Friday, August 14, 2020

August 14

So ... my COVID test came back negative. I was surprised and unsurprised. Surprised in that I definitely have symptoms consistent with COVID but unsurprised because now I am convinced I did not self-administer the test properly (did not get the q-tip far enough up my nose?) Anyway, I am going to take a second test early next week. Now that I know the procedures, I will be less anxious about the whole thing and hopefully do it right. If that test comes back negative, I will have a bit more peace of mind. But hey, shouts to NJ, a free test that provided results in 2.5 days is not great, but not awful either.

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

August 13

 I am still here. I woke up feeling like shit (groggy/dizzy) and rallied a little as the day wore on, but definitely not myself. I have no idea how I am going to survive another 6 months in quarantine.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 12

I took a COVID test yesterday. I felt it was the right thing to do in light of my symptoms. To New Jersey's credit, the process was remarkably easy. I went to the state's website and it directed me to several different testing locations near me. I clicked on a link for one of the pharmacies, took about 1 minute to fill out a basic questionnaire, and selected a time for my appointment. About 30 minutes later (yes, that quickly), I was parked outside the pharmacy. I called from my car, a technician came out and handed me a simple testing packet that included my voucher (which had my name and DOB), a testing vial with some liquid in it, and a long Q-tip. The instructions for self-testing were sent to me via a text link to my phone. I took the Q-tip out of its wrapper, shoved up each of my nostrils, and then inserted it, swab-side first, into the vial, snapping off the excess part of the shaft and sealing the bag. I called the pharmacy back, the technician came outside with a box and I dropped the kit into it. I was in and out of the parking lot in 5 minutes. No hours-long lines, no workers in PPE, very smooth and very simple (and free!). My one concern was human error - relying on lay people who are not medical professionals to self-test. Like, did I shove the Q-tip far enough up my nose? The instructions said 3/4 of an inch, but that is a hard distance to measure when you're doing something like that. Oh well. I am supposed to get my results back in 3-5 business days, which is not great, but better than nothing.

I am feeling a little better, certainly better than I did overnight Monday into Tuesday. I'm still a little dizzy and "low energy" (I did struggle a bit to get through a conference call yesterday), and so I have gone through several different emotions, perhaps not unlike the five stages of grief. Assuming I do have COVID, I do marvel at its ability to transmit, because I never leave the house to do anything other than grocery shop. How I could have contracted COVID in those 10-15 minutes, twice a week, is impressive, but also (obviously) annoys me as I have done all the right things and appear to have still caught the virus. I also think about risk - if you stay home almost all the time, your risk of contracting the virus is very low, which makes all of the negative outcomes from catching it moot, but if I do have it, now I suddenly drift into the roughly 1 in 100 chance that something really bad happens. Thankfully, I do not have co morbidities that put me at greater risk, and assuming I did catch it in the grocery store, my exposure was brief and I was masked, which has been shown to reduce the amount of virus you take in. 

There would also be some piece of mind (weirdly) in having been infected. At least I know I have it. At least I know if things go south with my health, I have some lead time to plan and get in touch with an emergency contact to take care of P and G. And, if things don't go really south, and I sort of muscle through a mild (or even bad, but not have-to-be-hospitalized bad) case, the other side is less fraught. That is, although I would of course remain vigilant in terms of my social interactions and how often I am out and about, I will have developed antibodies that likely protect me from another infection. All things being equal, I would prefer to have not been infected, but if I am, the odds are still in my favor. I will keep you posted.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

August 11

 How was your night? Mine was truly awful. I woke up in a sweat and feeling dizzy at about 1 am. I was really unsteady, but I managed to get out of bed, flip the a/c on, and plop down on the couch. I spent the next two hours basically immobile, restless, and occasionally shivering, sure that I had somehow contracted coronavirus even though I literally never leave the house to do anything other than grocery shop and when I do, I wear a mask and gloves. I toggled through the worst case scenarios, mentally thinking through what person I would inconvenience by asking them to take care of P and G if I had to go to the hospital and just tried to quiet my mind otherwise. 

