Yeah, Covid caught up with me.
After I came back from a wonderful trip to Istanbul with my family this month, three out of the four of us fell sick.
In a way, it’s a real full-circle moment. The last time I was sick like this, I was also coming back from Istanbul — in February 2020. The Turkish Airlines staff put me in a hotel room and made me get examined by a doctor. Damn, that was a strange time.
I won’t exaggerate and say that we were “unbelievably careful” — we did wear masks during our flights, but we didn’t wear masks the whole time we were walking around Istanbul. And all of us were vaccinated and boosted.
Also, I don’t even know if Istanbul is where I got sick. Maybe I caught it the week before, when I was taking French classes in Antibes. Maybe my parents caught it while they were travelling around Switzerland by train. Who knows at this point.
The same afternoon we came back to Geneva, my dad basically crashed and became bedridden. He developed a high fever right away. My mom was also sick — she had a persistent dry cough — but was okay otherwise. I was a little fatigued, but fine.
The next day, it was my turn to crash. That was the worst day for me, symptoms-wise. I had a fever of 102 degrees, and it felt like I was breathing fire. My nose was completely blocked. I was supposed to go into work that day to help with setting up a physical exhibition and taking video footage, but obviously I couldn’t anymore. I didn’t get to rest that day, as I had to be on my work phone constantly, fielding urgent questions, scrambling to find a last-minute replacement, and trying to calm down a colleague who was upset.
Also on this day, my dad tested positive for Covid, and I tested negative. But out of an abundance of caution, I messaged three different people to reschedule appointments that I’d already made for that week.
The next morning, I also tested positive.
I spoke with a nurse from work, and since I had only used a home test, he asked me to go to a lab or pharmacy to get an official test. I looked at the website of a very efficient and professional mass testing and vaccination center that I’d gone to in January and — surprise! — they were no longer operational. Because the pandemic was basically over and their services weren’t needed anymore, apparently. I ended up booking an appointment with a pharmacy, which was free.
Less than 10 minutes after I left the pharmacy, they emailed with the result: confirmed positive.
I also received a text message from the canton’s public health office, which had been notified of the result. The message said that there was no need to isolate after testing positive… k.
I recovered pretty quickly, all things considered. After providing my work with my positive test, I was entitled to request five extra sick days (I only took three since it was mostly over the weekend anyway). I took an ibuprofen every 5-6 hours and slept a lot.
The last time I was sick coming back from Istanbul, I had conjunctivitis (pink eye), lost my sense of smell and taste for two weeks, was weak from a fever and chills, and coughed for weeks.
This time, my eyes were fine, I could not smell but could taste, only had a fever for one day, and my cough was mild. The only significant symptom was a very congested nose. I imagine that this was the Omicron variant: much more transmissible but less severe.
Although I’m much better now and testing negative again, there are still some lingering symptoms. My nose is mostly clear but still runny. I am still fatigued. And I sweat very easily now: any time I do anything that requires even a tiny bit of physical effort, I immediately break a sweat.
I’m going to keep wearing a mask until my symptoms are completely gone. Incidentally, I’ve recently noticed an uptick in the number of people wearing masks on the bus again. Have to imagine this has something to do with the recent increase in positive cases.
All in all, this was a pretty unpleasant experience. I’m going to crawl back into my hole for the rest of summer.