McKeegan COVID Chronicles – lingering symptoms, Freaky Friday – Days 11-15

If you are new to the Chronicles, this whole thing started on Day 1 which was the day Sick Kid #1 (17 years old) woke up with the rude guest covid19 Omicron style and tested positive with a home rapid Ag test. Sick Kid #2 and I woke up sick with it in the coming days. Husband seems to have escaped the fun. Because I was scared, I wrote about our experiences and things completely unrelated over the course of these past two weeks. I’d hoped that no matter what happened, writing about it in real time to a live audience would help me through it. It worked.

The first post is dated January 22nd, 2022. I thought the Chronicles would end at sunset on a day when we all seemed past the worst of it, but I can’t seem to stop talking about it. Besides, a friend asked me this morning how we are doing; it would be rude not to answer.

I started our journey with the burning question What if COVID19 entered our house?

Like millions of others who asked themselves the same question then caught the virus, we got to find out. Unlike millions of others, nothing traumatic happened, but the psychological experience for me and my family was interesting (to me, if no one else). There was fear, confusion, disorientation, impatience, curiosity, anger, sadness, and relief. There was hysterical laughter, too. Our symptom list might look like a “cold” on paper, but experiencing this global phenomenon during the start of the third year of the pandemic was a different animal. Physically there was an element to it I have not been able to describe. It just felt different than a cold or respiratory flu virus. Psychologically speaking, who in their right mind needs to write ten blog posts with nearly 16K words about a cold? If you read the whole thing, you’ll have read an unpolished mini-memoir!

I stopped capitalizing covid. It doesn’t deserve the honor.

For those who only plan to be here for another eight seconds, here are the carefully curated CliffNotes for today’s post:

  • Kids back to school after missing eight days out on pretend independent study. Two of those days were supposed to be preventative because our school was full of the virus, but it was too late. Some fatigue and mild congestion seems to be lingering on the edges, but they are troopers and don’t complain.
  • I still have an episodic fatigue that slows me down in the afternoons, and some lingering congestion with related annoyances. I am not a trooper. I am a whiner. Today is Day 11 and this is old news.
  • The cat pee pad experiment continues with optimism despite the surprise leakiness of leakproof materials. Big Kitty is still a loud-mouth entitled feline. Meet him on Day 8. His new nickname is Three Fifteen referring to his elimination habits in the wee hours that require the front door to be opened for his passage to the dirt strip in front of our house. Then, six minutes later he requires the slider door to be opened for the return trip to my bed.
  • On Freaky Friday, my brain went haywire on my way to get the PCR swabola. I became disoriented and lost in a well known place and it freaked me out. I still don’t know what that was. Maybe interloper related, maybe a glimpse of my genetic material. Maybe I shoudda had a donut for breakfast instead of eggs. I just know I don’t want to feel lost like that again.
  • You matter. Thank you for being here. Hearing from friends and family and readers was the best part of this writing blitz. The second best part was finding out I made you laugh. I am always glad to hand out doses of laugh medicine. It’s free and the only risk to your health is stomach cramps or a concerned look from Roxy-the-Rocket our Mini Aussie.

You see? I CAN write briefly. I just don’t want to.


Here’s the long version

Before we get to Freaky Friday, let’s linger for a moment on lingering symptoms, then talk about the cat. You must be twitching to find out how the pee pad experiment is going.

The rest of the party with the rude guest has titrated down to an ordinary rather boring story. No one became deathly ill; kids missed a bunch of school; the low-grade fever both Sick Kids experienced, but I was denied for scientific reasons, was tenacious; and Husband remained symptom-free. Virus-free? I have no idea because, as I’ve established during these highly scientific Chronicles, the Negative Ag test is not proof that you are virus-free. We didn’t bother testing him. Shame on us.

The only signs left of the interloper’s invasion in my body are an annoying fatigue that comes and goes, but hasn’t stopped me from writing the longest post in the series so far (lucky world!), on and off runny nose, dance party tinnitus vs my usual elevator music, and a left ear that seems pluggy-off, but I can hear your groans at my lengthy storytelling just fine. On the timeline, I am Day 11 from when I woke up sick. I am sick of feeling less than superhuman. I’m edgin’ on Grumpy Mama. Now that I think about it, grumpy means I am closer to normal than I thought!

