Update: Trying to Get Tested for COVID-19, Part 3

DAY 6: Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

The last few days have been difficult. I felt like I was turning a corner on this virus on Day 3 slightly and then by Day 4 I was knocked flat. Keep in mind that I am using these day counts to give you some kind of reference to what I am talking about, but it is very likely that Day 4 could really be Day 7 or 11 for all I know. I have still not been tested. I have not had the physical strength to go to a drive thru location and at this point, I feel like they will have the test for the antibodies ready as soon as the actual test for the virus, so why risk anyone else.

This phase feels like more of a body flu — it started as a head cold with some aches and pains, but now I have fatigue at an extreme level. Even though my appetite has wained, I have been making sure to eat healthy foods, even though I am not eating a lot, and to drink a lot of water. I make myself toddle out to my couch every morning because I can’t stand being in bed anymore. My couch has turned into a little nest.

I don’t feel any difference between taking Tylenol and ibuprofen, but there are still some saying that ibuprofen and NSAIDs could be detrimental, so I am staying away from everything but Tylenol just in case. I am also having the first real issues with a fuzzy-headed version of thinking where my brain is not moving as quickly and it is really hard to write or communicate like I normally do. The advice Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave about knowing when to seek hospital attention is very helpful to me now — he says measure your symptoms as if you are having them a year ago, pre-corona scare, and ask yourself if you would go to the hospital for them.

My sense of smell and taste has diminished like it would with any cold, but I have not lost those senses completely. I have been taking Mucinex DM maximum strength out of precaution for my lungs for the last five days. I dug some up out of my medicine closet after hearing a lot of rumors that it helped people with breathing issues to alleviate more life threatening situations. Today is my last dose because I have run out of it and there is none left to get delivered in the United States of America and the type I use is on backorder everywhere.

We need to talk for a minute about this cough. At first it was irritating, but I had been having a coughing side effect from that inhaler I told you about for months, so it did not phase me much when this newer, more extreme symptom came into my life about a week ago. Then the cough pretty much faded away for a few days — but now it’s back. I’m kind of focused in on the cough because in some way it feels like a barometer for where this virus is heading and how much danger my lungs might be in. I still only have a mild temperature that fluctuates by a degree or two.

I have a pulse oximeter arriving in a few days and I read a post from a doctor who said the real instrument asthmatics should be using to measure their condition is a peak flow meter, so I have ordered one of those as well. I can’t even imagine how much money Jeff Bezos will be pulling in from this pandemic.

I have heard from a lot of people who seem to be scared about this virus as if getting it were a death sentence. I can only assume this is the result of coming of age during the HIV-crisis, because it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Most people will contract this virus and as scary and as unknown as the illness is, most people will also resolve their symptoms and be perfectly fine. Now seems like a good time to consider a reckoning: contracting COVID-19 is not a matter of if, but when. Be smart and act as if you have it to protect yourselves and others. Only go out for food if you have to and just take care of yourself. Order your supplies, if you can find them, and harden your resolve not to needlessly worry or be afraid. It is not easy — I’m working on taking my own advice, too.

For the first post in this series, including Day 1, Day 3 and more details, click here.


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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero” Newsletter and is an attorney, contributor to magazines and newspapers and an analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at avanderpool@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.