My Coronavirus Journal: Day 1: I’m Sick

Lineup to get in to my local grocery store on Friday March 13th, before I got sick.


I have been make-believing, storytelling and writing, but really mostly avoiding writing, all of my life. I have told myself at least a thousand times that today is the day I finally put something out there into the world, warts and all. And, every time I chicken out, get sick, get busy, or find some other excuse not to make it happen. 

Last winter and early spring when I was in Europe, I took on 100 days of writing 1000 words per day. And this winter and early spring I’ve taken on 100 days of 500 words per day. This was something I took on to get myself in the habit of writing again. To improve my skills. And this year I decreased the number of words, so that I could spend the other part of my time copy editing and publishing my writing. 

Last year, I knew the only way I would be reliable in this commitment would be to have something at stake. I needed some skin in the game. So my good friend and I took on this challenge together and she and I made a bet. We put $200 on the line. If she or I ever failed to complete our words for the day, we would owe each other $200. 

This might not seem like a lot of money to most people, but to us as self-employed creative types, this represented a very painful amount of money.  An amount that could actually make or break us in some months of our lives. We could not afford to owe each other that much. And we did not miss a day! That’s what it means to have skin in the game. 

Now I have hundreds of thousands of words, ideas, show concepts, film script ideas, journal entries and blog posts and I’m still not sharing it. I’m still avoiding the job of getting it out there for others to see. Still letting the fear of not being good enough, or smart enough, stop me from doing what I have wanted to do all my life, be a storyteller. 

Then two weeks ago today, I woke up with what turned out to be, most likely the novel coronavirus. And I have spent the past two weeks in quarantine. I have had a lot of time to think, write and talk with people about my life, my career, my finances, and my health. And, I’ve realized that I have not been living my life fully. That’s probably my biggest problem of all. 

So no more, I’m giving that all up. I’m not going to let my fear of failure stop me anymore. Because, none of us know how long we have left on this planet. I could get another fifty years, or I could die tomorrow. So what do I want to do with the time I have left? Probably, I should be doing what I love, right? As much of it as I can. 

Some people might like what I have to say, some might hate it, most people probably won’t even care or bother reading what I have to say. None of that matters. What matters to me, is that I want to be doing this, for me, for myself, to express myself fully, creatively, and feel alive and free like I was when I created make-believe games as a child. 

Also, maybe, just maybe, my sharing my ideas with the world will help inspire even one other person who feels like me. Someone who’s avoiding the work of doing what they were meant to do with their lives. Someone who’s been letting their fears run the show. Maybe the freedom I give myself now, will help guide someone else to creating freedom for themselves also. 

So without further ado, here is day one of my past two weeks living with and surviving what was most likely COVID-19.

Day 1: I’m Sick (Mon March 16 2020)

Here’s the situation… I woke up this morning with symptoms of low grade fever of 37.03 (which is fever for me as my normal baseline body temp is usually lower, between 35-36). Even when I had an active case of strep throat last year, and was at my sickest, my temp never went much above 37. So my doctor was very surprised to find that I was in fact positive for strep, even though all the other signs of sickness were there, but not quite a high enough temperature to be considered fever. 

I also woke up with a dry cough and a bit of chest congestion. Not any more than what I normally get in a cold or flu this time of year, every year. Also we did a several hour hike yesterday and I probably should have had more layers on, so that’s likely the situation I’m dealing with. But better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances, so I will be self-isolating at home for two weeks. 

I spoke with a nurse at my family practice. I told her my partner just returned from Ukraine on Saturday, and I’ve had close personal contact with him (shared a bed last night). He and I were both coughing in the night / early morning. However, he does not feel at all sick today. I felt like something was coming on, but not worse than a normal cold or flu. 

The situation in Ukraine is very low risk so far, and he doesn’t have a confirmed case of COVID-19, so I’m low risk. Also he was taking extra care while there because he didn’t want to infect his elderly grandmother. So he didn’t use the public subway system, or buses, and didn’t go out much, other than from his apartment to his parents and grandmother’s building across the housing complex in Kiev. 

Also, the incubation period should be much longer than this. I shouldn’t have gotten it from him for another few days, or a week at least, even if he was sick and carrying the virus. All the more evidence to suggest this is probably just a cold or flu coming on. Nothing to worry about.

And I’m a little concerned. I was already pretty concerned and hyper-vigilant last night, cleaning my partners kitchen thoroughly. Then to wake up in the night / early morning with a cough and have him say to me that it feels like I have a mild fever, red glassy eyes… I’m now getting concerned.

So he gives me a mask to put on, and insists on driving me home right away, he starts pulling all the sheets of the bed and into the laundry. At least this has pushed him into action and has made this whole pandemic become real for him, and not so much of a joke anymore. He takes me straight home, and I call my family doctors office, and wait on hold for over an hour to talk to someone. 

So the advice of my family doc office is that, at this time, it’s low risk. I should self isolate for 14 days and monitor the situation, and if my symptoms worsen I should, only then, go to the WCH to get tested for COVID-19, but for now, don’t tax the system, or expose myself or others further, just self isolate for 14 days.

I keep monitoring my situation over the course of the day, while watching the news and streaming the press conference with the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments. It looks like they now cannot rule out community sources of infection. It used to be that travel from infected areas was the only source and now they have new cases that cannot be traced to travel or other known cases. So the time for social isolation is now, for all of us. Perhaps it is possible that I could have this virus?

And now my temp is up again… 37.28…then 37.32, and climbing. I feel overheated and have to take off my clothes. I feel tired and lethargic and the muscle aces are kicking in. I feel woozy and light headed and like it’s hard to keep my eyes open even though it’s only 9 pm. This is not normal… or is it? Am I just overreacting because of the news? It’s from watching the news all day… it must be psychosomatic. Right?! 

Now I’m not sure. Going to bed early now at 10:30 pm and I’ll see how I feel in the morning. If my temperature continues to climb I will call WCH family practice again and get re-assessed by the nurse and see if I should come into the hospital for the COVID-19 testing clinic that they have there.

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