Happy one year anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year, huh? I know, it feels like it was just yesterday. Oh, you don’t know what it’s the anniversary of? Well, it’s been one year since Will and Paula contracted COVID-19! That’s right! We’ve been long-haulers for a full year now! Man, how time flies. Remember when we thought all of this would be over by July? Ha ha!
Man, having COVID sucks. It was one of the worst experiences of our life. But we were the first people we knew to contract COVID-19, and to this day, we still don’t know anybody else who has gotten it. And we caught a very mild case, mind you. We didn’t even have to go to a hospital about it. But in a way, it’s our little piece of history, just for ourselves. In our lungs. And in our immune systems. Though our antibodies have definitely worn off by now and we still need to get our vaccinations.
The worry started on April 12th, when the first tickle in our lungs made itself noticeable. There was nothing for us to worry about at the time, because it didn’t feel like anything worth being worried about. But unknown to us, one of our housemates was already undergoing a more substantial transition into a full infection. She, unknowingly, had contracted it during a trip to Walmart. We can only assume it was from Walmart – it was literally the only place she would go to, for picking up groceries, and would always wear a mask and sanitize her hands appropriately afterwards. Who knows who was infected at Walmart, or how many they infected? Who knows if the infected in question even knew they had it, and was simply picking up groceries for their household?
And so, the virus was inside us. By the 13th, it was obvious something was wrong. We felt a sensation in our chest that was wholly unfamiliar to us, and if you remember what April 2020 felt like, it may have been the most frightening sensation a human being could experience. We hoped it was simply a common flu or cold, but by nightfall the unmistakable symptom had set in: we could barely smell anything. It was COVID-19. It had gotten inside us. And we were the first people we knew to get it.
Let’s make it clear: April 13th 2020 was a terrible day for us, even beyond getting COVID. One of our rats passed away after a long, lingering illness, and that in itself is bad enough to set a whole day off. To make matters worse, the rat in question was a hairless rat, and it was Neil Banging Out The Tunes Day: A day dedicated to reposting an image of a hairless rat playing a toy piano. So the entire day we were looking at pictures of rats that look exactly like one that died after his eye fell out of his head two months ago.
Also, one of our friends slipped on ice and broke his leg while trying to buy discount Easter candy. So that’s fun, too. Great day for everybody. Lots of fun.
April 14th dawned and we were in the deep of it. It was extremely obvious at this point that we were suffering from COVID and it was getting very painful. Have you ever gotten that feeling of anxiety in your chest, where you feel all tight and it’s hard to breathe? COVID is like that all the time. Constantly, no matter what you’re feeling or doing. You can barely move around your house. Just getting out of bed and going to your computer desk is a hassle. God forbid having to prepare a meal, or go to the bathroom!
Our only option for feeding ourselves was ordering a pizza, and that was a nerve wracking experience. Touchless delivery was still in its infancy during this period, so it was terrifying thinking of all the ways this could get wrong. Having to leave a note on the ordering form that we have COVID and they need to leave the pizza on the door was embarrassing. We were so, so scared that somehow our pizza guy would contract COVID just by being near the house. But you still have to eat, even when you’re sick with the plague.
By the 15th, we were completely spent. Our bodies were weak and running on fumes. Will’s joints were aching terribly and it feels like every bone in his body was broken. Paula was so short on breath they could barely move to use their computer, let alone get up. It’s nightmarish. At this point, our memory of events is hazy – we were straight up delirious and unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time.
We’d like to emphasize here that this was still a very mild case of COVID. We did not need hospitalization, or even any kind of special care – we simply quarantined ourselves in our room for as long as possible, avoided contact with the other people in the house, and got as much rest as we could. At this time period, exactly what COVID felt like wasn’t well understood by the general public. Most people were still comparing it to the flu, that it was like a mild flu, a strong flu, or a whatever flu. It feels nothing like the flu.
The worst part of it all, was despite our delirium, we felt perfectly lucid. When you’re sick with the flu, you have that foggy brained feeling that incapacitates you. You can’t think straight. You’re barely aware of your surroundings. With COVID, you’re fully delirious in the way that you’re convinced you’re fine. You’re completely aware of what’s around you, but you don’t even realize you’re confused. You’re walking through a living dream without the benefit of waking up.
In this delirium, Will was making totally incoherent posts on social media about trying to make “open gangnam style” into a meme. We still don’t know what that means, and we don’t really want to find out. It was merely the only thing keeping us even remotely tethered to reality, by spamming that we needed to “open the gangnam style” as a way to avoid thinking about the fact that we had COVID and that everyone on our Twitter timeline was fucking complaining about Animal Crossing’s Raymond in a maid costume.
I don’t even want to get started on what sleeping with COVID feels like. Suffice to say, you don’t get a lot.
Our full COVID experience lasted the two recommended weeks to quarantine. Day after day blended together into a regular monotony that resembled, but did not feel like, ordinary life. Words cannot describe the joy we felt on the day after our quarantine was over, when we could go back outside and get fresh air and enjoy ourselves again, as much as anybody could enjoy anything in the COVID crisis during April. We marched boldly forward with the security of COVID antibodies in our bloodstream.
Aside from the long-haul symptoms. Oh yeah, those are very much a thing. One of the peculiar things about COVID is that some people maintain symptoms long after the disease itself is gone. Confusion, shortness of breath, and joint pain can last for weeks if not months after you’re “COVID free.” There’s nothing that really can be done about it, either. Once COVID gets inside you, you just have to roll the dice and hope you won’t get it bad. We were struggling with painful, aching joints and frequent episodes of confusion for months – sometimes to this very day. At least our sense of smell came back just fine.
Why are we telling you all this? Well, the thing is, you need to get vaccinated. Like, ASAP. The more shots we can get into arms, the less experiences like ours will happen. And again, ours was very mild. We were comparatively fine, and it was one of the worst sickness episodes we’ve ever had. Do you want to go through it? Get your vaccine. We’re sure we’re preaching to the choir for anybody who would look at this website, but it’s very, very serious. Stay masked up, wash your hands, and GET VACCINATED.