July 7th, 2024

"... just a scratchy throat. A nap will fix it."


That was me on Tuesday, finding it a little hard to get through a lot of meetings. By the end of the day I knew work would be impossible. I didn't sleep Tuesday night because I was up coughing, then the chills started around four in the morning. So Al took me to the local prompt-care, and I tested positive for COVID.  They prescribed a course of Paxlovid and sent me on my way.

In terms of all-time adult illnesses, the only thing that has possibly outdone the past four days was a bout of campylobacter I got from a sketchy sushi place years ago. I thought that was going to kill me outright: At one point as I lay in bed sweating and waiting for the next run to the bathroom I wondered if I was Patient Zero of a zombie plague.

This wasn't as grueling, but I guess with campylobacter I had some previous experience with food poisoning kinds of illnesses, and knew roughly what to expect: There was a normal curve from "oh man, something is really wrong" through to "I've never felt this weak, but I'm lucid again." 

This has been more open-ended. I've never tested positive for COVID before, and I am a conscientious tester when I think I've been exposed or have thought I might be symptomatic, so though there have been a few times where I've wondered if that one weird cold was an actual case, I've never been able to prove it. I think that fed a certain level of anxiety once I did test positive this time, because I just had no idea what I was in for.

Besides fever, chills, and aches, it's the worst sore throat I've ever had. The day after my diagnosis we were back on a tele-health call with Al explaining to the doctor, because I couldn't make myself heard, that I simply do not complain about any illnesses I suffer, so could he please find his way to something more prescription-strength than Ricola and saltwater gargles. 

He relented and I got a prescription for codeine cough syrup. Al managed to find an open drug store on the 4th. That allowed me to sleep in three or four hour stretches, drifting off to weird burbling wheezes when I shifted my body just so. After three or four hours some amount of noxious crud would refuse to be denied any longer, so I'd run to the bathroom and hack it out into the sink, each cough feeling like broken glass in my throat, codeine and all.

Last night was a close to normal night of sleep, and this morning I was able to down my Paxlovid and a few other pills without feeling like I had to summon my will to take each one with a sip of water calibrated to help wash the pill down without making me see stars.

Most of the day today has been close to "normal." There's some post-nasal drip going on, which is keeping me coughing, but I can drink water and eat solid foods without a lot of pain. At some point I will pick back up where I left off with Todd Haynes' Velvet Underground documentary, which was given a particular tinge with all the codeine.

It has been a very strange couple of days, too. I'm not a real doom-scroller type, but reading anything longer than a few paragraphs of some redditor's effort post has felt like tackling Ulysses, so I've been watching people on Metafilter squabble about Joe Biden's mental condition and puzzling over the meanings of memes in random Lemmy instances. 

I hurt myself laugh-wheezing at this comment: 

"The old malarkey is dying, the new context struggles to be born: now is the time of coconuts."

I get the feeling I will be back to mostly normal minus some lingering sore throat and coughing tomorrow, and some sleep deprivation to pay down. The forecast says high 90s, but I will need to get out into the sun for a while.