I managed to evade it for three years, but at long last, COVID caught up with me. D’oh.
Because the virus has mutated a lot in the last three years and because I’m vaccinated and boosted, this was a lot less catastrophic than it might have been in 2020. It was mostly “Bleah, this sucks—pass the Tylenol” as opposed to “I am on a ventilator and will die alone in this hospital with only doctors in head-to-toe PPE attending because none of my loved ones are allowed in to see me.” Honestly, if I hadn’t taken a test, I might have gone on thinking I just had the seasonal flu that knocks me flat for a couple of weeks every few years.
But then I realized my senses of smell and taste were gone. That’s a common COVID side effect. Back during the quarantine, one of my morning routines was opening up jars of scented things in my bathroom to be sure I could still smell them. I had no idea how truly odd this side effect was until it happened to me. Last Friday I was eating a bowl of ramen with tofu (one of the few things I could stand to eat with a sore throat) and it hit me: “OK, my mouth is full of all these textures, but I can’t actually taste any of it. What the hell is—uh oh.” I ran upstairs after lunch and tried smelling my lotions and soaps. Nothing. The only thing I could still smell was nail polish.
I like to cook and the idea of not being able to taste the things I was making was a bit disturbing. Fortunately, my smell and taste are already about 80% back. I’ve heard this effect can last for months, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for me.
And that’s about it. I get hit by a wave of fatigue every afternoon, and I’m still hoarse and have a cough, but again, that’s no different from what I’d be dealing with if I had the flu. Mostly, I’m glad to see how much things have changed in the three years since this virus first made its way around the world, leaving so much death and destruction in its wake. This illness wasn’t great, but it could have been much, much worse.