Updated: Sep 25
We managed to avoid getting Covid for almost three years, to the point that when that screaming hot pink line appeared on the test strip one late night, my first thought was that the test must be flawed. But the body overrules denial in most cases, and the strange but well-documented symptoms began their Dada-esque parade through my waking and greatly-increasing sleeping time with aplomb. Just lucid enough (we hope) to write this today, I wanted to share some of what we experienced in Covid-land with the caveat that we are highly lucky to have not fallen into the abyss of the intense suffering and terror of severe Covid.
Stage 1: Why is it so hot in here?
Stage 2: This is a weird-ass headache, and why it is in clinging to the backs of my eyeballs?
Stage 3: Why is it so cold in here?
Stage 4: Paxlovid negotiations with doctors on phones (mine caught me the prescription in five seconds, Ken’s didn’t).
Stage 5: Many hours of dreaming of new breakfast entries, particularly one involving French
toast stuffed with artichokes, then wrapped in fried potatoes and topped with salsa.
Stage 6: Tissue-box emptying marathon aka why is half my face on fire?
Stage 7: Activate re-watching as many Call the Midwife episodes as necessary to forget my life and believe I’m bunking with nuns in east London is 1957. Come for Vanessa Redgrave’s
voice-overs. Stay for the crumpets.
Stage 8: No one in the history of humankind could have ever felt this.
Stage 9: This is the essential human condition, surely the essential mammal and reptile condition too.
Stage 10: Fall back asleep and spend hours driving over suspension bridges with my dead father, who is uncharacteristically quiet and bemused.
Stage 11: Toddler tantrum stage or is it the collective unconscious throwing a hissy fit?
Stage 12: Obstacle course of trying to order groceries online when I can’t remember what a banana is.
Stage 13: Chicken soup rounds one, two, and three, descending into just grabbing random ingredients from fridge or pantry and tossing them into the Instapot.
Stage 14: Pissed off at the world and will never feel differently.
Stage 15: Is it still meditation if I’m alternating between a ragefest and sleep?
Stage 16: Snickerdoodles, even if I have to make them myself.
Stage 17: Is this moment truly better and actually pain-free or am I tripping on the combination of Paxlovid, Tylenol, and chicken soup made with god-knows-what?
Stage 18: Thanks to so many (although counting is beyond me) episodes of Call the Midwife, I can now deliver a breech baby. So if you’re in labor and the baby is coming out ass-first, call me. Oh, wait, I can’t leave the house because: Covid.
Stage 19: The state of all living beings, including house plants, especially house plants, is profound sadness with a touch of whimsy.
Stage 20: Why did folksinger Phil Ochs really kill himself in 1976, and why couldn’t I stop him even if I was just 16 at the time?
Stage 21: Is the metallic taste in my mouth from this Paxlovid turning me into a robot? And if so, what if I can’t obey the commands of my master?
Stage 22: Having taken a short break from Call the Midwife to finish Reservation Dogs, I must now lie on the couch and plot out Reservation Dogs‘ next season, which I’m sure involves a stowaway Big Foot who has self-esteem issues, a redwood forest on a hot day, more casual visits from the exasperated dead, and a whole lot of fried catfish in Oklahoma.
Stage 23: Bollywood movies or even small touches in movies (usually involving the wedding scene) may be the ultimate reality.
Stage 24: I can breathe freely again but I just realized we’re living our lives all wrong, and there’s no cure for it.
Stage 25: Ken googling the immanence of God while I’m googling when Ted Lasso’s next season will drop in between calling friends with Covid to ask if they’re also sad, confused, and doubting what life is all around (they are).
Stage 26: Walking to the mailbox (a 2-block walk over the hill) by myself without falling down.
Stage 27: Does crossing over into daylight savings time take away an hour of Covid, extend it later into the day, or neither?
Stage 28: I’m so in love with the world I could turn into downy woodpecker tapping on our deck railing. Does this mean I might test negative soon?
Stage 29: What if cats are actually in charge? Oh, wait, they are.