October 19, 2022
A SMALL BLUE line next to the control. The test had come up positive.
There were nuns outside on my patio, having a small bake sale. All my succulent planters had been moved to accommodate their small tables and trolleys of sweet, colorful things. I was a little miffed at my things being pushed aside, but I didn’t say anything. These were the nuns from my seventh and eighth grade years at parochial school. They have not aged, their hair still dark gray with occasional white stripes, and covered in a blue habit. I said good morning, despite their intrusion. I still fear their authority. Small goddesses of strict living. Sister Encarnacion, the principal, wasn’t there, but I saw the others, full half smiles and small judgments. It was a bright fall day, the air finally moving and the sun soft and dappling after the many heat waves of this past summer.
When I woke up, my chest was dense. My throat hurt and my nose was running. The virus was present in its many locations. I coughed and got up from my fever dream. I told myself that I would sleep it away. The sensation in my lungs was much less heavy and less stinging than the first time I had Covid in March 2020. Progress, I told myself.
I got myself together and sat outside to watch the dog for some time. I had given him a jar of almond butter the night before, which I no longer wanted. He had made significant inroads. I watched him, with his tongue in the jar and his eyes closed, busy in his happy dog thoughts.
I saw a mouse on the patio, too. I had not seen mice here ever. I was disturbed and intrigued. The mouse found a small hole in the ground and dove in. I made a note to handle the mouse problem tomorrow.
I’d brought along a clipboard of poems I am editing for my book, and I started to edit one that was still particularly bad.
The dog came right before me and barfed. Some dog stomach fluid, his morning dog food, undoubtedly some almond butter, and some dog hair. He was not surprised, the way I am shocked, when I throw up, at how my stomach can heave out its contents at whim. He started to eat his own barf, as dogs do. I got up, so I too would not barf. Afterwards, I cleaned the patio with the hose. The dog sat at a distance, smiling at me, his pink tongue hanging out sideways from his mouth, as it does when he is relaxed. I was irritated now, because I had been hoping to use this patio for practicing yoga. But I’m sick anyways, there’s no way I would have done any yoga. I would have to bury the memory of the dog barf so I could use the patio in peace later. I checked the internet to make sure almond butter does not poison dogs. It does not.
I sneezed over and over again, like everyone else in the house. I tried to track out how exactly I got Covid this time, but stopped before reaching any definite conclusion. I tried not to nitpick on who gave it to me, or how exactly it moved through the air to me. There’s no point in such scrutiny. They’ve declared the pandemic over anyways (lol).
Someone brought us Chinese food and Paxlovid and inhalers, just in case. I ate my noodles and tofu, just to eat something. I repeated the word ageusia a few times aloud, with different emphases on each vowel. The taste of the noodles and tofu was tempered, though I couldn’t be sure whether I was suffering from ageusia or just congestion. I read the entire Paxlovid drug pamphlet from start to finish, focusing on the Emergency Use summary, clicking my tongue. I told whoever would listen that the health literacy in this country is so low, how would a layman understand these badly-designed instructional graphics?—but everyone else had already taken their medication and retreated to their own separate couches to rest. I swallowed the three pills. Day 1 of 5.
I went to my room and slept for hours. I woke up hot and sweating. The sun was setting outside. This time, I’d been dreaming of yogurt being boiled. I slept again until someone woke me to come drink tea and take my next dose of medication. The taste Paxlovid leaves on the breath is bitter, like a city burning.
I checked my temperature. A little over 100F. I helped with a few house tasks to close down the house for the evening. The others were more mobile and effective than me.
Again I went to sleep.
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