I got COVID-19. Again.

It’s not over, folks. At this rate, it probably never will be…

Isolating for the second time

My body sometimes feels like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I get sick maybe every other month —at least once a quarter, for sure. It’s either a shitty immune system, or a strategic way of releasing pressure in mild bouts of physical stress. Whatever it is, my flu or stomachache or severe migraine leads me to my hospital’s COVID-19 testing facility just to be sure. And it’s almost always a false alarm.

Except for two instances. First, way back in Leo season of 2022. That bout of COVID-19 came with an itchy throat, headache and myalgia. Later it progressed to a more severe sore throat with fever. According to my journal, I found isolation restful and tedious and tiring in turns.

And now’s the second time. Hopefully the last. I’ve heard enough horror stories about long COVID and the underreported sequelae of COVID-19 infections to want a third round.

My symptoms now are much milder. I only have a runny nose and occasional headaches from the congestion. But it’s still tedious and tiring and restful in turns.

And also similar to before, I can only thank the universe for the comforts of modern technology. That is, GrabFood for almost all my meals, Zoom for online conferences and learning opportunities, and social media for when it gets lonely.

Zoom calls featuring my standing desk. Though I couldn’t see my patients, I could still participate in learning activities and monthly audits. I’m reposting this Instagram story here because I might as well share the link to this simple standing table (at least 3 people have asked me about it).

I bought it online from Lazada. It’s currently sold out though. But here’s the link!

Bonus for the eagle-eyed: I’m now taking Vitamin C supplements more regularly to bolster said shitty immune system. That’s the orange bottle on my desk. There are some RCTs that posit Vitamin C supplementation (at least 1g per day?) can reduce the duration of a cold by 1 to 1.5 days. It won’t do anything to help with the symptom severity though.

Second bonus for the generous: the link goes to my Ko-fi page.

Will it ever be over

This episode has me thinking about prevention and population-level cure. My last COVID-19 booster was way back in July of 2022. Maybe June. That’s already considering that I’m a healthcare worker with supposedly first-line access to boosters.

I don’t know how it is in other countries. But here in the capital of the Philippines, the rollout of vaccines for COVID-19 has stopped as everyone went back to work.

People are really leaning hard into the philosophy of “living with COVID-19” or the “new normal”. It’s kind of crazy to me that we as a population have just decided to GET OVER IT. That’s two to three years of intense collective trauma, unusual development conditions for children, poor learning outcomes for students and a lot of unprocessed grief that we just decided to let go. The pandemic has outlasted the limits of our attention span.

It’s even worse in other countries, where wearing masks outdoors and indoors are no longer the norm. At least here in Manila, people still wear masks while walking inside malls or commuting inside packed trains.

So I think we’re bound to get breakouts and new surges every now and then. It will likely never be as bad as those first few dark years. And yet this is still obviously a preventable disease that we just aren’t gonna put a lot of effort into preventing.

I will admit to being part of the problem (and therefore also the solution). Aside from the whole not-recently-vaccinated, I’ve also been more lax about wearing a well-fitting mask. In fact just two days before my symptoms started, I was on duty at the ER wearing only a surgical mask. And unfortunately we did get a COVID-19 patient, and we also received a lot of untested snotty children.

D minus 2. That was actually a pretty good ER shift. I had stellar interns and a super competent co-resident with me (and also we were obviously blessed to have 4 interns to a night shift). I got to rest and do some other work instead of seeing to patients for 12 hours straight.

But maybe I really should have invested in wearing more than just a surgical mask at work. Sorry.

And so back to work

Our most recent hospital policy imposes a 7-day isolation period for healthcare workers with mild symptoms. It can be shortened to a 5-day period if we end up testing negative by day 5 using an approved test kit.

That’s why I also tried out GrabMart to buy some test kits online. (This post is not sponsored, unfortunately).

Nasal swabbing at home. Yes, test kits still exist. No, not all test kits are equal. Yes, it’s super easy to do yourself and I encourage every household with means to stock on them just in case someone gets the flu.

We actually have an FDA approved test kit at our South home that I could have express delivered to me instead of buying new ones on GrabMart, but that was a SALIVA kit… You will not catch me testing my own saliva if there is literally any other option. It’s just so ick.

The lazy part of me (which contrary to popular belief is actually a pretty big share) just wants to finish the 7-day isolation. But my sense of responsibility and also corporate shame nudged to get tested and to go back to work.

Between my isolation period, the many holidays this month, and my 9-day vacation in Thailand/Cambodia, I only reported to the OPD for 9 days this April. And I was technically “half-day” for 3 of those because I was post-duty from an ER night shift.

That’s gonna be a total of 10 work-days by this Friday. Plus a total of 8 half-day shifts at the ER for the month. But by the wonders of workers’ rights, I’m still gonna get the same salary as everyone else. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about this. Quality over quantity?

And to end: get yourself tested if you have symptoms, keep wearing a well-fitting mask, try get a vaccine or booster when it becomes available. Stay safe.

Until next time! ❤️

One Comment Add yours

  1. Monch Weller says:

    Hope you get well soon! If I may also suggest, I’ve read that Vitamin D3 also helps boost the immune system — I’ve included it in my daily supplements (thanks to GNC).

Say something back.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s