A shot in the arm (literally)

I got my fourth COVID-19 shot today. Not the fourth one today, but the fourth since this whole kooky pandemic began. I opted for Pfizer, the devil I know.

The jab was quick and inconsequential, as usual, and my arm is a bit sore as I type this late in the evening. I did get a headache in the afternoon, which is a possible side effect, and was new for me. Not too bad as side effects call, so I merely grumble about it.

The clinic ran things very efficiently–I was in and out before my actual appointment time. Masks were still mandatory, of course, and they made me wait 15 minutes to see if I’d mutate into a super-being (I did not), but there was no real effort at physical distancing, unlike previous times. A decent amount of people were there (I had to stand in line waiting for the clinic to open), but I overheard staff say that this was pretty normal–most go in the morning and the afternoons are quieter.

I want to make a joke or use some metaphor about how the clinic is an old Best Buy, but nothing comes to mind. Have a picture instead.

It was also a warm and sunny early fall day. Having the weather continue to be summer-like is going to make The Rains that much harder to endure when they arrive. Maybe.

Also, here’s a photo of a flower at nearby Holland Park that I took when I realized how absurdly early I was.

A shift in perspective (YAPP)

UPDATE, April 7, 2022: A fitting (?) coda to this post: This morning, a week after my first symptoms, I tested again and still came back positive. Boo. This is not unusual and I'll test again tomorrow or the next day, but it's still a bummer.

For the last two years, I have considered myself an observer of the pandemic. I was affected, of course, right from the early days when toilet paper suddenly became scarce, to working remotely, to facing mask mandates, and restrictions on where I could even go.

But in all these things, I was just like most everyone else: Inconvenienced, maybe a little annoyed, but ultimately understanding why things were happening as they were.

But that changed this week when I felt a scratchy throat and a few days later, with the symptoms of what felt like a head cold settling in, I tested positive on a rapid response test for COVID-19.

There is always a chance that the result was wrong. In fact, just after the scratchiness began, I took my first test and it came back negative. I read today that about half of cases similar to mine (Omicron variant, fully vaccinated) can produce false negatives if tested too soon, because the virus takes a little more time to show up in these kinds of less-than-lab accurate tests. My partner had been sick and had tested positive, so I did entertain the idea briefly that the negative was a legit result, but I know now that’s pretty unlikely.

And so I have now had the virus and become an active participant, a statistic, if an uncounted one. How does it make me feel?

I’m not entirely sure yet. My immediate concerns were getting better and minimizing risk to others by resisting the urge to run into the street and randomly hug strangers (ie. self-isolate). Now, as the symptoms have largely cleared up (hooray for being fully vaccinated + booster) I ponder.

How likely is it that I’ll get sick again? What will it be like if I do? Will I experience “long covid”? Will I just be fine and dandy?

I suppose in a way I feel…unclean? Uncertain? I thought I would escape the pandemic without getting sick and now that it’s happened, I realize it was a bit of a faint hope once the variants started getting more and more infectious. In the last few months I’ve gone from knowing no one who had COVID-19 to knowing…more than a few. And that quiet little part whispering about my mortality—that’s there, too. I think of how it would have gone if I’d gotten sick before the vaccines had been developed. I’m not in my 20s anymore, even if I mostly act like I still am (I don’t know how to act “old”, but maybe I’m just fooling myself and I’m six months away from lapsing into “How do you do, fellow kids?”).

I may have further thoughts on this, but that’s all for now—other than hoping this whole stupid pandemic wraps up (for real, not just in some people’s minds) by the end of the year or something.

YAPP = Yet Another Pandemic Post

COVID-19: The List

For my edification in the future, here is a list concerning me and my favorite pandemic virus, COVID-19.

Symptoms experienced (in order):

  1. Scratchy and then sore throat
  2. Excessive phlegm/mucous in throat
  3. Intermittent cough (began after two days)
  4. Intermittent sneezing (began after three days)

Symptoms not experienced:

  • No fever
  • No body aches
  • No shortness of breath
  • No exhaustion (though the coughing in particular did leave me feeling a bit tired after a while)
  • No loss of smell or taste
  • No loss of appetite, but less snacking due to feeling unwell (a banana or toast each day)


  • Cough persisted for two days then waned
  • Sore throat persisted for one full day then waned, replaced by intermittent coughing
  • Weight loss began the day after symptoms appeared and persisted for the next four days before weight began going back up (see chart below)

Weight loss corresponds almost perfectly with onset of symptoms, and weight gain starts with recovery:

Positively annoying (Sick: The follow-up)

Good news: My sore throat is no longer sore today!

Bad news: My nose is stuffed up, and I’m now coughing intermittently. But I think I am overall on the mend.

Not surprising news: Once again, getting sick is a great way to lose weight. This morning, I weighed in at 175.7 pounds, my lowest of the year. If only I can keep it off. Without getting sick again, that is.

Appalling news: I took another rapid test tonight and this time shoved the swab far enough up my honker to make myself sneeze (I am glad this didn’t take place in a clinic), so I think the result was more accurate. And it was positive for COVID-19. Boo.

Two lines is bad. Unless you like viruses.

Day 4 and 5 of self-isolation are tomorrow and Monday, so I’ll test again on Tuesday to see if I am still unclean. If I am, I will curl up in a ball and weep quietly. And then probably stay home for another day to be on the safe side.

I was hoping to escape the pandemic without getting sick, but despite working from home since March 18, 2020, no such luck. It was a good run, though. The last time I was sick was in January 2020 (with symptoms that were suspiciously COVID-like in retrospect); I don’t think I’ve ever gone 26 months of my adult life without getting sick with something.


For the first time since January 2020 I am sick!

And I don’t like it.

Right now it’s a sore throat–scratchy and all gummed up, so I’m constantly clearing my throat, to no avail. I’m hoping this is the worst of it, and will be on the mend by tomorrow morning.

Here’s the sequence of events:

  • A few days ago, Jeff gets sick and stays home
  • Yesterday, and after he has largely recovered, he describes his symptoms, which make tiny alarms go off in my head
  • I advise him to use one of the rapid response COVID-19 tests we have (five total). He does. It comes back positive.
  • At this point, my throat is feeling very lightly scratchy, but I attribute it to singing loudly with the earphones on earlier in the day. I take the test. It comes back negative.
  • My throat gets worse overnight and remains sore today. I start canceling outings and planning out five days of isolation.

I am tentatively planning on taking a second test tomorrow morning to see if my negative result persists. I strongly doubt the sore throat is a coincidence and unrelated to COVID-19, but you never know!

But yeah, being sick for the first time in over two years reminds me how much being sick bites. Bleah. Do not recommend. If it is COVID-19, I suppose I can take solace in escaping it for so long and being triple-vaccinated by the time it caught up with me.

On the plus side, I went out today to Hume Park and took pictures of birds, which was a nice distraction. I stayed clear of other people, feeling a strong Typhoid Mary vibe happening. Some shots are pretty decent, too. Woo!