My Coronavirus Experience: Day 1
I had COVID-19. I am 99% certain of where and when I contracted the virus (with the help of contact tracers; more on that later). I had ups and downs while the virus ran its course (mostly downs). I lost my appetite. I lost weight. I lost "friends". Here is my story.
When the coronavirus pandemic first came about, I wasn't certain what to think because of how little scientists knew about the virus. But as time went on, I realized that the threat was real, and being in a high-risk category, I knew that I had to protect myself.
I was an early mask-wearer. I was an early advocate of encouraging others to wear masks. I carried anti-bacterial hand sanitizer everywhere: I kept a bottle in the Jeep, one in the control room at work, and one in my pocket. I washed my hands frequently. I limited my exposure early, as well: I began working from home in late February.
I do not fear COVID-19; rather, I respect it. I have researched it as best I can by studying the research published by others. I have done my best to block out memes and Facebook/Twitter rants and politicians so I can concentrate on the studies conducted by researchers and scientists. I know that the virus can kill both the people who know they are vulnerable to the virus and people who believe that they are "healthy" enough to beat it. I know that the virus can sit in someone's system without giving them symptoms and that those people can unwittingly spread the virus to others.
When the virus started to spread south, I limited my exposure even more, making trips only to the grocery and to toot-and-scoot restaurants. I masked up everywhere I came into contact with other humans, still not 100% certain that masks would help, but I'd rather have some level of protection for myself and others than not. Also, I felt that masking was (and still is) the charitable thing to do.
My weeks consisted of leaving the house just a few times: once a week to the grocery for fresh fruits and veggies (NuNu's was early to the party, sanitizing, masking, and limiting customer interaction before many others) and trips to a neighbor's farm two or three times a week (just for my mental stability, I had to get out of the house. Sitting by his pond was very therapeutic).
By distancing, masking, disinfecting, and being considerate of others' spaces, I dodged the coronavirus bullet, I am certain, until the last week of June.
About once every two months I make a trip to one of the big box stores for dog food, cat litter, and a certain guilty pleasure snack I can't find at local stores.
While at this big box store, I had to visit the customer service counter. I had an issue that needed handling, and the customer service representative who was helping me said, "I can help take care of that, but I need you to fill out something online. Do you have a smartphone?". I pulled out my phone and opened the internet, and then handed it to the customer service rep who then navigated to the page I needed. I filled out the page and then received a code that the customer service rep needed to type into the store's system, so I allowed the rep to handle my phone again. After the transaction was completed, I put the phone in my pocket without further thought.
Then, it happened.
As we were leaving the store and walking to the car, the friend I was with fussed at me: "Stop rubbing your eyes!".
If you recall, the last week of June is when the Saharan dust cloud reached Louisiana. I can only imagine that it was this dust that was bothering my eyes and, without consideration, I instinctively rubbed them. It was at that moment that I remembered that someone else handled my phone and that I needed to disinfect it. When I got back to the Jeep I sanitized my phone, but I believe it was too late: the eagle had already landed.