Covid-19 or Not?

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2021 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of a person in a mask.

One morning in November 2020, my husband and I left the house with the intention of going to Publix to get our flu shots and receive a Publix gift card for doing so. There had been road work in the area for a long time and the morning traffic stretched across the bridge that day. Making a quick decision, we decided to turn around and go back to a nearby pharmacy to get our flu shots. We had gone to that same pharmacy for our shots in 2019.

After receiving our flu shots, and I got a pneumonia shot also, we went on back home. Later that night before going to bed my husband and I both felt achy all over like we would with the flu, but we did not think much about it. Neither of us have ever had a reaction to flu shots before, and we get them each year.

The next morning, we seemed to be okay, but still a little achy. As the day went on, we started feeling worse with flu-like symptoms. A few more days later, we had chest congestion

that was different from any we’ve ever had before. I did not cough so much when I had bronchitis in the past. It seemed to be a much deeper congestion also, taking more effort to get it up, and we could only cough up a little at a time. It felt like something had burrowed itself into our lungs. Sometimes I would gag and get almost dizzy just from coughing. All this sounds gross, but it is true.

That was when we started thinking about how our granddaughter had been sick with

pretty much the same symptoms that we had. She had only been around us about once during that time. That was enough to give us the virus germ, but we did not know for certain. Not yet. As time went on, we continued feeling the same each day and neither of us wanted to say to the other that we may have COVID-19.

I started doing research online about COVID-19 symptoms. After reading about how it got deep into the lungs, I started thinking about how so many people have had to be on ventilators, and how many had already died of it. We had shortness of breath, fatigue, lack of appetite, but no fever. If we had a fever, it was low-grade. We did have chills a few times, but did not think much of it. Our sense of taste and smell wasn't normal either. My husband had more of a scratchy throat, and complained of respiratory irritation and a burning sensation in his lungs. I had a hard time breathing off and on, and it was scary.

About one week later, when we were not feeling any better and still coughing a lot, we decided to go to a nearby Doc-in-the-Box. After making an appointment online for later that day, we went and had the rapid COVID-19 test done. The nurse came out to the car to do the teat and never took our temperature, which we did not seem to have anyway, but I wondered why they did not. The nurse never asked if we wanted to see a doctor either. That day they may have been giving the COVID-19 tests only, but we should have asked to see someone anyway.

The test came back negative and after telling the nurse about how we got sick immediately after having flu shots, she said we probably had a reaction to those shots. I don’t know why, but for some reason we believed her and went home. Well, since we have never had any type of reaction to a flu shot before, we should have known better. I don’t believe we wanted to admit that we may have the COVID-19 virus anyway, and we just wanted to go home to our safe refuge. But after we went into the third week still sick, our doubts started coming forth.

Since we were uncertain now of what we had, the fact that our best friends chose not to come by for a while made us grateful. We certainly did not want to cause anyone else to get what we had, even if we still were not sure exactly what it was. One of our friends has a heart condition, and we knew that he did not need to catch anything from us, especially COVID-19.

For a little over three weeks, we laid around the house with this uncertain illness. The fourth week we finally stated feeling better and the coughing was almost gone. I was finally able to eat and glad of it, as I had lost close to ten pounds. My taste came back a little at a time, which helped with eating. It is hard to make yourself eat when you are weak, and feeling bad with no appetite anyway.

In December, I had an appointment with my primary care physician for a wellness exam and told her about our illness and how long it had lasted. When I told her about what the nurse that gave us the rapid COVID-19 test said about having a reaction to the flu shot, she said that was ridiculous. “No one is going to have a reaction to a flu shot for three weeks,” she said.

She drew some blood while I was there, and said she would check for antibodies and if I had any, that would mean I’d definitely had some form of infection or virus. A few days later the results came in and after going online to my patient portal, I checked my lab results finding that I did have some antibodies.

In January, I went to my doctor again for a follow-up visit. She confirmed again that the antibodies were there, and she thought our COVID-19 test had been a false negative. I don’t think she was too trusting of the rapid tests anyway, but we did not know any better at the time. The doctor felt like my husband and I both had been sick with a mild case of COVID. I thought so too, and if that was so, I would hate to have a bad case of it.

It is now February and this morning I woke up to see snow everywhere, so now we have,a polar blast to contend with across America. In the teens tonight and I live in the South, but I am more fortunate than some folks, such as the state of Texas as just one example. Makes me wonder. Did the pandemic bring on this weird weather or has all the strange weather we’ve had lately bring on this pandemic? How long has the COVID-19 germ been in the air we breathe anyway?

Everyone has their own story to tell during this terrible pandemic. Is life ever going to be the same? Should we make sure to have a lot of masks in our wardrobe? But wait! Now they are saying we should wear two masks. That is fine with me. I will do what ever it takes to help keep this awful pandemic from continuing to terrorize America.

I have always heard about the Spanish flu and other awful diseases that have taken so many lives in the past. This pandemic has changed our lives in a lot of ways and all we can do is try to help keep it from spreading. Look at how many deaths so far, and it is not just the elderly, or sickly people that have died of this devilish nightmare that has taken over the World.

This is a very serious epidemic that has spread rapidly and everyone should look at it that way—SERIOUSLY, and maybe one day it will all be over. I hope so!

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