regular activities. Pandemic deniers see evidence for their beliefs (tests are unreliable, masks don’t work, the doctors are lying) in these events, although nobody has yet recommended he take hydroxychloroquine. Never mind that the two tests looked for different evidence; if you want to believe these last six months have been an elaborate hoax, or simply that the governor wanted a quick excuse to avoid meeting The Fraud, this story fits your needs perfectly.
My story doesn’t involve testing, but lasted around the same amount of time.
I now work only one day a week at my local grocery store, where social distancing and masking protocols aren’t always followed by employees and are routinely ignored by customers. Working there does increase my risk of exposure, but if I can help reduce the number of in-store trips made while also giving myself a good reason to escape the overly-familiar walls of my house, I’m willing to take that risk.
Yet there was something about that Friday three weeks ago. Nothing outrageous, like someone sneezing on me or touching my face. Maybe it was nothing more than recognizing I’d been working in a narrow room for close to six months, and at some point someone would come in with a communicable infection. Without knowing how this feeling arrived, I wondered if I had contracted something that day.
COVID-19 symptoms can take up to 14 days to manifest after initial infection. I’ve been taking my temperature twice a day since March, and in the ensuing two weeks I remained consistently under 98 degrees Fahrenheit. After 14 days of neither fever nor any other symptom, I went to bed believing that uneasy feeling had no merit.
And then I woke up the next morning with a sore throat.
Took my temperature again — 98.2. A few tenths above normal for me, but not a reading that would have concerned me at any other time. Went through the online checklists for COVD-19 symptoms, and saw nothing other than the sore throat. As I had an online meeting that morning I had barely eaten, so when my meeting ended I had a sizable late breakfast. And yes, the sore throat pretty much went away after that.
I wasn’t sick. I was hungry. Sometime the only thing you really need is to take care of your basic needs.
My family and I have somehow managed to avoid the coronavirus. Based on the stories I’m reading about long-term complications even among patients with mild cases, I’m hoping we keep this disease at arm’s length.
But there will be scares, much more significant than the one I experienced last week. We are months, perhaps years away from being able to let our guard down.