I have been fortunate enough to avoid Covid-19 thus far. A few days ago however, I was sure my luck had changed. It was so sudden. I woke up and was unbearably congested, I had a deep, nasty cough and my voice sounded like there was a frog in my throat. “Honey, I’m pretty sure I got Covid!!! I’m freaking out!!!”
I made an appointment with my Doctor and sat in the chair fumbling with my phone. I started to google ivermectin. Then I started reading about long Covid. I started texting my Dad asking him for his secret stash of Paxlovid that I just assumed that his hypochondriac and well connected network had on hand under their bedstands. Before I knew it I had diagnosed myself with Covid pneumonia, a disease I had just made up on the spot, and I’m pretty sure I have Lyme disease too….and an ulcer.
My ear, nose and throat Doctor, Kevin Braat out of Southampton, checked me out and gave me a PCR test. I waited in agony. “Your Covid test came back negative.”
“Oh my God,” I said.
“No, no, it’s negative. It’s just a regular bug.”
“Are you sure?”
I felt totally unsatisfied. I had told like half of my social network that I was sure I had Covid. “So you mean, I’m just regular sick?”
“Yes, make sure to drink a lot of fluids, it looks like you have a minor ear infection, if it gets worse call me and I’ll get you an antibiotic for that.”
“An ear infection? What am I seven?”
I left the office, happy to be alive, but unhappy about the world I was about to face, because the fact of the matter is that these days, if you’re sick and it’s not Covid, you ain’t sick in the eyes of anybody, especially your wife.
I got home and told my wife the good news, she immediately instructed me to do the dishes. I did so diligently while hacking up a lung. I called my boss to let him know the…great…news, he immediately responded with saying, “Okay good, I’ll see you in the morning tomorrow.”
The next day I showed up to work with Dayquil in my pocket and a belly fully of vitamins. I couldn’t hold it back, and I coughed in front of some people. Everyone backed away from me like I was leper. A leper with Covid. “Don’t worry, it’s not Covid, I’m just regular sick. I got a PCR test.”
With uneasiness, colleagues and superiors would creep slower and slower into my space. During a meeting I wore a mask, which of course I had to explain why I was wearing a mask. Am I one of those people who are still really afraid of Covid? Do I have Covid? Am I not vaccinated? Oh it’s just a regular cold, well I don’t care about that you don’t have to wear the mask.
It was a nightmare.
A part of me kind of wished I had Covid so I wouldn’t have to deal with the awkward conversation; as I’m typing this I’m realizing I’m much more of an introvert than I care to admit.
My advice? If you get a cold and you are coughing, just lie and say it’s Covid. You’ll be a hero for not dying from it, everyone will be concerned about you and you won’t have to explain yourself to anyone, and you might even get away with not doing the dishes for the evening.