Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

I’m sick–covid or not covid?

MONDAY—I’m writing in real time to document what feels like textbook 2021 angst. By the time I press the publish button, all the questions I have right now will have been answered. It’s the hours and days before the questions are answered that pack all the existential punch. 

You’ll remember that my wife, Sue, and I traveled to Missouri a couple of weeks ago to see my mom (& fam) for the first time since 2019. We’d postponed the trip till everyone involved was vaccinated. At the earliest opportunity we booked the flights. But as fate would have it, we walked right into the buzzsaw of Missouri’s resistance to masking and the vaccine, and everywhere we went in St. Louis (and Hannibal, on a day trip) people were acting like it was 2011, not 2021. Business as usual. 

Three days after we got home, Sue started feeling sick. Sore throat. Cough. Lethargy. She never developed a fever, so we weren’t too concerned. But three days after that, I got the same symptoms, in addition to the news that my white blood cell count is low in the wake of my recent hospitalization. Not scarily low, but something to have in the back of my mind. 

So today I’m getting a covid test out of an abundance of caution. I’m not the kind who likes to look back and say, If only I’d have …, so eliminating the possibility that I caught covid in the goddamn covid paradise of Missouri feels like something I’d do. 

TUESDAY—The whole test process went smoothly, with a special room set up with a separate entrance so we (the potentially infected) didn’t rub elbows with other folks. All the health care workers in the testing area wore full PPE with ventilated headgear. This testing swab, unlike the one I had in the hospital seven weeks back, went much deeper into my nose—so deep, in fact, it stimulated tear ducts and made me look like a guest at Honey Boo Boo’s funeral. The nurse smiled at me. Now I have a wait of up to 48 hours to learn the results. Fortunately I’ll be able to quarantine with no trouble during that time, being an unapologetic introvert. 

My symptoms have gotten worse through the day, particularly the sore throat and an alarming shallowness of breath that really shouts, “It’s covid, bro!” Energy level is rock bottom. No fever, but I read that about half of covid patients report having no fever. Fortunately, I can still taste and smell food—tonight fried rice from the Happy Wok. 

WEDNESDAY—“No covid detected.” Woot woot! 

Hey, despite the test results, I still feel like shit this morning, but my spirit is dancing a jig. I guess Sue and I picked up common colds on our trip and have, for now, dodged the menace of covid. Which is good because I’d like to think our vaccinations protected us from all those insensitive Missourians. Also, I just read that many people who recover from covid (this is in a report from The Lancet) may experience a “substantial” drop in intelligence. At this point, I can’t afford to lose any (more) of that commodity. 

So, crisis averted. But I’ll say again and again that if everyone had participated in reasonable public health protocols—getting the vaccine and wearing masks indoors—none of us would have to worry about getting covid. 

We could have vanquished it. Instead, suicidally, we chose not to. 

22 comments on “I’m sick–covid or not covid?

  1. Audrey Driscoll
    August 4, 2021

    Glad it isn’t Covid. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Pamela Beckford
    August 4, 2021

    Glad you avoided Covid. Although I’m with you, if everyone just followed the common sense CDC protocols, we would all live longer. I still wear a mask (and I’m fully vaccinated) everywhere there are people. I just don’t trust that people without masks are vaccinated – our vac rate is only about 40% where I live so logic would say that at least half the people are unvaccinated and should be wearing masks – but I’m generally in a very tiny minority wearing one.

    Hope you and your wife are feeling better.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 4, 2021

      Thanks, Pamela. Ahead of our trip I saw that Mo. had a 37% vax rate, so I knew it would be dicey. At least Biden is now calling out the worst-offending governors! Not that they’ll drop their “own the libs” strategy. 🤬

  3. equipsblog
    August 4, 2021

    Amen Brother
    Some people are too self centered band maybe dumb to get out of their own way.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 4, 2021

      So true. I honestly think they believe they’re foot soldiers in a great political war, but they’re really just pawns. It’s sad. And infuriating.

  4. loristory
    August 4, 2021

    If they’d been wearing masks, maybe you wouldn’t have caught a cold, either. Glad you’re COVID-free.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 4, 2021

      Thank you, Lori. And the crazy thing is, you can’t really nail down where you catch something because nobody’s masking up anywhere. I don’t get it …

  5. Gary Trujillo
    August 4, 2021

    Avoid the skin-sacks at all costs!!!!

  6. Marie A Bailey
    August 4, 2021

    I was going to say what Lori did: that you might not have even caught colds if people were still masking up. Traveling, especially flying, was always dicey for me because the stress alone would make me vulnerable to viruses. I just hope you and Sue feel better soon!

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 4, 2021

      I’m the same way. Anxious, because things usually go wrong when I fly. I missed my flight once because they changed the gate, so I assume I’m always going to miss the flight. 😉

      Thanks, Marie. I’m sure we’ll be up to snuff in a couple more days.

  7. pinklightsabre
    August 4, 2021

    Both Lily and I had a cold with similar-sounding symptoms earlier this summer. Lasted 2 weeks for me! I can see why you worried it was COVID. Maybe instead just the common cold, come back for an overdue visit. One of the benefits of isolating and wearing masks for so long is not being sick. I found it kind of novel at first and then, not.

    • Kevin Brennan
      August 4, 2021

      We both had a freak summer cold a couple of years ago, and it wiped us out. Too dependent on the flu vaccine, I guess, so we hadn’t been washing hands enough or something, I guess. Now, I might wear a mask even when covid’s gone!

      • pinklightsabre
        August 4, 2021

        Masks can add a whole new dimension to your sex life too.

      • Kevin Brennan
        August 5, 2021

        “Honey, let’s roleplay ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ again!”

  8. thecovidpilot
    September 20, 2021

    I don’t know what the false negative rate is with your test, but I’d treat with an antiviral cocktail if I were you.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 20, 2021

      Actually, I do suspect a false negative. Took about a month to get over it, but I didn’t have to resort to ivermectin! Or bleach, for that matter.

      • thecovidpilot
        September 23, 2021

        Congratulations on your recovery. It took us less than 24 hours to recover with our home remedy.

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