We had a hard and somewhat lonely holiday season this year, like many others who were forced to isolate over the holidays due to positive covid tests. It was even harder to go through this isolation because our whole population was not under such strict restrictions and which meant we watched as many others were able to go about their normal lives and visit family for the holidays. We missed out on a family gathering, thankfully some others were willing to postpone until we were out of isolation.
Note: the following is a written depiction of my families experience with testing positive for COVID. Me and my husband are fully vaccinated and waiting for our invite to get the booster. My children have not yet received their vaccination due to some medical and personal obstacles but are scheduled to get them next week. I respect that everyone has their own opinions about COVID and the vaccination. This is my opinion.
Since I tested positive I have had a lot of people asking about my symptoms and our experience. Its amazing how much the information and stories of others can give us comfort at times like these. This is my story:
On December 19, 2 days after school ended for the holidays my daughter came to me and said that she had a dull headache. I did not think much of it, I asked her if it was bad enough that she wanted some medicine, but she said she was fine. The headache passed then the next day she said that her throat was slightly irritated but did not really hurt. I asked her to explain and it sounded like she had eaten something that scratched her throat. She went about her day and acted fine and was not irritated by it. On the 3rd day she was feeling fine and we went about our day, at dinner on the last day she said that her dull headache was back. Because the holidays were upon us and we had plans to be visiting family, I told my husbands that I wanted to get her a rapid test to put my mind at ease before we visit anyone. Most people likely would not have tested for COVID with symptoms like this, but I am glad we did because she tested positive. We did not even have to wait more than an minute for the test line to show up! We then made an appointment to get both kids and ourselves a PCR test. Unfortunately at that appointment, the testing center was starting to see the effects of being overloaded (Dec 23) and they agreed to only test our kids and not my husband and I despite having a runny nose and headache. My husband and I managed to get ahold of some rapid tests from a friend and we tested on Dec 23 and were negative. The PCR results came back at 11pm on Christmas Eve, thankfully my son was negative but my daughter was confirmed positive. I was impressed that Fraser Health called us Christmas Day around lunchtime to do the interview/contact tracing. Our family doctor also called us a few days after that to follow-up.
Unfortunately on Dec 27th I was starting to show increased symptoms and on Wednesday Dec 29th I was able to get ahold of another rapid test and it was an immediate positive result. I started off with feeling tired, body aches and sneezing….. soo much sneezing. (which is a great symptom to have for a contagious airborne virus). It progressed into such a severe headache/migraine and stiff neck – I would describe it as the feeling where your head feels like it is in a vice and your eyes are sore and the pressure in your head make it feel like your head is going to explode. My neck was stiff and my body ached and I was even more tired than what a normal busy mom tends to experience. On Dec 28th I lost all taste and smell. Then I developed black eyes and bruising on an eyelid. It was then that I started to panic a little. I remember sitting in bed that night and feeling compelled to write a letter to my kids and husband. Make sure that he knew where to find important information and documents and make sure they all knew I loved them.
I cant explain it, it was just a sudden sense that this virus had a mind of its own and that I had no idea what to expect. No idea what would come next and where it would go. Googling symptoms and other info about COVID certainly caused me more anxiety. I wrote several pages that night and cried. It was so hard because I was isolated from everyone too.
For almost 2 years our family has been able to keep from getting infected. We have been so careful and complacent. We don’t know for sure what variation we were infected with nor do we have any control over what variation we get infected with. A series of events are likely to have increased our risk factor. Regardless COVID has made everything difficult. I don’t wish it on anyone.
Being a parent is busy enough, throw in Covid makes for a added stress, exhaustion and anxiety.
The hardest part for us is the symptoms that are now lingering – specifically the effects to our taste and smell. While my daughter only had a dull headache and irritated throat for 3 days, it has been several weeks of her taste/smell being altered. I had more intense symptoms for about 9 days and have not been able to taste/smell anything for 11 days now. I also worry about long term effects that I may not be seeing at this point (organ damage, blood clots, depression, mood problems and reduction of brain tissue) because so much about COVID-19 is still unknown.
The crazy thing about COVID is that just about anything can be a symptom too. If you have any symptoms it really is best to assume you have it. Unfortunately with the rate of infection right now, it is probably just a matter of time and most of the population is going to get infected. If you do develop symptoms I certainly understand the desire to get it confirmed, and with the lack of rapid test availability and the restrictions on the PCR tests it can become a desperate feeling to get some kind of verification. I am not sure I personally agree with the blanket 5 days of isolation for vaccinated here in BC, as I really think it depends on everyone situation. I personally have had active symptoms for much longer than 5 days and still have some. I was unclear as to when I can stop isolating since I still have no taste/smell, brain fog/focus issues, occasional bouts of nausea, body aches, fatigue and congestion but I am also told these are common long-covid symptoms.
The next few weeks, now that school is back in will certainly have an effect on transmission. If you feel anxious about the return to school – I hear you. No matter what you decided or what your situation allows when it comes to sending your kids back to school – know you are doing your best. We are all just trying to get through this the best we can with what we got.
Praying for a happier, healthier 2022!
Have you had COVID? How was your experience? Do you have lingering long-COVID symptoms?
Valentines day is fast approaching, here are some ideas on how to celebrate during in a pandemic.