Yes, I contracted COVID-19.

I had no suspicion that anyone close to me had it. No one was symptomatic. Suddenly, a close-contact of mine shared that they had tested positive after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. I was never in close proximity to them while they were symptomatic. But, I immediately went into isolation, as required by law in the province of Alberta for those who were close-contacts of someone within 48 hours of becoming symptomatic. I also made an appointment to get tested.

The next day, I started to experience flu-like symptoms. I thought, “It’s all in your head.” I truly did not believe I was actually exposed to a contagious person. I went to get tested, and as the day progressed, I began to feel increasingly unwell.

The next day I could barely move. It felt like the flu, but worse than I’ve ever experienced. I had a really bad headache, was congested, and had muscle pains in every part of my body. I learned that several other people close to me were also experiencing symptoms.

Two days later I received a NEGATIVE test result. What? I immediately went online and booked another appointment to get tested again for that afternoon. I had heard that if you get tested too soon it will come back as negative. By this point I was so tired I had to take breaks from normal daily functions to just rest.

Another two days of pain, discomfort, exhaustion, and loss of smell and taste, and I received my second test result: COVID-19 POSITIVE. Okay, not just a bad flu. I was also now aware of six other people close to me who tested positive.

Throughout the following week, I experienced the entire spectrum of COVID-19 symptoms. The two most frustrating symptoms are loss of taste and smell, and fatigue. If you have ever experienced losing your sense of taste and smell, you know that it is miserable. It’s not like when you’re stuffed up and things taste off. I’m talking about a complete lack of any sensation. The house could be on fire and I wouldn’t smell the smoke. The fresh pineapple and cantaloupe that my family swore were incredibly sweet tasted like water to me.

Since then, my wife and kids also got sick. My wife tested positive as well, but the kids didn’t want to get tested. I am aware of at least a dozen friends and acquaintances who also tested positive. None of us were symptomatic when we were in contact with each other.

It’s been two weeks today since my symptoms first started. I have now been cleared by Alberta Health Services to come out of isolation. But, my sense of smell and taste, a lingering cough, and fatigue are still present. These are things that I’m told can hang on for weeks or even months.

My conclusive review of COVID-19: avoid it like the plague! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

It’s not just that it may knock you out for a week or two. The lingering symptoms are miserable. I can’t wait to taste the sweetness of an apple again. Or smell the comforting aroma of our wood fireplace. I’d like to experience a day of sustained energy without having to stop and close my eyes throughout the day. Or, go through an entire phone or Zoom call without having to mute my mic for a coughing fit.

Yes, COVID-19 is very real and very dangerous. I’m healthier than I’ve been in 15 years due to recent changes in my personal diet (I’ve lost 40 pounds in the last 6 months). For those with any sort of underlying health issues, this truly could be devastating, as it has been for millions of people around the world.

Stay safe, take care of yourself, and take care of those you love. Let’s just sit tight and not make any assumptions that this is “just the flu.” For some, it’s much, much worse.

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