I spend the last 2 years speculating what it would be like to have COVID. Hearing the stories of those who went before me, hearing only the bits in which I wished my experience to be if ever I got the virus. There was always someone who had it worse, who had mild symptoms and those who really noticed nothing at all – that is how I wanted the virus to sit within my body.
Many have pathed the way before my isolation. There was no rule book or manual when it came to how we delt with this virus, there still isn’t. There isn’t a right or wrong; sometimes it just is.
The reality of it is, you can hear other stories but until you experience it, you have no idea. Sure, with anything you want a broad understanding of the symptoms and then you decide of the range of how you would like to be affected. Well despite your wishes, you have no choice as to how this virus sits with you – all you can do is be as healthy as you can be when it does finally come to visit.
What we know
On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show – I started to show symptoms on a Friday.
People, that now being me with COVID-19 are considered infectious two days before their symptoms started which is one of the most frightening facts; here you are going about your day as ‘normal’ and you can unknowingly be at your most infectious – that is what makes any virus just so dangerous and equally unpredictable.
The bedroom is only meant for two things – sex and sleeping. Over 7 days my bedroom turned into my sick bay, office, gym, yoga studio, reading room and restaurant.
Day 0 (Friday)
Didn’t notice too much out of the ordinary today, maybe did feel more tired than usual and sneezed more than I had in a long time but nothing glaring to cause concern. Upon coming home and hearing my niece had COVID who I had seen various times during the week, I did the right thing and did a RAT test. POSITIVE. I then did another one, POSITIVE.
My planned pizza & movie night just got hijacked. Instead, I was now making my way down to have a PCR test, bugger. 8pm – PCR test done. Half an hour wait not too bad considering it was a Friday night but maybe that played into my hands; everyone else was out having a social life, drinking, laughing, feeling 100%.
Day 1 (Saturday)
07:29am text message from SA Health. Officially POSITIVE. ISO for 7 days. Bedroom with ensuite and room with a view. I guess it isn’t so bad.
It’s funny, you think you have done all that you can to prepare yourself for getting COVID and then when you do, you have no idea what to do. Well, you kind of do but to isolate for 7 days in one room when you are normally so active – shit is about to get real.
I’m lucky really. I have a great support network of family around me and a husband who although isolating too (currently NEGATIVE) is giving me so much care and attention (from the other side of the door of course).
My COVID ISO plan:
- Limit screen time
- Only watch TV when it gets dark
- Eat three main meals a day
- Never have an empty glass of water
- Keep bedroom organised and tidy
- Shower daily
- Stretch and move
- Keep connected with friends and family (thank goodness for Whatsapp)
Lesson: Control what you can control aiming for the best possible outcome.
Day 2 (Sunday)
Woke up at 3:30am somewhat panicked; I felt a heaviness on my chest that wasn’t so much felt but sensed. The virus that I had tried to dodge for the past two years had finally set up home in my body and I am not sure how I feel about it.
I was anxious and fearful so had to remind myself, was this because of what I felt or what I had read in the media and had drummed into (consciously and subconsciously) for the past 2 years?
I called upon my mediation training to just breathe it out; find my anchor point and breathe. Within minutes, I had regained control over my mind and body and laid back into recovery mode to sleep it off.
Lesson: Don’t fight against fear, move with it with loving kindness.
Day 3 (Monday)
This isn’t fun anymore. I was really hoping my symptoms were going to ease but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I developed more of a cough, head was congested and generally feeling below average. Despite my efforts to keep on top of health, my health has other ideas unfortunately.
The upbeat nature I had adopted at the beginning, well only two days ago is starting to fade today. Emotions have come to the surface, I feel somewhat toxic and frustrated with my body and the isolation situation.
Lesson: Feelings like this don’t last; ride the wave accepting where you are not where you wish to be.
Day 4 (Tuesday)
I thought I had turned a corner when I woke this morning as I didn’t notice any congestion in my head, but this was very short lived. This virus is very much in my head (on more levels than one). Today I am missing personal contact; using my sense of feel towards others has certainly been restricted.
Currently I am divorced from life, my life, my loved ones, this COVID virus is pretty much doom and gloom, well that’s what today feels like.
Today I had to work hard at being more optimistic about recovery; things do change overnight, don’t they?
Lesson: Celebrate the wins, no matter how small.
Day 5 (Wednesday)
I can breathe. But what Is it with these cold feet? Upon touch they are warm; I get a sense every now and then that they are just freezing, they feel like they are going to be sore to touch but when I do, nothing, normal. They are warm.
The odd thing about this virus is, you notice symptoms and when you go to describe them you are left a little perplexed. What you think it is, isn’t. This is what this virus has been all about, confusion.
Lesson: Continue to feel into the body internally and externally to better navigate your way around the situation.
Day 6 (Thursday)
Being positive. It doesn’t just happen; it’s something of a progressive nature that builds and then one day you notice this sense of cheer; like today I found myself singing and dancing around just well, in a positive mood. It suddenly dawned on me; I was finally feeling better. The strange haze that had surrounded me for the past 6 days was lifting and I was noticing the change.
Today my husband wasn’t so positive; he presented symptoms and was not POSIVITE but not in the way he wanted.
Lesson: If you keep willing yourself forward in a ‘glass half full’ manner you will get where you need to be.
Day 7 (Friday)
It’s hard to describe how I am feeling however for the first time in 7 days I don’t have a blocked nose nor a booger cave growing in my nostrils so that progress right? I can safely say I am 99% symptom free. The fog that had been above me feels like it has lifted, and my spirits generally are that much brighter, I feel like myself pre COVID.
I dreamt last night; I woke up around 4am needing to go to the toilet which showed me things have returned to normal. I would like to say I am out of the woods, been there done that but I have a 12-week window of being super immune before my chances of getting this virus again are feasible.
Lesson: Routines allow you to work within achievable boundaries that help drive greater purpose.
- Blocked nose (days 1-5)
- Cough (days 3 & 4)
- Cold toes (daily)
- Chills (days 2 & 3)
- Fatigue (particularly days 2 & 3)
- Irritated eyes (day 2)
- Weeing a lot (days 2-6)
- Slight dizziness (days 1-4)
This virus affects everyone (eventually)
The strain put on those helping you through isolation is massive. Being in a household of two meant my husband had to isolate too even though at the beginning he was presenting a negative result up until day 6 of my isolation.
As I was locked up in our bedroom, he had the rest of the house which I think helped his state of mind (he doesn’t do as well as I do in small, isolated areas). He had been responsible for my food and beverage requests which I had tried to limit to reduce any extra stress; I know where I would rather be.
Like life, you just need to take one day at a time; deal with the issues that present themselves on that day not what you anticipate happening. Together we worked as a team, we kept communication in a loving kindness way and eventually made our way to the end.
As I write this, my husband has one day left of isolation with this COVID experience being very different to mine. We all have a story, I felt it part of my recovery to document mine daily – this was part of my recovery process and proved to be invaluable for my mental health.
So where to from here?
The fundamental practices of my health were tested over the course of 7 days; it’s fair to say each one passed the test.
Moving forward I will continue to view health, wellness, mindfulness and movement as a mandatory practice for daily life; daily I will invest in me and how I can improve myself from the inside out.
- Practice good hygiene
- Wear a masks
- Practice physical distancing
- Get vaccinated
- Get tested if you experience any cold or flu symptoms
Keep up to date by visiting the Department of Health website here