I drifted off about 3 am and slept for about 90 minutes. When I woke up, I felt a little better (well enough to clean the litter boxes, though still not moving very fast) and managed to get the cats fed. I have not lost my sense of taste (I did choke down breakfast), I do not have shortness of breath, and I felt steady enough to go to the grocery store this morning for a previously planned shop, but ugh, it just is not great. I am going to monitor myself today and see how I feel (the worked out yesterday morning without incident). There are a couple of places that do COVID testing near me, so I may get checked if I don't feel better. Fingers crossed. 

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Monday, August 10, 2020

August 10

The season finale of Perry Mason aired last night. It was fine. The show had the vague whiff of True Detective about it and the finale was a bit clunky in terms of wrapping up its various story lines. The bad guy got his just desserts, the wrongly accused was not acquitted, the case ended in a mistrial. It turned out that one of the jurors was bribed even though two others voted to acquit without being paid to do so. Right now, I just want to stare at TV that does not make me think too much but is enough of a diversion to keep my mind off the daily awfulness, so, mission accomplished.

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

August 9

 Today is the anniversary of Jerry's passing. I can still tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was interning at the White House that summer, sitting at my desk in the Deputy Chief of Staff's office when one of my friends called. "Have you heard the news?" "What?" "Jerry died." This was back in the day when the internet was barely a thing and well before smart phones were even a twinkle in Steve Jobs's eye. It was such a dagger. It is hard to explain to people why someone's death who you've never met can affect you so profoundly, but Jerry was this larger than life figure but also painfully human. His passing, without it being too cliche, was also the death of a certain innocence, of youth and the promise of the future. The world is just a worse place without him here.

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

August 8

I dwell a lot on my age because, dear reader, I do not expect to make it to 60, maybe not even 55. I have what they call "bad genes" - my dad and grandfather (on my mother's side) both died at 52 of strokes, so I have it pretty much hard wired into my mind that I'm on borrowed time. In fact, one of the reasons I work out so much is because I am actively trying to avoid that fate (the other reason - not looking awful naked in case anyone was interested seems to be pointless considering there is a pandemic going on, I am not meeting anyone, and was not dating much (or having sex) before it started). 

Anyway, you would think having an expiration date like this would make me embrace life, but the reality is that as I have aged, my world has shrunk. Again, even before the pandemic, I rarely went out anywhere other than the gym and the library, I have no social life, and zero self-esteem. So, while part of me envisions a lengthy retirement in Arizona, photographing mesas, bike riding, and driving around in a convertible, the more likely outcome is I die sometime before 2025 and decompose for a few days before anyone realizes I am dead.

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Friday, August 7, 2020

August 7

There is no question I have talked to my cats more since, oh, let's say April 1st, than any one human being. It is not that social isolation is wearing on me, there are days it does, others, I do not, it is just that the two places I relied on interaction - my office and my gym - have both been shuttered for the last 4 months or so and so I have been essentially left to my own devices. I do not worry about the long haul, I am pretty sure I can do this well into 2021, but I would like to get laid at some point, which does not appear to be in the cards until well past I turn 50. Hope there's still lead in the pencil at that point ... 

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

August 6

I went to the grocery store this morning. All was fine, I was in the self-check out, paying for my groceries when the machine malfunctioned. It just goes to show in a pandemic how small things end up unnerving you. Like three people had to come over to take care of it (the container that holds the money was full and needed to be emptied) and I tried to shuttle off to the side so I could avoid close contact. It felt like forever when it was probably only like 2 minutes, but still. 

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

August 5

Ah, the vagaries of mother nature. A shift 20 miles to the west, an upper level flow a little faster than predicted, and what was lining up to be a disaster was just a couple of spurts of heavy rain and a little wind that, by the middle of the day was gone and replaced with warm sunshine. Go figure.

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