COPING WITH THE VIRUS AND WITH ISOLATION (January 18/22)

Valley Journal Advertiser

On January 2, along with 594 other Nova Scotians, I received the results of a test for Covid-19.

They were disheartening, and alarming, but at the same time, the message was encourasging, that this is something you can cope with. Not entirely bad, in other words. Apparently I’d been hit with that highly contagious Covid variant, dubbed worldwide as the Omicron virus; and if my symptoms didn’t worsen, self-isolating should put me back in the world of the living.

It wasn’t that easy. A senior and widowed just before Covid first shut everything down, I’d already struggled through two years of partial self-isolation and shutdowns. Tough as they were, like most Nova Scotians, I adapted to the new sets of social rules, seeing as few people as possible, wearing a mask, limiting my shopping, constantly sanitizing my hands.

And then comes a positive test for Covid-19 and everything is ratcheted up several notches: The realization came that with the highly contagious Omicron, having three shots of the Pfizer vaccine (as I did) social distancing, masking up, avoiding crowds and sanitizing is no guarantee you are fully protected. To use a cliché, it’s a whole new ballgame when it comes to Omicron.

So the next steps after testing positive? First, you go into isolation and then call everyone you’ve been in contact with.

Now this is where my bout with Covid-19 gets unusual. Except for a grandson (who also tested positive right after I did) everyone in my family tested negative and never showed symptoms of having the virus. I ended up hunkering down with my grandson and together we put in the mandatory 10 days plus of isolation.

So, what’s it like having Covid, how difficult is it to handle isolation?

To answer the first part of the question, imagine you have the worst case of the flu you could ever experience – runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, headaches, and the feeling that you’ve just been run over, not once but twice, by a tractor-trailer.

Add to this a general feeling of disorientation, a fuzzy mind making concentrating on the simplest things difficult, and you’ll have an idea of what Covid-19 is like.

In my case, first there was a tickle in my throat and a stuffy nose, like a cold was coming on. Then there were two days of raging flu-like symptoms that began to peter out on day three. By day 10 most of the symptoms, except for a lingering stuffy nose, were gone. Despite testing positive, outside of a stuffy nose, my grandson never had any symptoms to start with and he coasted through isolation easily. Both of us were fully vaccinated but that didn’t stop us from catching the virus

To answer the second part of the question, how difficult was it to cope with isolation?

Well, I was fortunate to isolate with a grandson who like me, enjoys chess and plays several musical instruments. So outside of the time Liam was connected via his laptop to his employer in New York (Facebook) and I was reading novels, it was ongoing chess and music. There were nightly chess games, jam sessions on bagpipes, accordion, harmonica and the keyboard, and it was almost nonstop music all 10 days of the isolation period.

We were both fortunate in that being fully vaccinated we only had mild cases of the virus. Was it Omicron? The NS Department of Health believes it was since we both quickly and fully recovered during the 10-day isolation period. If this doesn’t tell you to get vaccinated and to make sure you have the booster shot, then nothing else will.

It was almost but not quite nonstop jam sessions when Ed Coleman and his grandson, Liam, isolated from the Omicron virus. (Submitted)

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