Below is my personal journal now that I am sick and am concerned that I have COVID. Whether I do or not is beside the point; I'm doing this because there is a lot to process all of a sudden and writing it out is helping me get through that.
Day 1: 14:45
I called Health Link early this morning because I was exhibiting some of the symptoms that are potential indicators of COVID-19. Hypochondria is not something I am prone too. I am much more susceptible to iatrophobia and nosocomephobia. I want to stress that I felt poor enough when I woke up at 06:00 this morning that making the call to Health Link seemed like the right thing to do.
(Note: I knew what the fear of doctors was called (the former), but had to look up the fear of hospitals (the latter). As a wonderful aside, if you want to know how to pronouce nosocomephobia check out the wonderfully drawn out British accent on this site.)
Prior to making the call, I went through the AHS online COVID self-assessment tool so the typical symptoms were front of mind during my call.
The self-assessment tool has four screens of symptoms, presumably in decreasing order of impact.
I had nothing on the first three screens and I figured my seasonal allergies were my real issue.
The fourth screen got my attention though, and caused me to make the call. Again I wasn't really sure about most of my symptoms and ascribed a lot of how I felt to the fact that I had spent the last nine weeks in my basement office. But I did answer yes to the self-assessment and then again to the Health Link nurse.
So now what? Providing an affirmative to the questions on the fourth page triggers a referral to Public Health so now I wait for a call from a Public Health nurse who will ask more questions and potentially send me for a swabbing which will definitively say prove or not I am COVID positive. Until then, and I suppose until much past that point, I stay home.
As I wait, I have been reflecting on what this means, not so much with regards to my health but more with regards to my personal involvement in the AHS response. Given my role in the organization, I've been involved in the IT logistics response, have spent some time supporting the Emergency Coordination Center, and I was consulted very early in the process to develop the AHS self-assessment tool. I get the daily emails from AHS CEO Verna Yiu, and have participated in innumerable COVID meetings and meetings with COVID topics.
And yet with all of that involvement, I had not really internalized what COVID means to me as a patient and Albertan. That there are assessment sites that I as a patient can go to was well understood, but I have no real idea where they are. I knew that there would be a legal requirement to "self-isolate", but I didn't fully realize that meant I could not leave my property. I did not think that it couldn't happen to me, that I wouldn't get sick. I am a realist and understand the virulence. I consider myself reasonably well-versed on the health impacts, and I am confident that I made appropriate risk-based decisions,
I just didn't know what to do once I got sick.
Day 2: 1845
Here is what I went through in the 28 hours since I posted my Day 1 entry.
Walking up the stairs is hard right now. My ankles and knees hurt as I go up, and I run out of breath. Surely I am not COVID-positive. I mean, who would I have got it from? I have hardly seen anybody in nine weeks, and literally seen one person outside my family this week, and she was behind the plexiglass screen at the local gas station. But it this isn't COVID, then why the hell do I feel so bad?
Day 4: 16:00
I didn't do an update yesterday, mainly because I felt pretty good until the evening. I did crash really hard and slept for nearly nine hours, and I have to admit I am not feeling great right now. Much better than Friday or Saturday, but certainly still not 100%.
The main thing to report on in the last 46 hours was the swabbing ordeal. I truly think it was one of the five worst experiences in my life (and yes, I have had a remarkably good life).
Here are the steps one goes through for a COVID swabbing in one of the drive through assessment centers:
Man, that was awful. I didn't realize I could gag while tilting my head back.
So now I wait for up to five days to get my results. I am confident that I am not COVID-positive, and if I am, then the symptoms are mild for me. I will of course not leave my yard until the weekend which will be the ten day isolation requirement for me. I likely won't do another update until I get my results or if my symptoms change.
Day 5: 18:00
I got my results today. As I figured, I do not have COVID. Whatever I had was something else and now that I have a test result that shows I am negative, I do not have to continue to isolate. I wasn't clear on that point, but this page states the requirements.
I'm still not feeling great, so I won't leave the yard today, but if I feel well tomorrow I will venture out for a ride and maybe a walk. I haven't left the yard since noon last Wednesday (174 hours) and getting out will feel nice.