Friday, December 9, 2022

So You Finally Caught Covid? Advice From Another Late Bloomer

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting… Covid, after so long of NOT catching it. Practical tips and anecdotal advice on what to do if you finally caught Covid, and what to expect.

To have finally caught Covid in late July 2022 is to – in my experience – have been a strange combination of feeling incorrectly smug and very afraid. It got to the point that every social event I went to was followed up with a ‘hey, I’ve tested positive’ text two days later. Like a shark, it circled. And despite my protestations that ‘tall people can’t get Covid (because our quality of air is different (non-peer reviewed)’, I did, in fact, get it. So if you are a late entry into the Covid club and are also having to battle the realisation that you aren’t special don’t have natural immunity, here is some advice on what to do.

Register As Positive On The App

On the My Covid App, Go to Dashboard > More Info > Record Your RAT Result (or call the helpline). That will take you through to an official page where you can register as positive and go through a basic q and a form, where you can a) ask for extra support if you are immune compromised, b) register if you need to be moved to isolate safely or c) have resources dropped off to you if you need it. Plus, you’ll be popped in the system and someone from your GP’s office will give you a call to talk you through what to do next. I had forgotten everything I had ever learned about Covid and having a nurse walk me through how long to stay at home for, what symptoms to expect and when I could leave was invaluable.

Covid Is Both Better And Worse Than I Had Imagined.

By the time I caught Covid, the anecdotes I had heard from everyone else ranged from ‘I didn’t even know I had it,’ ‘it’s a glorified cold’ through to ‘I thought my eyeballs were going to melt,’ ‘I thought I was going to die.’ I was pretty panicked that I was going to be bed-ridden and unable to cook or shower or do anything. My experience? Sometimes it was utterly horrible and sometimes I could function fine. The nights were pretty horrible – the sweats! The worst sore throat of my life! – but there was a good few hours in the day where I could shower, cook, clean up the house, answer some emails (only to tell people I had Covid). Most people have an uncomfortable but not terrifying week. If you have a condition where you think you are likely to get it worse, make sure you register that with the app and your GP, and your pals, so they check in on you. Now is not the time to be stoic!

Which Days Are The Hardest

Once I tested positive, I canvassed all of my friends for their experiences with Covid so I could have some idea what to expect. The general consensus was that days 3-5 were the worst. The day you first start showing symptoms is day zero (in mine and my husband’s case, it was being freezing cold and a small, almost unnoticeable cough, which we got two days apart). Days 1-2 were a minor cold, days 3-5 were miserable, days 6-7 were a mix. Also, recovery is not linear, and most people felt tired or more sluggish than normal for at least another week. Note: This is only anecdotal, so it’s just a ball park.

Why You Should Track Your Symptoms

I tested positive on day two and, after the advice of a friend, kept a note on my phone tracking my symptoms every day. This was useful because my husband was two days behind me, and we could get a vague idea of what was coming for him. Also, it’s great to keep a record for your own experience (or the dreaded reinfection), because…

This Virus Is Chaotic

If you are familiar with the Hunger Games oeuvre, having Covid felt like the second book/movie, Catching Fire, where something new (and terrible) happened every hour. Sure, there was the usual suspects: the cough, the fevers, the chills, the sniffles, the inability to sleep. But then there was the crazy ones – the weird twitches, or the fact that one morning, I woke up and my lips were twice the size and twice as pink as normal. All I’ve ever wanted! But… why? Also, one night our tastebuds went and my favourite chocolate tasted like wet wood. One of my friends got thrush from Covid! It’s all over the goddamn place.

It’s Weird To Have The Thing You’ve Been Scared Of For So Long

In the wee hours of the morning, I would think about everything scary I had ever read about Covid or Long Covid and I got the panics. It is surreal to have the virus that literally shut down the world. What if it took a turn? What if this was my life forever? But it got better pretty quickly after the first week. I am triple vaxxed, healthy and incredibly lucky to have only caught it now (of course, that is not everyone’s experience).

It Is Not Inevitable You Will Get It

And the longer you wait, hopefully the more mild the version you get. All of those pandemic precautions are there for a reason. The difference between my experience in July 2022 and the tales I heard from people who got it in March 2022 are already very different, never mind people who experienced previous variants. My sister-in-law is a doctor overseas and she has caught each version (Alpha, Delta, and Omicron, twice) and the first person she caught it off died (yes, I also thought about that a lot at 3am). Comparatively, NZ is still very lucky that our biggest wave has been the mildest version but it is out there and it is serious. However, a lot of people have had it now, and been okay, so we have a better idea of what to expect.

For more advice on isolating, including where to get support from, tips on what to stock up your pantry and bathroom cabinet with, and what to watch, visit our isolation story. And here’s why rest really is key to avoid long Covid.

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