A Very Covid Valentine’s Day

Three days after getting my first dose of the Covid vaccine and feeling hopeful and relieved, I got Covid.

It was unexpected and surprising, to say the least.

Chills. Body aches. Morning migraines. Congestion. You know, flu-like symptoms… I had all the normal side effects one might experience with the vaccine. But then, I lost my sense of taste and smell – and that’s when things got interesting.

A positive Covid test.

Seeing as how we wear our masks, stay home more often than not (I work remote), and practice safety precautions, it was tricky to trace it back. But at the same time, Henry is in daycare twice a week and Sam works in/around Boston. Who knows where/how I contracted it? No one else we had recently seen got it (thankfully).

Trying to avoid contact with Sam and Henry was difficult as you could imagine. I felt like an alien in my own home. Not being able to smell Henry’s hair, taste my food, or feel connected to my family was horrible. But having overall mild symptoms… I felt grateful and lucky as I know countless others have struggled far more.

Of course Sam and Henry had to get tested too. And, well, both of their tests came back positive.

My mask came off and our 10-day quarantine began.

Sam experienced similar symptoms. Henry just a runny nose and a lower appetite, thankfully.

There were were – just two parents trying their best to take care of an active toddler while feeling less than ideal. It was trying, challenging, exhausting, depleting.

Family and friends were beyond thoughtful – coming by our front step to drop off care packages, groceries, meals, Valentine’s gifts and offer caring waves from the window.

Every day at noon, we napped when Henry did. It was our little moment in the day where we could try to rest and refresh, and scoop up the energy we needed to get through the afternoon.

I continued to work remotely through this time – as best I could. It was my own choice and my boss/team were understanding and accomodating. I didn’t push it. Just worked in little blocks when I had the energy to get stuff done. Honestly, I think it helped keep my mind busy and off of the things that were making me feel low.

When it comes to not being able to taste or smell… I am still greatly struggling. It’s Day 13 now. I can barely do either. A 1/10, if that.

I read an article recently that perfectly said what I am feeling about this strange symptom – one that is very common for those with Covid and one that will sometimes take the longest to return (if it does), typically a few weeks/months.

Here are the parts of the article that resonated with me as I navigate a world with no taste/smell. It may sound dramatic, but it’s been really hard and has made me feel low.

From The Baltimore Sun:

  • “You think of it as an aesthetic bonus sense,” Datta said. “But when someone is denied their sense of smell, it changes the way they perceive the environment and their place in the environment. People’s sense of well-being declines. It can be really jarring and disconcerting.”
  • “I feel alien from myself,” a participant wrote. “It’s also kind of a loneliness in the world. Like a part of me is missing, as I can no longer smell and experience the emotions of everyday basic living.”
  • Another said, “I feel discombobulated — like I don’t exist. I can’t smell my house and feel at home. I can’t smell fresh air or grass when I go out. I can’t smell the rain.”
  • But while she jokes about it, she added, the loss has been distressing: “For a few months, every day almost, I would cry at the end of the day.”
  • “If you have no smell or taste, you have a hard time eating anything, and that’s a massive quality of life issue,” Iloreta said. “My patients, and the people I know who have lost their smell, are completely wrecked by it.”

Literally couldn’t describe it all any better.

Sorry to be a downer; just wanted to explain it to anyone who is curious about the experience.

– – –

We started to feel better toward Valentine’s Day, which was near the end of our quarantine. We celebrated a very Covid Valentine’s Day, just the three of us. Not very romantic, but very realistic.

Dressing Henry up. Painting. Cuddling.

Sam was super sweet to send me a beautiful rose delivery and I had ordered him a blind tasting wine box for him from Argaux, that we can’t wait to eventually enjoy. That’ll feel like a real Valentine’s Day date night.

As of this past Wednesday, we’re back at work and moving into a routine again. Still slightly foggy-headed with that Covid brain (it’s a real thing).

Nonetheless, we’re grateful, relieved and thankful our experiences with Covid have been what they are. It came and went. We’re healthy. Henry’s okay (obviously he was our biggest concern). And, we have many that care about us and have shown us just that.

Even though it’s been extremely cold and snowy here in MA, getting outside—even just for 10 minutes at a time—has made me feel human again. We’ve all needed it. (Henry loves anything outdoorsy… like his Mama.)

Slowly but surely, we’re gaining speed and motivation. Hoping to continue our home search, keep things moving at work, show Henry springtime fun, and awaken my heart to life post-Covid.

If you’re going through Covid yourself, have lost your senses, and are feeling low… know that you are not alone. This experience affects us all differently – physically and emotionally – and it’s okay to go through the emotions it brings up. Always here if you need someone to talk to about it!

Be well. Take care. Thanks for reading!
Ari

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