The wonderful benefits of 42 days in isolation:

Iceland solitary

Before I tell you about my experience being sick, my heart aches for every person affected by this pandemic. For every life lost, I feel profound sorrow. For every person who is sick or recovering or long-hauling this thing… well… I hope you get better. I hope you come out the other side of this thing without lingering issues. I hope you are well now, as you read this. Most importantly, to all who have lost a loved one or a business or an income or anything I miss addressing… I’m deeply sorry.

I wish you love and healing.

Despite eighteen days of physical distancing, with my husband being the sole shopper and going to no more than one grocery store per trip (two trips per week if prescriptions were needed), I developed symptoms of some kind of virus.

It could have been a regular cold, but it felt different.

Although we had cleaned our reusable bags, had been persistent and hyper-vigilant about wearing masks, washing our hands frequently… sanitizing surfaces, cleaning taps, handles, door knobs, tv controllers, smart phones, keypads, dials, mouse(s), flash drives and so forth… we did not start cleaning our grocery purchases until about ten days into lockdown.

So, it’s possible that I picked up something from the grocery purchases, or from the mail, or from a trip to the local hospital for a pre-scheduled medical test. I’ll never know. My husband had been home from his place of work since March 20… and gratefully, was showing no symptoms at all.

My first day of isolation was April 7.

For me, the virus showed itself in the form of a sore throat, then body aches, then lots of nasal mucus. I soon also experienced heavy sweating and headache. But no cough. No trouble breathing, and no headache. One day later, and on came chills and a low-grade fever of 99.48 F (my normal temperature is 97.7 F to 98.42 F). My sore throat worsened and I developed a hoarse voice.

By evening of the second day of illness, I was noticing shortness of breath upon mild exertion. All of these symptoms, plus a stiff neck and swollen glands in my throat… lasted for many days.

I had a fever for thirty-four of the forty-two days I spent in isolation… reaching no higher than 99.86 F. I started to feel better by day thirty-seven.

I left isolation (my bedroom) on day forty-three, after virus symptoms had subsided, and seventy-two hours had passed without a temperature.

My husband remained healthy. He was my biggest worry. We were very careful. I missed hugging him. I love him so very much. We make a great team. We developed at routine pretty quickly. Some things were awkward at first: making meals, cleaning dishes, single bathroom use and such. But, by the time two days had passed, we had a solid routine in place.

My bedroom became my sanctuary. I was content, mostly because my isolation kept my husband safe.

On day eighteen of my isolation, I was tested for COVID-19. About seventy-two hours later, my results came back negative. A representative from our local hospital had called to confirm the negative result. I told her that my symptoms were still persistent and unlike anything I’ve had before… seventeen days of throat irritation, swollen glands, chest heaviness, fever and so forth. I was concerned about a false negative test—because I was very worried about infecting my husband.

The nurse told me that she’s heard of many other people saying the same thing. She advised me that the test itself is not faulty, but if it is not performed well enough to get enough mucus on the swab (from the back of the throat), then the test can miss the virus. So… well, what do you do with that information? Very little. Just one day at a time.

So, yes, I was nasty sick for many days, and I’m not certain that I did not have COVID-19.

Today, I could buy an antibody test, but apparently COVID-19 antibodies are hard to detect after four months have passed since infection. I left my isolation on May 19 (almost eight months ago).

I’ll never know for sure whether or not I actually contracted COVID-19. Nevertheless, I don’t regret choosing to isolate. And as the title of this post suggests… during those dreadful sick days, I also experienced the wonderful benefits of 42 days in isolation.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your patience. I want to tell you about the extraordinarily peaceful moments I experienced during my days in isolation.

I want to tell you about the people I met, and the lessons I learned.