Allergies, Flu, Or COVID?

I got sniffles on Saturday night. Sunday morning I woke up and had not only sniffles, but my body ached, and I had that strange sensation in the back of my throat that I only get when I’m sick. So I spent most of my long weekend out of action and in bed. This was not the kind of laying low I had in mind for the weekend.

The question is what was causing me to feel miserable. I outgrew my allergies over the past few years, but that was from all the pollens back east. Out west there are different plants, so it’s possible I could be allergic to something out here that I’ve never been exposed to before. But I didn’t have the watering eyes I get with an allergic reaction, plus I did have that throat sensation that I don’t get with allergies. So I wrote that off pretty quickly.

This left two possibilities: flu and COVID. I’m vaccinated against both, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get them. Even worse, my friends who I stayed with in Oregon tell me their daughter brought COVID home from school on May 18, and they all have it now. I didn’t leave there until May 20, so I was at risk of exposure. I didn’t stay in their house, though, so it wasn’t certain. My Washington hosts had the free at-home COVID tests, so I took one. It showed negative, so I treated it like the flu.

I pretty much stayed in bed (so as not to expose my friends I’m staying with any more than I had to), watched videos, and listened to most of Ready Player Two when the light was hurting my eyes. It was a miserable experience (being sick, not the audiobook), but by resting I managed to blast through it. I felt better yesterday, maybe 70% when I woke up. By bedtime, I was up to 85%, and I felt about 93% when I woke up this morning.

My Oregon friends, one of whom is a doctor, told me their at-home COVID tests also showed negative until later on. To be sure, I took a second test today, nearly two weeks after my potential exposure. It, too, came out negative. This is a big relief. Even if I’m feeling better, it means I didn’t accidentally bring COVID into my friends’ house in Washington. Also, if I did have it, I’d have to isolate myself here for a while, delaying my travel plans. While I’m not on a strict schedule, I’m feeling ready to hit the road again, and this would’ve frustrated me. I also don’t want to overstay my welcome with my friends in Vancouver, which would’ve been necessary if I had to quarantine.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. I’d already planned to let everyone else go enjoy themselves over the long weekend and crowd all the public places without me. There are many more enjoyable ways to pass the time than being sick, but as far as the timing is concerned, this wasn’t bad.

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