It’s true. Yesterday I tested positive for COVID-19. I still can’t believe I’m writing those words. I have no idea where I got it. I followed all the rules and never did anything that felt unsafe. I washed my hands, wore a mask long before it was even required and used hand sanitizer excessively. Yet, here I am. Let me give you guys the scoop.
In case you haven’t noticed, it has been a while since I wrote a blog post. Truthfully, I’ve felt uninspired when it comes to my blog over the last few months. Maybe quarantine life got the best of me. I haven’t had any good stories to share. Well, until now. I keep receiving the same questions over and over from family and friends and want to document this wild experience.
My COVID-19 Story
Yesterday, July 1st, we were supposed to be leaving on a big road trip to get away from Arizona, one of the big COVID hot spots at the moment. We were going to drive through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and then isolate ourselves on a tiny island off the coast of Seattle for a few weeks. The drive was going to be ambitious, but I wasn’t comfortable flying. Instead, we will now be quarantining (again) at home until it’s safe to leave. Our bags were 100% packed on Tuesday night and we were already putting things in the car. I even told my husband I’ve never felt more prepared for a trip. Then around midnight, I woke up with a fever, followed by a headache, chills and body aches.
I spent a few good hours in the middle of the night googling COVID symptoms. I’m a worrier by nature and probably googled these same symptoms 30+ times during quarantine so I definitely could have recited them all by heart. I woke up my husband to let him know what was going on and that we couldn’t leave town until we figured out why I was sick. He asked me if I thought I had COVID and I said yes. I’m also a pessimist by nature and truly had no clue at that point if I had it.
Side note, thank goodness this happened before we drove 15 hours to Jackson, Wyoming. Could you imagine doing that drive and having to turn around to drive home?
We turned off our 5:00 am alarms, recognizing our road trip plans were looking grim. Once I finally woke up for the morning, Kurt and I spent a long time googling our COVID testing options. A few friends recommended different testing sites, but most of those didn’t deliver results for 2-5 days. We found a lab nearby that offers Rapid tests with same day results, but they only offer 200 tests per day. The lab had already been open for an hour or so, but we decided to take our chances. We threw on some clothes and headed out the door.
Kurt and the kids came along with me and I was SO THANKFUL to have my family there during the insane testing process. We pulled up to the lab at about 9:00 am and found two giant lines of people. There was a security guard directing people and keeping things in order. He told us to get in one of the long lines, which was outside in the hot Arizona summer sun. It was over 90 degrees already and flat out hot. There was no shade and the line was moving, but not quickly.
Kurt and I took turns waiting in line, while the other sat in the car with the kids. A break from the line in the car was a blessing, as were the rarely-used umbrellas I had in the car to shield us from the heat. I anxiously waited for over an hour, still not knowing if I’d even receive a test. Some people around me had numbers, but none of the staff offered me one or made clear how to get one. We knew that this was our only chance to find out immediately, so we just waited it out.
I finally reached the front of the line and paid for the test, which was $125 out of pocket. Since it’s a private lab, they don’t take insurance. I was very relieved though because when I paid, that meant I was guaranteed a test. I went back outside and headed over to line number 2 and waited for them to call my name. Once I realized there were many, many people in front of me, we moved the car over to the other side so we could all wait inside the car. Once I saw some of the people who were in front of me getting called in for their tests, I hopped back outside and waited some more.
The test was the nose swab, which wasn’t pleasant, but not awful. More on the test below. After that, we headed home and waited for either a phone call or email. They said I’d receive within 24 hours, but hopefully before the end of the day. We went home and I took some more Tylenol and laid down for a nap. Around 5 pm, I received an email with an attachment with my results.
Positive. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I knew I had symptoms, but for some weird reason, deep down, I didn’t think I’d be the first one out of all my friends to get it. It’s also wild to me that no one even called me to ask how I was feeling, where I have been or anything. All I got was an email.
OK onto some Q&A. I’ve received a ton of questions from friends and family and I’m guessing many of you have the same questions. If you have more questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer what I can.
Where do you think you got it?
I honestly have no idea. I did run a few errands in the couple days before our trip to grab things like medicine (good thing I grabbed that), snacks, etc. We did see a couple friends, but it was always in small groups and not at public places. I did return to the gym in June, but always kept my distance and was never close to anyone.
My kids have been doing sports, but either outside or in very small groups. I always wore a mask, even before it was required. I stayed 6+ feet away. I washed my hands and used hand sanitizer anytime I went anywhere or touched anything. I always felt like I was safe and still got it. It goes to show how powerful this virus really is.
How are you feeling now? What are your symptoms like?
I feel sick, but not that bad. So far my biggest symptoms have been a fever, body aches, headache and cold sweats. I’ve had some very mild congestion, I’m tired, not much of an appetite, and not much energy. The good news is so far I haven’t had any respiratory issues or problems breathing. Overall, my symptoms are very mild and I’m already feeling better today compared to yesterday. Good enough to write out this blog post, if that says anything.
Will you quarantine yourself from your family?
My husband and I talked about this one at length. We both believe that everyone in our house was likely already exposed in the couple days before my fever appeared. Kurt was sleeping in bed next to me when I got the fever, and Carter climbed in bed with us a few hours later. We told the kids to try to avoid snuggling with me and keep a little distance, but I do not plan to isolate myself in a bedroom. The entire family plans to quarantine ourselves for the next couple weeks until it’s safe and we all test negative. Thankfully, Kurt can work from home and this is possible.
Did the COVID test hurt?
Honestly, after having kids, stuff like this doesn’t phase me. It felt weird, but wasn’t painful. The lab tech stuck a long cotton swab up the back of my nose and spun it in circles for 15 seconds. It made my right eye water and felt a bit like I had to sneeze, but it didn’t hurt. Just strange.
Will your family get tested?
So far, I’m the only one in my family showing any symptoms. My husband wants to go get tested, but it’s still really hard to find a place without ridiculous waits here in Arizona. We both agreed it probably isn’t worth spending the money and going through the insane process we went through yesterday. We called an Urgent Care administering tests and they said we could come in, but they don’t guarantee they will test you (likely only if they have symptoms). We called CVS and they are fully booked for appointments for the next week. I know there are walk-in locations, but those likely have long waits as well.
As of right now, it doesn’t change anything. We are all going to stay home and wait this out. Likely at some point, we will all need to be tested to make sure we are negative, but for now, we are hanging at home.
Did you follow rules during and after quarantine?
I’m a rule follower and worrier by nature, so I did every single thing in my power to stay safe. During March and April, we never left the house. I switched over to doing grocery pickup and personally, haven’t been inside Costco since January. We rarely did take-out during quarantine and have only visited a dine-in restaurant a handful of times since.
I started wearing a face mask in April if I did have to go to the store, which I avoided at all costs. I declined invites to kids birthday parties because I didn’t feel comfortable with them attending public places. I only saw a small handful of friends and not in large groups.
The only thing that I did that was potentially risky was going back to the gym. I did it because, quite frankly, after months of being at home with my family, I needed those couple hours a week to myself. It makes me feel good to work out. It’s my happy place. I sanitized equipment before and after I used it, in addition to the gym’s increased cleaning routine. Our kids club never reopened so my kids always stayed home with my husband. Admittedly, Kurt didn’t love the idea of me going to the gym. But they were open, had big safety plans in place and it felt safe. Was that my big mistake? I’ll never know.
At this point, I’m hoping my symptoms remain mild and that my family continues to stay healthy. We won’t have the 4th of July we planned, but what can you do. Life rarely goes as planned.