This post is more for my own records than anything else. I just feel like...I don't know, it feels important to document it, or something.
Three years almost to the day that we were sent home from spring break and told we should expect not to return, Matt and I came down with covid.
The moment we learned Matt had gotten a place in Seattle FD, we defaulted back to being extremely cautious. We'd been a little more lenient with our masks and such, but we knew that covid could set him back and we wanted to do everything in our power to ensure he got through drill school unscathed.
Despite our best efforts, a recruit came down with covid and spread it to three others in the cohort. Matt was one of them.
Matt tested negative the morning of Tuesday, March 14 at academy, but he had a persistent cough and felt a little run down, so he tested that evening, too. The pink line showed up on his home test within 30 seconds, and we both immediately masked up. I set up the pullout couch for myself. I tested negative but wanted to be safe.
Matt got Paxlovid on Wednesday and isolated in the bedroom all day. I continued to feel fine. Part of me was sure I was actually immune, because I was still testing negative. We were worried about what this would mean for academy – would Matt be released and recycled in in August? Or would they let him and the other sick recruits return the following week?
If they did get to return, would Matt feel well enough to push through the last two weeks of the Grind, the hardest part of fire academy?
That day, I began to feel a slight itch in my throat. I tested myself before bed and got the faintest pink line: positive.
|I barely felt sick so I wasn't sure if the risk of rebound symptoms was worth it.|
That night I had chills and sweats and eventually I experienced a break in what I'm sure was a fever, although I never took my temperature. I think that was my only night with a fever, because the next day I felt pretty fine other than having the sorest throat I'd ever had. That morning, Thursday, I went to the clinic to get a Paxlovid prescription. I was mildly congested, but my lungs (my main concern) felt fine and I still didn't have a fever.
Matt and I spent the next couple days on the couch. He experienced a couple days of a low fever, a persistent bad cough, aches, and exhaustion. He also lost his appetite and had nausea, and threw up a few times from forcing himself to eat. My throat felt like I'd swallowed glass and I had some sinus congestion.
|My view for most of the weekend.|
Over the weekend we received the news that the cohort and training officers had gone to bat for the recruits with covid and had figured out a way to allow them to come back on Monday. Matt was still coughing and feeling easily tired out, but he went back to academy that Monday. His week was really rough, but he soldiered through and felt a little better each day.
|My other view.|
It's been about a month and I'm now experiencing breathlessness and a heartrate that jumps up at the slightest exertion. I'm not sure if these are covid-related or not, or how long they'll last.
Getting this virus we've been trying so hard to avoid is kind of a mindfuck. On the one hand, it really was mild. On the other hand, was it only mild because of the strain we had, the vaccines we took, and the Paxlovid available to us? People who got covid before these safety nets surely had a different experience altogether.
I still worry about complications 15 years down the line. Epstein-Barre can trigger Multiple Sclerosis; Chicken Pox triggers Shingles. We have no idea what a vascular virus like covid can lead to. We don't know if multiple infections makes you more susceptible to complications and long covid. We don't really know how to avoid long covid at all.
I'm relieved our experience was completely manageable. I'm grateful we avoided getting it when covid was still new, unknown, and untreatable. But I'm going to do my best to avoid a second round.
I've run twice since I tested positive and both times it felt more difficult than it should have. In an abundance of caution, I opted to not run for a few weeks. I may test a little run this week and see how I feel, but I'm not rushing it.
In the meantime, my energy continues to go toward supporting Matt as he enters his last three weeks of academy.