I finally caught the corona.

Heather with corona
My “Oops, I caught covid after all” selfie, featuring my newly knitted pussy hat.

This news is no longer particularly interesting. It seems like everyone in Johannesburg, and their mother, has had the ‘rona at least once at this point. But this is my first time so it still feels somewhat momentous to me. And I felt compelled to publicly deliver the news, since last week I practically bragged about not catching covid from Thorsten (my partner) and acted like I was some kind of immunity superhero.

Here’s a quick summary of how it happened. Thorsten developed symptoms — a sore throat, followed by congestion and mild body aches — the weekend before last. He tested positive for covid last Monday and we went into isolation together. I didn’t have symptoms but went for a test anyway on Wednesday; that test was negative. I thought I had outrun covid yet again but continued to isolate just in case.

Last Friday, nearly a week after Thorsten’s first symptoms, I woke up in the middle of the night with a scratchy throat. I knew my time was up. I tested again on Monday and I was positive.

covid screenshot
I saved this screenshot of my iPhone’s lock screen as a souvenir. (Tip for South Africans: I received doctor’s referrals for both tests so they were covered by my medical insurance. Discovery allows two free PCR tests per year. Don’t forget to investigate this option before forking the R500 from your own pocket.)

I still wonder why it took me so long to get sick, as Thorsten and I have been together more or less 24/7 lately and wherever he got exposed, I was probably with him. But I’ll answer my own question with my favorite 2021 refrain: Who the fuck knows?

So I’m at home with what is essentially a mild cold, isolating until early next week. I’m not very sick, just feeling a little bit crappy and tired, and self-medicating with over-the-counter cold meds. Thorsten is healthy again and his isolation period ended today. He went back to work, which his doctor said is fine as long as he showers and then doesn’t touch me again before leaving the house (sniff). Thorsten and I are both vaccinated, in case you’re wondering — me with Pfizer and Thorsten with J&J.

This all kind of sucks, especially because Thorsten’s birthday is this Sunday and we’ll have to celebrate alone at home. But it’s also kind of a relief to get the Omicron variant over with. It seems like most of us will get it eventually anyway.

It’s a strange feeling, getting covid after almost two years of thinking about it and writing about it and endlessly discussing it with every person I meet. Sunday was the day I felt sickest. I spent a good part of the day lying in bed, imagining this microscopic virus — which, in my imagination, looks exactly like the little green covid-19 emoji — swimming around in my bloodstream. You’re finally here, I imagined myself saying to the little emoji…eh, whatevs. I guess you might as well enjoy yourself.

I don’t have much else to add, except for one quick tip: If you’re also isolating at home in Joburg (I know there are lots of you) and need a pick-me-up, I recommend a decadent food and wine order from Voisin Bread and Wine. This tiny shop in 44 Stanley sells freshly made sourdough (one of the best in town, if not THE best), quirky boutique wines, and a few other specialty food products. Voisin’s prices are very reasonable and they deliver. I received a Voisin order yesterday and it was the highlight of my day.

Order from Voisin Bread and Wine
Delicious bread, cheese, wine, and pickles from Voisin. The pickles, made by Pickled Boys, are amazing, especially the spicy Durban version.

I’m grateful I caught a covid variant that didn’t take my sense of taste away. (Although I am waiting to feel totally healthy again before I drink this lovely wine. Covid and alcohol don’t mix well.)

If you have any questions about my experience with the ‘rona, please don’t hesitate to ask. I have time for you.

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