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COVID Finally Caught Up With Me ...

Yep, I tested positive. Two and a half years into the pandemic and I finally was laid low. Fully vaccinated and boosted, I tested positive on August 1, a day after my husband's positive test. Side note: we're both uber careful, wearing masks when out and about, no indoor restaurant dining. My husband believes he could only have contracted the virus while walking around outside with a few other co-workers at a job site in Washington, DC on Wednesday, July 27. Neither of us had been anywhere in the interim between July 27 and August 1. But ... we did host an event at the house with about 40 people on Saturday, July 30. After our positive tests, we notified all of our guests and 11 of them eventually tested positive for Covid -- 3 in one family, 2 couples, and 4 singletons. Needless to say, we felt terrible to have contributed to the spread, but received so many gracious comments telling us "don't feel guilty, it's everywhere."

My first phone call after testing positive for Covid was to my Primary Care doctor. The antiviral, Paxlovid, was getting a lot of press, but there was another lesser touted drug that a friend of mine had taken -- molnupiravir (Lagevrio) made by Merck and carrying an FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Similar to Paxlovid but without the incidence of rebound infection or the many anecdotal stories of the horrid taste in the mouth (there was even a May 5 article in The Atlantic -- "Paxlovid Mouth is Real -- And Gross"), molnupiravir entailed a course of 4 pills twice a day for 5 days and was supposedly easier on the kidneys and liver. I requested molnupiravir -- my doctor had never heard of it, but after checking with her pharmacist, agreed to write me a prescription.

I'm not someone who is often sick. I can't remember the last day I had to cancel work obligations due to illness. Even though I felt sicker than I've felt in at least thirty years, I only rescheduled 2 appointments, keeping the rest. I had a low grade fever of 100.3 the first two days and all I wanted to do was sleep. My head was fuzzy. By the third day, my symptoms had moved to my sinuses and throat, causing me to cough repeatedly. And I napped at every opportunity.

I finally tested negative on Sunday, August 14. And I felt remarkably free ... I ceased wearing a mask when out and about in low risk situations -- after all, I reasoned, I have strong antibodies now. While I wouldn't have purposely exposed myself to Covid, I'm actually glad to have gotten it and fared well. I'm just about 3 weeks out from initial diagnosis and feel mostly back to normal. The incredible fatigue is past, I have a bit of a lingering cough (although I think it's allergies). My appetite is back and I've gained back the 3-4 pounds I lost the first week of Covid.

Covid is unpredictable and I think its similarity to playing Russian Roulette is what causes many (rightfully so) to fear it -- especially those with conditions that would put them at increased risk of adverse outcomes should they become infected. I have hypertension, am in my 60s, but am otherwise healthy and fit. I believe that the greatest defense against not only Covid, but all infectious diseases, is to strive to have the healthiest lifestyle possible -- for me that's following the American Heart Association's Essential 8 guidelines. Basically, seek balance in life and work.

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