My name is Matthew. I am one of the 26 million Americans who was infected with COVID-19. Thankfully, my symptoms were mild overall and my convalescence brief. Still, this is a virus I would wish on no one.
My COVID-19 Battle
For all the talk about my unnecessary travel during the pandemic, there is a 0% chance I contracted COVID-19 during my travels…I had been home for four weeks when I fell ill. In fact, it is not clear where it came from. Church? Coffee shop? The plumber? Grocery store?
My symptoms started with chills. I did not associate them with COVID-19, though I certainly noted they were untimely. Then, I developed an excruciating headache and congestion. That only lasted for about a day. But when I woke up the following morning, I had lost all taste and smell. I knew then I had COVID-19 before I was even tested.
Sure enough, my rapid antigen came back positive within three hours. A few days later I obtained a PCR test, which also came back positive.
The moment I lost taste and smell, I barricaded myself in my son’s room and remained distant from my own family. Interestingly, my wife and son did not get it (each were tested three times), though it is unclear if either has antibodies.
Thankfully, I had no fatigue, fever, or any sort of respiratory issues. In that sense, it was a very productive week sitting in my son’s twin bed and working. Heidi would make food for me and leave it outside the door. I’d eat inside the room and only use the restroom when the coast was clear. My “prison” could have been much worse.
A week later, I tested negative. I tested again the next day and was negative once again.
My taste had begun to return, but I still had no smell.
Months later, my smell is still compromised. I guess that makes me a bit of “long hauler” though I can still smell…just not nearly as well as before.
To illustrate this graphically, I cannot smell my baby daughter’s dirty diaper from more than a couple feet away. Guess who has permanent diaper duty…?
The thought of a permanent disability, if you want to call it that, is sobering and a reminder of why we take precautions like social distancing and masks.
Friends, I am so thankful to have recovered. I am so thankful that my father, in his 80s, and uncle, in his 90s, did not get the virus.
Did you ever wonder why I suddenly became so adamant about wearing masks?
My story is a warning that the virus is out there and despite our best efforts at shielding ourselves, it is still possible to contract the virus unless you truly remain isolated from all other humans (not something possible for most humans).
I hope and pray that my smell will eventually fully return. I’ve already explored experimental treatment if it does not continue to gradually improve. I can only implore you here: shelter those most vulnerable around you, get vaccinated as soon as you can, and understand that COVID-19 is very real.