Life onboard can be challenging enough, but surviving a virus during a pandemic and having to isolate for 10 days meant for lots of patience and biting of the tongue a time or two. I’d say that our marriage is unbelievably strong at this point … we spent a month on a 46 ft sailboat with our friends and then came home to catch Covid and went into lockdown on our own 42 ft boat. All the anchors are still attached and no one is missing, so I’m calling it a success!
We’d both done a lot of reading about the virus during the course of the pandemic. But when one contracts a deadly disease, so many questions arise. Perhaps the most disappointing thing has been the lackluster communication from our health provider, Kaiser. I know that doctors are overwhelmed with emails these days, but taking days to answer about symptoms and then answering with canned replies after we tested positive isn’t very compassionate. I’ve still not talked to my doctor; an associate reached out and I finally had a call from their Covid team as I was on the road to recovery. I did get a call from a doctor with the offer to receive a dose of a medicine that helps to lessens the symptoms; but since I was on the tail end of my infection, I was no longer eligible. I sure would have loved that opportunity early on!
The County of Alameda, on the other hand, has been great at outreach and has contacted one of us daily to check in and answer any questions. We both participated in contact tracing and provided information on the places we had been and people we were in contact with in the days before testing positive. We have agreed to take part in genetic testing to discern if indeed we contracted the new Omnicron variant and will get swabbed today at a County facility in San Leandro. This would make sense, since we were vaccinated and the new variants are showing to be much more resistant than the original SARS-19 and DELTA variant. We had no idea that virtually no one is testing positive for the original virus. The variants are mutating and stronger, which is why many more break-through cases are happening. We have been told, and strongly believe, that had we not been vaxxed, we very well could have ended up in the ICU. By far, the majority of people dying are unvaccinated.
The first few days of being infected sucked royally: complete and utter exhaustion was the first sign. Not just “tired,” but absolutely wiped out to the point that I wanted to cry. And did. This was accompanied by body aches, a headache, cough, and dizziness, and persisted for three solid days, getting worse each day. The cough was a full body-wracking, chest deep rumble that ended with wheezing and the inability to catch my breath. There were several times that Aaron contemplated taking me to the ER. But considering that people are actually dying from Covid there, I wanted to avoid it at all costs.
It became clear that this wasn’t just a common cold and I tried to make an online appointment at Kaiser to get tested but there were no local openings and I emailed my doctor telling her that there was no way I could drive to Richmond. She didn’t answer me but did have a scheduler reach out who was able to get me in the same day in San Leandro.
On the way home from the Kaiser swab, we swung by a testing site near the airport, mainly used for travelers needing a negative test to fly internationally. I got a Rapid test and within 45 minutes had a positive result and an immediate call from one of their nurses. Aaron, who hadn’t been tested yet, went back to the airport site for a PCR test and received his positive results before I received my Kaiser results.
As the exhaustion abated slowly, it was replaced with loss of taste and smell on the fourth day. It may have happened sooner, but as I was so sick, all I did was sleep and don’t actually have much memory of those first days. It was quite shocking to anticipate a spoonful of delicious, hot, chicken noodle soup and find it tasteless. Eating became about sustenance and texture and we stopped bothering with adding herbs and spices after discovering that even our favorite creamy tomato and basil soup was blah. We ate when we were hungry, which surprisingly, was as usual. Eggs, bananas, oranges, pasta, and lots of Thanksgiving leftovers were our go-to. When we got low on food, I had the brilliant idea of ordering groceries from Safeway. Aaron was on the upswing so he masked up and drove to the store, parked and the bags were put in our trunk, contact-free. First, but not the last, time we’ll take advantage of this great service!
The fifth, sixth and seventh days were better with each passing day. I listened to my body and spent my time reading, stitching and playing online solitaire, backgammon and word games when I wasn’t sleeping. Television didn’t hold my interest and my brain was too fogged to do any real writing. We had a few gorgeous, warm days and we sat and napped in the cockpit, soaking up the Vitamin D. My son and daughter called daily to check in and Meghan’s symptoms came roaring in as mine abated.
Hubby and I managed to give each other space on our 400 sq ft floating home by co-existing in the salon and taking alone time outside in the enclosure and in our bunk when needed. I took care of him over his worse days, which were followed by him taking care of me during mine, but I still made the bed every day except one. 🙂 We knew we were on the upswing around my day seven when I snapped at him for allowing the heater to rotate and blow on me and he got irritated (as usual) with the clicking of my speedy fingers on my laptop keyboard.