My house plants cheer me up. They reach for the sunset view. They were my mom’s but are in my shaky care now. That Charlie almost died last year cuz I forgot to water during a terrible heatwave. I wonder what she would have thought of the pandemic?

If there are to be any long-haul symptoms for anyone, time will inform us, in which case, it is quite likely you’ll hear about it from me, eventually.

Brain Fog or Neurons Gone Rogue

While we are on the symptom list, there’s a new one. Well, not new to me, but I am guilty of the omission of naming it, so it is the first you are hearing of it with a name: brain fog. It is further described in my description of Freaky Friday miles down this webpage where I wrote it out in mind-numbing detail for your curious scientific minds.

Please don’t feel betrayed. When brain functioning weirdness happened the first time I told you about it on Days 9-10, but I didn’t recognize it in a way that would lead to naming it. I was simply confused, and therein lies the irony.

I don’t like the term brain fog to describe my experience though. It’s too vague. It implies a slogginess you are trying to see through. In fog, you know you are in it, like a slow thinking process that makes you feel dense because you can’t find your words or the keys that are in your pocket. I know brain fog. I live with it as a gift from migraines.

What I experienced while driving to get my PCR test last Friday was not foggy-sloggy. While it’s true I knew something was wrong, The Something was different. It was crisp and freaky. It was a new experience. I am working on a better name for it; something along the lines of Neurons Gone Rogue. NGR. Has a nice ring to it.

Whatever we call it, something was amiss and might be related to what happened on Days 9-10 regarding the morning power outage, coffeemaker, oil heater, and thermostat. My brain had a disconnect.

Big Kitty first (aka Three Fifteen).

Big Kitty pee pad update

I am impressed with Big’s commitment to the experiment. He’s used the pee pads consistently (just like he had the bathroom rugs and boxes of books and baseball stuff in the past which almost earned him a lethal car ride but for Husband’s second thoughts on remaining married). He (cat not Husband) even periodically pees on a fresh pad covering the cat litter. I’ve not discovered any errant potty behavior since covering the bathroom with blue and white designer pee pads. He hasn’t ventured a #2 squat on a pee pad, but I don’t blame him. Dirt is more fun to dig in and there’s always someone around to open the front door.

Speaking of #2 and cat litter. Why is dirt more fun than cat litter? Thank you for your various cat litter suggestions, but he’s a senior citizen, so we’ve been at this for some time. I even tried horse stall shavings and guinea pig shavings. Bad idea. Don’t try it. They have fine floaty particles your cat’s lungs won’t like. Sorry, Tiggies. R.I.P., dear kitty-cat.

The only thing I haven’t tried is a pile of front yard dirt in the litterbox.

I should clarify: my shavings litter experiment didn’t kill Tiggies all those years ago. Kidney failure killed him, but the poor guy was subjected to my ignorance in search of solutions to my disgust of clay litter. His cough was my fault.

Back to Big Kitty Three Fifteen. Imagine my curiosity, though, when I discovered a glistening vinyl floor underneath two pee pads in a row.

Apparently, doggie training pads don’t hold the pee. I haven’t tried the mustard; it’s not worth the effort.

Is it possible this cross-eyed Siamese cat’s urine is so acidic it eats through the plastic backing? It would be consistent with another aspect of his personality: his yeowl pierces our ears in the dead of the night. Despite that, he is a lovebug cat.

In my consumer search for a deal, did I overlook some crucial factor when I chose the generic dog training pads? Should I have searched for a cat pee pad? The extra-large doggie design seemed right cuz this cat has powerful flow.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The fine materials these things are made out of do help control the odor. Just don’t touch the back of the pad.

I searched on the internet for alternatives. Turns out there are cat pee pads. They were more expensive. Of course. Cats are snobs.

