My COVID-19 infection and isolation experience, continued. (Previous posts: days 1-2, 3-4)
…and I woke up at noon, to my son shaking me. Apparently my family wanted me to do a quick vitals check.
Numbly I stuck my finger in a tiny pulse-ox device and let Owain scan my forehead. How did it get to be noon? How did I sleep… 12 hours?
I don’t think I woke up at all through that vast swamp of sleeping. My body just dove down deeply into rest and didn’t choose to return me to the daylight world. I would easily have continued, had Owain not intervened. My dreams were clear and … not terrible.
In the afternoon I did emails, then took in a webinar hosted by one friend (Matt Alex) and starring another (Paul LeBlanc). Next, more research. None of this required physical activity beyond typing, staring, listening, and paying attention.
In the evening, I wound myself down, unlike my usual nighttime burst of activity. Typically after dinner I do rounds of emails, housework, class prep, research, and conversation. This night I needed to rest instead. So I settled into bed with The Peripheral streaming from one laptop tab. Next to my a nice collection of Graham Greene stories waited on the Kindle. Owain played a game on his machine (the excellent-looking Return of the Obra Dinn).
I imagined my immune system battling in every squishing cubic inch of my body, rooting and destroying virus after virus. I further envisioned that immune system bulked up by vaccines and paxlovid (which feels like I eat it in whole mouthfuls), and that the virus struggles to take hold of my otherwise healthy body. But it didn’t feel like it. Instead I felt simply tired, and also felt I was doing the wrong thing by setting aside work for a slothful time.
I slept soundly, apparently ignoring my son’s repeated coughing. I had clear dreams which I can still see and reflect on, hours later. Owain is otherwise symptomless.
After a long shower (again, this does wonders) I took in two video meetings for 90 minutes. They were good and productive, yet I felt seriously drained afterwards, as if they constituted a whole day’s worth of appointments.
I took readings. The pulse ox read 97, 96. My temperature stood at 97.2 F. Weight: 216 lbs. All good. I also took the last bunch of paxlovid, ending that course of treatment.
Then it was time to do more. I hosted the Future Trends Forum with a great guest.
Then it was time for class. From 4-6:30 my Georgetown seminar wrestled with la paperson’s A Third University is Possible, then played another round of our Matrix university simulation game (interesting how the group wanted to work as a whole, rather than in pairs).
That’s a normal Thursday for me, class, Forum, meetings. Normally I would have traveled, too. It was too much for a COVID day, yet I couldn’t stop any of it. Each meeting had been carefully arranged, and I’d made commitments. The Forum took a lot of doing and I didn’t want to have to reboot the session for another time, potentially losing people. And my students had done work; I had to honor that.
I did power down to watch The Peripheral with Owain. Then read a few Graham Greene stories – perfect down to each sentence – before falling asleep.
I woke up from vivid and kind dreams, rested. At 9 am, too – not too much sleep, and in enough time for my morning appointment. Raring to go.
Instead of going anywhere I stayed in the bedroom, occasionally stepping across the hall to the bathroom. I held virtual office hours in the morning, then prepared for a brief appearance on a virtual panel. My topic: higher education and the future of democracy.
My family brought up lunch. After than, the panel, which went well, with good panelists and wide-ranging conversation.
Throughout the day I showed not a single symptom. No cough, no head pain, no fever, no joint pain. I was a bit tired, was all. So happily I tired up a COVID-19 test. Swabbed my nose twice, filled the container, swished, dropped, and waited 15 minutes, hoping for release, and:
I felt like just deleting chunks of my life. I canceled a dentist appointment on Monday. I asked a podcaster to reschedule our Monday session for…
some other time, since I can’t honestly schedule things now. I reached out to my client for the rest of the week.
(But I can’t really delete anything. There is too much that needs to be done.)
So what now?
It’s possible that I’ve successfully quelled the virus. My immune system, powered up by vaccinations and paxlovid, exterminated the thing, and what the test is picking up is worn-out viral carcasses.
Perhaps in a few days, if this continues, I’ll end the CDC-dictated ten day period and be free.
Or maybe I’ll test negative tomorrow.
Or… for pure hellish bonus points, I’ll exit isolation, set out for next week’s professional trip, then get hammered by a rebound attack on the road.
This leaves me fuming and frustrated.
I hate the uncertainty. I despise not being to work at my usual level.
I can’t tell if I’m actually less tired than I was or if I’m so restless and pent up that I feel more energetic than my body really is.
Let’s see what’s next.
Thanks for documenting your experiences with Covid. It seems like you’re on the mend. As usual, I am in complete awe of how prolific you are with your work, even when you are fighting of this virus. Please take care of yourself too!
You are very kind, my friend. Thank you.
*”off this virus,” not “of this virus.”
Smile and get well emojis go here.
You are a work addict. Dial it back.
To an extent, I am. I love what I do and want to do more.
It appears that you are recovering. As always, I am completely in amazement of how productive you are with your work, while being ill with this sickness. Please remember to take care of yourself!
Eggy, you are so kind to say so. Thank you.