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Summer Conversations: We Got COVID

Early 2020.  I was filling the role of a Public Information Officer in the Hospital Command Center at our Hillcrest hospital. UC San Diego Health was caring for COVID-positive patients who had recently been flown in from Wuhan, and I was helping write communications to keep our team members up on the latest developments, like what kind of PPE to wear and more. 

I would alternate 8-hour shifts with my colleagues, one of many people packed around a conference room table. I remember the unbelievable moment when we went from 4 to 7 positive patients, waiting for COVID test results to arrive from the CDC in Atlanta, the U.S. Marshalls coming to pick up people who had been discharged, and sharing food with the hospitalists and translators who were providing in-person care for the people just a few floors away from me.  

You know the rest of the story or at least your own version of it.  

I didn't get COVID in 2020.  Or 2021. But I did test positive for it on July 18, 2022.  

Yes, William and I were in the 18% of people who hadn't gotten it yet, even though we knew many friends and family members who had already tested positive. I thought we might have some sort of special immunity, being 50something and encountering other respiratory illnesses in our pasts (and hey, I never got the Swine Flu even when my daughter's entire school went down with it in 2011.)  And, we both still took the recommended precautions: vaccinations, masking, social distancing, only attending outdoor events.    

Yet, sometime between our Kool and the Gang concert on July 4 and Friday, July 16, COVID showed up on our dance cards.  This picture shows us two nights before William had symptoms; isn't it crazy that we felt so good that we went for a walk around our neighborhood after we got home from dinner?  

William was painting wood for my new yoga dome when he started feeling symptoms on July 17, and I tested positive the next day.  A rapid test at home was negative, so I went in for the official test at work.  They told me it was negative when I left drive-up testing but thirty minutes later, they notified me about my positive result.  

Here's our Summer Conversation about COVID. 

Summer Conversation: We Got COVID

What food or drink helped you feel better when you had COVID?

W: Club soda (La Croix) and Jolly Ranchers (Rachel ordered a 4-pound bag of them)

R: Jolly Ranchers and the 21 pounds of ice that William ordered for us 

When quarantined and not sleeping, what did you do?

W: Listened to podcasts. It was hard for me to read or watch videos because my eyes were fatiguing quickly.  I listed to podcasts like "We Martians" and space stuff. 

R: I watched Season 8 of "My 600-Pound Life" and I read several novels.  Just finished "The Wife Upstairs" by Rachel Hawkins and started "The Girl in the Ice" by Robert Bryndza. 

What advice would you give to someone who just found out they have COVID?

W: Listen to your body.  If you want to sleep, sleep.

R: Don't try to push through it if you're running a 102 degree fever.  Be prepared to take some time off to rest and get better.  

What was the worst part about having COVID?

W: Starting to feel okay but then standing up and everything shifts and you feel exhausted.  This reminded me of how I felt when I had mono in college. 

R: Running a 101-102 fever for several days, feeling guilty about not meeting my prior obligations, and the worse part, not being able to have lunch with my daughter when she was in town for work.  

What is one bright spot about having COVID during this time period? 

W: We've already known many people who've had COVID and managed just fine.  I think it would have felt much scarier if we'd had it in 2020, there's just not as much hysteria about it now. 

R: We didn't have tickets for any events on either of our COVID positive weekends.  Since we were sick at the same time, it was easier to because we didn't have to worry about quarantining from each other.  

How did you manage your day-to-day life when sick with COVID?

W: Just do a couple of little things when you can, like wiping down the counters or doing a couple of dishes. Those things don't take a lot of energy but they can really improve morale. 

R: Ordering online groceries and having stuff delivered to our front porch.  

What's your update today, July 24? 

W: I feel like I'm about 85%. I got a good night's sleep and slept in this morning.  I still feel congested and will probably test today (one week) to see if I am still positive or not.   

R: My fever has been gone for 24 hours.  I tested positive on my day 5 test (required by work), so I will be working from home this week.  I feel slightly congested and have a mild headache but definitely improving.  I resisted working from home during most of the pandemic but I finally ordered a second monitor so I can more easily telecommute this week.  


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