I bought two more bags of the questionable-quality doggie pads. I am not always a cheapskate, but who wants to throw good money at cat pee? Besides, I could get them immediately. Using the people pad underneath just in case of more leakage, I can sleep at night, between cat yeowls when he announces he needs to pee, and not think about the vinyl bathroom floor I love marinating in cat urine.

If you are new here or missed the cat story from the beginning, I am so sorry for your confusion. It was important to update those who were left hanging on the edge of their seats.

Freaky Friday

One thing I didn’t report on last week was how my brain was working the day I drove to get my PCR test, Day 4 of my obvious symptoms (a week ago today). I don’t even know if this was a symptom of the rude guest which others may categorize as Brain Fog, or if it was sign of an inheritance of some other kind. Dementia runs in the family.

I’ve driven the route to the PCR testing site many times. Six minutes through our neighborhood, eight or ten minutes up the foothill highway, then less than five minutes in town to my destination a couple blocks off the freeway. I used to go to that particular building for organic lunch dates with friends when it was the popular restaurant Summer Thymes. Now, it’s a senior community center turned covid19 testing site. The building is next door to the bowling alley.

The first time I got off at that exit while behind the wheel, I was nearly 16 years old with my driver’s permit. That was 1981, forty years ago, when I lived here as a teenager. 

I’ve lived here for the past nine years and that is a main exit into downtown, shopping, the movies, to a friend’s house, and so much more.

When I merged onto the freeway offramp, I found myself lost. I didn’t recognize where I was for a few seconds as I came off the freeway. I was in the right-hand lane when I should have been in the left-hand lane, the lane I use 99% of the time, and is an automatic – brain on autopilot – for me.  For those few seconds, when I maybe traveled a football field, nothing looked familiar.

On an offramp I’ve been on so many times, I was disoriented and confused.

Where am I? I should recognize where I am. Both thoughts were very clear and startled me. Wherever I am, it is not where I was going.

I am failing at describing how I felt. I was lost.

My mind went inside my head with these thoughts for a few seconds, then refocused outside the last few car lengths of the exit.

Like someone reconnecting rogue neurons in my brain, I realized where I was and that I needed to scootch over so I could go straight through the stop sign intersection. I wasn’t lost anymore but I was freaked out.

Because the cars in front of me were stopped, I was only able to pull halfway into the left lane. Then, as the three cars in front of me moved through the intersection, I pulled my Highlander the rest of the way into the left lane position in order to go straight through the intersection. I was at the Colfax Ave exit in Grass Valley.

By the way, my car is Pearl White and I love it and maybe you should keep an eye out for it.

I don’t remember what I was thinking about in the seconds before entering the offramp but I was not daydreaming.

Sometimes, I daydream while I am driving. Don’t you? It didn’t feel like that. It wasn’t oh, I’m here and don’t remember the last three miles. I remembered it all; I had not been on auto-pilot or I would have been in the correct lane.

The next thing that happen shook me up even more because I was already in a state of what-the-hell-was-that?

It was my turn to go. The cars on the left don’t stop and there was no one coming. The car on my right, sitting at the stop sign, was not moving. She was looking straight ahead, not making eye contact with me and probably waiting for the light ahead of her in the next intersection to turn. Everything looked clear. 

As I crept into the intersection, a motorized bicycle came from my right into the crosswalk I’d just pulled across and my car was still in. My brain thought, damn, why didn’t I see that coming?  I had the impression the rider was female, then thought she’ll continue through the crosswalk behind me, between me and the car behind me. I also thought, what the hell is wrong with people? She was riding an electric motorized bicycle at least 25 miles per hour, against traffic, through a pedestrian crosswalk without waiting her turn. You are supposed to get off and walk your bike, people.

Then, in a split second, my attention focused ahead again as a pedestrian stepped into the crosswalk coming from the left on the other side of the street I was crossing. I braked in the middle of the intersection and waited for her to cross. As I held there thinking that the lady to my right must’ve seen the pedestrian and I’d just fucked up royally, the motorized bicycle high-risk sports fan zoomed past me on the right, flew in front of the pedestrian, and kept going down the middle of the lane in front of me. I saw that she wore a colorful backpack and seemed bundled up. No helmet. 