My doctor finally emailed me back after I emailed her daily with the same copy and pasted questions. She gave us the go-ahead to visit our Grands on the eighth day, since we were feeling better and we all were infected anyway. The last three days of our isolation were spent in jammies with our three Crazies, celebrating Hanukkah, cooking, crafting, playing and getting the best of all medicine: lots of hugs, kisses and love. (Don’t waste your time on alcohol: we had some eggnog over the weekend and all I could taste was that bitter alcohol flavor. Yuk! Aaron had a few beers while watching Sunday football and he had a vague taste of the hops. I celebrated with a glass of cheap champagne and enjoyed the bubbles but zero taste.)
Hubby was officially clear three days before me. Today’s my last day of isolation and I can happily go back to work and re-enter society tomorrow. I still tire quicker than usual and I have Covid-fog … I really have to concentrate to remember things. My sense of taste and smell is s-l-o-w-l-y returning and I rarely cough. Aaron, on the other hand, seems to have caught a cold and is now into a full two weeks of not feeling very good. He tends to take longer than I to recover from ailments, so we’ll hope that continued rest will have him back to racing shape soon. (Winter races are on the calendar and I can’t wait to get Slice out on the water!)
I’m a practicer of holistic medicine and do believe that my daily dosage of essential oils (peppermint, copaiba and proprietary blends for digestion and general health – DoTerra DigestZen and OnGuard) and cannabis infused gummies (for sleep) helped me to get through the rough patches. I didn’t bother with my usual blends of lavendar and rosemary since I couldn’t reap the benefit of their scent. Oils will play a vital part in my olfactory retraining to get my smell and taste senses back in the coming month. We also ate fresh foods, drank lots of water, took Vitamins C & B12 and slept a whole lot.
I did have bizarre dreams, featuring people I haven’t seen or thought of in years, in very odd situations and circumstances. But my dreams tend to be very vivid anyway, so this wasn’t bothersome. Except for the one night that I dreamt in black-and-white, which has never ever happened before, and freaked me out a bit. It reminded me how grateful I am for my technicolor sight and glass-half-full hearing.
It was mind blowing that with both of us being vaccinated, testing negative via a lab-administered swab in Mexico 24-hours prior to our flight, and staying masked and trying to socially distance to the best of our ability, we were still one of the rare break-through cases. We believe we contracted it either in the shuttle taking us from La Paz to the Los Cabos airport, or in the airport food-court, where people were sharing tables, eating and drinking, and people were literally shoulder to shoulder in line. It’s even more worrisome that my daughter also caught it from us even though she had been vaxxed and boosted. All three of our grandchildren also caught it, but have experienced no symptoms.
This virus is no joke, folks. I consider myself very vigilant in my Covid protocol and post often on social media about the importance of getting vaccinated. I’m healthy and rarely get more than a bad cold now and then. Coronavirus is going to be around for a long time, unfortunately, as it continues to mutate. PLEASE, get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask when indoors with strangers, listen to science and get tested if you have any symptoms. It can make the difference between getting infected and staying healthy. Although I am feeling good now, I don’t know what the long-term affects on my body, particularly my lungs, will be. I worry that I am now immuno-compromised and might be more susceptible to future infections. Only time will tell. (Note about home-tests: they are NOT accurate. My grandchildren all tested negative multiple times before testing positive with the PCR test. If you even suspect you have Covid, go to an approved facility for testing and isolate until you have the results.)
Not only are we still alive, but we’ve kept our sense of humour, for the most part. As I went down for nap number four (or was it five?) a few days ago, I was thinking about our time at sea on Fundango. I realized that recovering from Covid & overnight ocean passages have a lot in common. For your reading pleasure:
Top 10 Things that Overnight Ocean Passages & Recovering from Covid Have in Common
10. Who knows (or cares!) what day of the week it is?
9. Sleep? Yep, every chance you can get.
8. Food is for sustenance, not taste. If it’s handed to you in a bowl, you eat it.
7. You could care less about the latest news, especially politics.
6. Your whole world exists in less than 400 sq ft.
5. Your anti-social husband is in his happy place.
4. Unlimited reading and writing time … when you aren’t sleeping.
3. Dishes in the sink can wait til your world isn’t rocking.
2. No need for laundry; you wear the same thing for days and don’t care.
1. Companionway sex is the only action happening.*
*Well-known position in the boating world: when one passes ones mate to/from watch, tired and grumpy (and sometimes wet … but not that kind), and you take a moment to look into each other’s eyes and lovingly whisper “Fuck you.” LOL!!!!