Content Warning: Covid
As you can probably tell from the episode title, I recently had to deal with Covid. I got off really easy, but not everyone is that lucky.
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TRANSCRIPT OF “MY COVID STORY”
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MALE VO [00:03]
This is Bad Attitudes.
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Hello friends and strangers! Welcome to another episode of Bad Attitudes: An Uninspiring Podcast about Disability. I’m your host, Laura.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Jala Prendes! Thank you, Jala!
Well, it finally happened. I got the ‘vid.
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As always, I want to remind you that disability is not a monolith. My experience as a disabled person is going to be different from the experiences of other disabled people. I am one voice for the disabled community but I am not the only voice.
This isn’t going to be an especially long or exciting episode because my experience with Covid wasn’t particularly exciting, for which I am exceedingly grateful. I am fully aware of how lucky I am for getting off so easy, and know that my experience is NOT the common one, especially among the disabled community. So please understand that although I am sharing my experience with Covid and I am disabled, my particular experience is not representative of all Covid experiences among disabled people, and should NOT be considered as evidence that Covid isn’t serious. Covid is VERY serious.
In my circle, I wasn’t the only one who contracted Covid. It actually affected my entire immediate family including my parents and sister. My sister tested positive first, and my mom a day or so later. Both my mom and sister are teachers and work in public elementary schools, so it’s likely that they each contracted Covid separately from their schools. By the second week of school (when my mom and sister tested positive), my sister’s school already had 5 other teachers out with Covid and multiple students, as well. There is also plenty of evidence that parents were sending their sick kids to school with a bunch of medication in their system to hide the fact that they had fevers. Even before Covid, students with temperatures above a certain point were not allowed to be at school.
I’m not insensitive to the fact that many parents have difficulty finding childcare for their kids if they can’t go to school. However, it is irresponsible to send a sick child to school. Again, even before Covid, every time a particular season rolled around — cold season, flu season, what have you — there were multiple admonitions from school systems and news stations NOT to send sick children to school. Keep them home. If kids are sick, they can’t function in school. Their bodies aren’t functioning optimally and their brains certainly aren’t. When I was a kid and was sick, the most brainpower I could muster was to watch The Price is Right from the couch. With Bob Barker. Because I’m old.
But, I digress. After my mom tested positive, she and my sister isolated at my sister’s apartment for most of that week. I think my sister had it the worst of all of us. It seemed to knock her back the hardest, and she lost 15 pounds in just over a week. Both my mom and sister were given antibody infusions, but it didn’t really seem to make a big difference in how quickly they recovered. All four of us had about the same recovery time.
When my mom came home, she isolated in my sister’s old bedroom. But, the day after she came home, my dad tested positive. So, he isolated in their bedroom, my mom was in my sister’s bedroom, and I basically had the run of the rest of the house.
We were all super careful between isolating and masking, so I really thought I was going to avoid getting sick. I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, other than a bit of congestion, which I chalked up to changing weather patterns and allergies. I felt perfectly fine, but I took another Covid test to make sure I was still negative.
Here’s a brief timeline. My sister tested positive on a Tuesday. That Wednesday or Thursday, my mom tested positive. My dad tested positive the following Monday, and I got my positive result the Friday after that. In total, it took all of us about 3 weeks to get clear.
The only sign that I had that I was really sick was that Friday night when I went to bed, I was really cold, which is very unusual for me, especially when sleeping. I tend to sleep hot. That Saturday morning, I woke up and took my temperature, and found that I had a fever of 101.4. But, by that afternoon, it had broken, and I felt fine otherwise. Truthfully, if it weren’t for the positive test and that brief fever, I wouldn’t have ever known I was sick. At worst, I would have suspected a sinus infection because that’s what most of my symptoms mimicked. Congestion, pain and pressure around my sinuses, and a slight cough.
But, the test said I had Covid, so I spent the majority of my time in my bedroom. I wore a mask if I left the room. I had to rely on other people to fix me food and drink. Not being allowed to touch anything really cuts down on snacking. The worst part for me was the fact that, since dogs are susceptible to Covid, my dogs couldn’t hang out with me. That was rough, no pun intended. It was also difficult for my dog, Murphy. Murphy loves hanging out on my bed looking out my window. It’s one of his favorite places to be in our house. But he couldn’t do that for nearly a week. He was so happy when he was able to look out my window again, the first couple of days, he would give me kisses whenever he jumped on my bed.
When this episode drops, I am a week past the 10-day post-positive test mark. My cough is still persisting, but that seems standard. It can last for a few weeks after Covid has passed. Again, I didn’t have any real problems with nausea or lack of appetite, or even a fever after that first day. I felt basically normal the entire time, although, looking back, I can definitely tell I slowed down some. There were things I simply couldn’t concentrate on, which is why I took an extra week off from the podcast. I couldn’t bring my brain to focus on writing and recording a new episode.
As promised, not a terribly exciting episode. Even as easy as I had it, I definitely don’t want to go through it again. As an introvert, isolating sounds great, but only if you have a choice in the matter. And, of course, there was the worry that my family might get sick again, or pass it on to other people. Because even though I had it easy, there is no guarantee someone else would.
I am grateful that my experience wasn’t worse than it was. During the height of the pandemic, especially prior to vaccines being available, I was terrified of getting Covid. I’m immunocompromised, I’m disabled, I have a lower-than-average lung capacity. All of these things seemed to point to the fact that, if I contracted Covid, it would go very badly for me. Add to that the multitude of news stories I heard and read about disabled Covid patients being denied life-saving care because non-disabled doctors didn’t consider their lives worth living.
It’s very easy to pretend that Covid is over, especially with everyone talking about “getting back to normal.” Obviously, it’s not over and it will likely never be “over.” Covid is something we are going to have live with. However, just because it’s something that we live with doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to take it seriously. Especially if you know someone who is disabled, immunocompromised, or chronically ill.
Unfortunately, those at-risk communities have to take even more precautions in order to protect themselves, again because the majority of the world is so eager to “get back to normal.” Remember that getting back to normal largely ignores the needs of these communities, forcing them to isolate away from their friends and families in order to stay safe.
Have you had Covid? What was your experience like? If you haven’t had it yet, I sincerely wish you keep up your winning streak.
Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you in the next one.
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