I was really wishing I was somewhere else. I had resisted scheduling the PCR and now here I was freaked out behind the wheel.

The next stop sign intersection was busy with cars. Adrenaline junkie (or obliviously impaired person) rode down the middle of the lane and didn’t stop. She just kept on going like the streets were empty. And had no name.

From then on, I worried I might not make it home without something bad happening. 

On the trip home, a California Highway Patrol came into my rearview mirror. I was already at the speed limit on the freeway, but I made up my mind I’d tell him the truth if he pulled me over for something I didn’t realize I’d done: I just came from the stick-up-the-nose test. I’m sick. I’m sorry. Arrest me and get me off the streets.

I wondered if my pale countenance would help my case. Then, I felt ashamed for trying to get out of something I was surely guilty of.

On the highway, with the CHP behind me, the man in the little white Toyota truck in front of me was quite aware of Mr. Officer and thankfully kept us all at the speed limit. Eyes peeled for the next surprise, I made it home without further upset.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to go out again for a while. At least until kids needed to get to the bus stop to return to school. Sick Kid 1 drives with his permit now. But, should I let him drive? He had the virus too.

I am still thinking about those few seconds.

The second half of what happened, the brazen motorized bicycle rider, was in no way my fault. Those things should require a license like a mo-ped. They are fast and motorized! However, the combination chemistry of a reckless motorized bicycle rider and something not-quite-right in my brain could have created a tragic story we’d both be guilty of.

Was my experience related to the rude guest? Was it something else?

Time will tell.

We now have the answer to my original question What if covid19 entered our house?

Answer: Sick Mama would momentarily lose her mind, but eventually all would be well in her Queendom.

May all beings be well and may covid19 go to hell.


Postscript

The best part of sharing our rather ordinary story here in the blogosphere has been hearing YOUR stories. Readers who know me personally have reached out to me offline to tell me about their experiences with covid19. Thankfully, they are all or will be okay, but they know others who aren’t okay and some who’ve died.

Yesterday an acquaintance told me she was on Day 12, still feeling crappy, and still testing positive on the home rapid Ag test. Why did she get the red/pink line and I didn’t? If you don’t know why I wonder and your life is devoid of entertainment, you could go back to the beginning. In the bigger scheme of things, it matters.

If you aren’t okay after your encounter with covid19, or you know someone who died or is suffering from covid19, my heart goes out to you and them with the deepest of sympathies. I don’t need to say it, but I will. This is a horrible disease, a mind-twisting pandemic, and a story the history books will have some difficulty explaining.

The second best part of sharing our story has been hearing from readers that my writing made you laugh. Laughter is medicine and I am glad to have given you a dose.


If you want the whole story, you can go here: www.bonniemckeeganauthor.wordpress.com. The posts are in order of our Days with the uninvited guest, covid19, Omicron-1 variant.

Back to my irregularly scheduled Friday morning posts. What shall I write about next?

Featured Photo at top of post: The sunset Thursday night was boring from our vantage point, but the moon was a sliver of cool.

Below: Today’s sunset was gorgeous! Exactly what I asked for to end the McKeegan COVID Chronicles! See the moon at the top?!

2 Replies to “McKeegan COVID Chronicles – lingering symptoms, Freaky Friday – Days 11-15”

  1. All I can say is Good Grief! and keep posting. Love the writing and reading about someone else’s drama.Your not a drama queen. It makes me feel normal. Big surprise about SummerThyme. i loved that place.Where can “the girls” go to lunch now? I hope the brain fog lifts and it is nothing but sunshine and roses for you from now on. Glad the hubby side stepped the covid. Notice I did not give it the honor of a capital c.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you named how I feel sometimes: Drama Queen! LOL!!! Today has been sunshine, transplanting an azalea to the shade and a rose to the sun, and pruning roses for real. The gardens are a mess. How did you know?! If I can’t get out of bed tomorrow, I am going to whine.

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