Five weeks of joy with Omicron BA.5

Day 0: A slow emergency

Three days later, on Thursday, July 7th, a day that shall live in lethargy, I tested positive around 8 PM. Staring at the pink line, I took a deep breath and said, “Here we go!”

  • 8:30 PM 👩‍⚕️ Arrive E.R, put in waiting room, triaged, moved into room for care. I figure out how to move the furniture around to suit my style.
  • 10:30 PM 🧟‍♀️ Orderly comes in to give me COVID, flu, and strep tests. With the COVID test, she barely brushes my nose with the swab, and then says “Oops I did that wrong” and then when I ask if she needs to redo it she says “No that’s okay” and leaves.
  • 12:30 AM 🙈 My test has come back negative.
  • They propose to release me, because they need a positive test to administer monoclonal antibodies. I explain the “Oops” and the poor test swab. They propose a PCR test with 48 hour results. I refuse and ask to be given a RAT test again. They explain the errant approach of doing the same test again and again until you get a positive result. I explain the highly unlikely scenario of my positive test at home being a false positive (this is very true, RAT tests have ~5% false negatives from what I’ve read, but very very very few false positives). I re-explain the poor testing procedure and the “Oops” from the orderly. I play my trump card, and ask to talk to the doctor directly. I figured that it was a 50/50 call — either the doctor would show up and potentially hold their ground, or they would be too busy and cave in to my superior logic / petulance. They cave (as they should have) and order a second RAT test. 💪
  • 2:30 AM 🐽 Rapid Test given a second time — on this occasion they dared to venture into my nose (yes it’s quite cavernous) instead of just fluffing the outside.
  • 4:30 AM 😬 Positive test result returned. I do not say it, though of course I am thinking it. My ear to ear smirk does not increase my popularity with the medical team. Monoclonal antibodies ordered.
  • 6:30 AM 🤷 Monoclonal antibodies arrive (bebtelovimab), and are injected. It’s not an IV drip, it’s just pushed through the cannula already in my arm. The little antibodies cry “Freedom!” before they charge into the vein. I ask about a Paxlovid prescription and they say they don’t do that here. I remind them that it is the recommended 1–2 punch for immune suppressed patients. They nod and leave. If a patient says something but no one actually cares, does it make a sound?
  • 7:00 AM 😷 I am released into the wild. Over 10 hours in the ER, for a total of 15 minutes of testing and treatment. While I’m not ecstatic about the care I’ve been given, I understand.
The Mary Washington Emergency room where I spent ~10 hours accomplishing very, very little.

Week 1: BJR vs. the virus! Winner: virus

The next several days a horribly designed acid trip ensued. While I did not have any major lung congestion or breathing issues, my entire nervous system seemed to re-wire itself with cables chewed through by rapid squirrels.

If only…
  • The amuse bouche of the metallic taste in my mouth from the Paxlovid combined with the amplification of flavours to chalkboard scratching extremes meant that there were no comfort foods.
  • Nonsensical tingling of random regions of my body. Normally, I’m a big fan of tingling. Just not this kind.
  • Vampiric light sensitivity and Goldilocks sound distortion; This sound is too loud! This sound I can’t hear at all!
  • Smell seemed okay. I didn’t smell great but that’s not COVID’s fault.

Week 2: The Long Rebound

My symptoms improved day after day and my RAT test came back negative. Yay! There were still moments in each day where a small symptom would re-introduce itself; “Remember me? I’m nausea!” But they were brief and getting smaller and smaller. I could hear normally again. There was no feeling of having my heart squeezed.

Dennis Rodman was one of the greatest rebounders of all time. Even against his own teammates.

Week 3: Mild symptoms, mild frustration

Day 15 began a no man’s land — still testing positive on RAT tests, so I could still be shedding virus:

The RATS of NIMH

Just my favourite childhood animated movie, ever. Under 40? Google NIMH.

Week 5: The Virus Strikes Back

There’s no excuse for a Star Wars metaphor in this blog post, but such is life.

Doing the right thing: Statistics, hunches, and outright guesses

Throughout my entire engagement with the esteemed Sars-Covi-2, my paranoia of becoming infected was replaced with the paranoia of infecting others. Not just your loved ones, not just those with comorbidities, but everyone. Looking back at the last month, I took some chances with friends and family — outdoor engagements where social distancing wasn’t distant enough, etc. I actually regret those. If just one contact had been infected after I had tested positive, none of it would have been the right decision — but somehow we get away with it, our role of the infection dice never craps out, and we feel justified by our decisions instead of realising we were gambling with those around us. For people like me, the standard guidelines aren’t enough — otherwise on Day 5, I could have been running around (with a mask) instead of isolating.

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