The players:

• Me (47, vaxxed with Pfizer and boosted)
• Husband (48, vaxxed with J&J)
• 16yo (vaxxed with Pfizer)
• 13yo (vaxxed with Pfizer)

We all got COVID, one after the other. First was Dylan, who woke up one morning feeling “not right, but it’s hard to describe.” By that afternoon he was running a low fever and congested. About 2 days later John got sick, and about 2-3 days after that — after loudly and repeatedly celebrating my superior immunity, of course — I woke up with a scratchy throat and went, well sheeeeeiiiiiiiiit.

The outcome:

• Me: 4-ish days of feeling like I had a head cold, never had a fever
• J: about the same, but ran a low fever for 2 days
• D: 3-ish days of cold symptoms, cough that lingered a bit longer, had a fever for 2 days
• R: tested positive, never developed symptoms (the REAL Captain Immunity)

The worst part was the day Dylan first got sick, because of course we wanted to get him tested but there was NARY A TEST TO BE FOUND. The Omicron surge had emptied every store in town of the at-home tests, and testing centers were fully overwhelmed with zero appointments available. After a lot of running around looking for testing options (it did occur to me that ping-ponging all over town while possibly contagious wasn’t the greatest idea) we managed to get him checked at an urgent care and got the positive result we were mostly expecting.

(At this point Omicron is everywhere, but we do know where the most likely exposure happened: from one of the kids’ sports teams. Just about every player tested positive.)

I was so, so mad at myself for not having any tests on hand. I know they are imperfect (J tested negative with symptoms with one test, then positive the next day) but the fact that I had seen them in stores for months and never ONCE thought, oh hey maybe I should have a few of those? I don’t even know. I never considered the possibility that they might not be available when we needed them.

So that’s my assvice for you: if you haven’t already, get some tests.

We all obviously had very mild cases, but of course there’s no way to know that outcome with certainty at the start. There was a strange feeling of freefall to that first positive test: like all this time we’ve been slowly ratcheting our way up some stressful rollercoaster, and finally, in Pandemic Year 3, it’s time, we’re starting the drop. Where we’re all going, we can’t be sure.

(I think of COVID-19, the disease itself, being a little like that giant Plinko setup on the game show The Wall. Like if you’re young and healthy, your ball starts in a certain column and your odds look pretty good. But also that ball sometimes just goes way the fuck sideways for no reason whatsoever and you lose a million dollars/the ability to breathe without machinery?)

There is a forced letting go, I guess. And with that, an equally odd sort of relief: for once, I don’t have to worry about the thing, because the thing is happening right now.

I’ve been hugely curious about what COVID feels like (for mild cases), like is it exactly the same as a cold or is it observedly different? From my perspective, I felt very much like I had a head cold, classic congestion and general malaise, and towards the end I had a slightly juicy cough and a lot of headaches. I also felt very tired on days 2-4 but I’m not sure if that was standard cold-like fatigue or Something Different.

At one point, I decided I was feeling short of breath (oh no!) but then re-decided that what I was actually feeling was like I couldn’t breathe through my nose. There certainly was an element of being hugely fixated on every single physical sensation, which probably upped the overall discomfort factor.

My brain, for a week straight:

Anyway: hooray for miraculous life-saving vaccines, which helped our Plinko balls be in the right place. Also, god bless Instacart and the modern ability to quarantine without ever running out of Triscuits.

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Suzanne
8 months ago

Ugh – I’m sorry you had it, but glad it was mild for everyone. And I totally get that it would feel like a sort of relief, to finally be face-to-face with the thing you’d been avoiding for so long.

Maggie
8 months ago

We had a similar experience starting on 1/10. Youngest (fully vax’d) had a stuffy nose. I wouldn’t have thought much of it except that we’d received a close contact notification for her about 5 days earlier. She tested negative on day 3 and then symptoms on day 5. We had one at home covid test left (due to earlier alarms) so we tested her and she was positive. I couldn’t find another covid test for love or money and since H and I (both fully vax’d and boosted) WFH we just assumed we had it and stayed home (even more). Ultimately we engaged in Schroedingers Covid for 5 days – outside our house H and I acted as though we had Covid and didn’t go out and about. Inside our house we assumed we didn’t have covid and we all masked inside with each other (which sucked). Long story short: Youngest had a stuffy nose and some fatigue for three days and then nothing. H and I never developed any symptoms whatsoever. Two of Youngest’s friends also got it at the same time (same exposure). One had a slightly sore throat, the other never had a single symptom. It was all fine except for the worry that one of us was going to hit the bad lottery and get really sick out of nowhere. I also finally managed to get some at home tests just this week – too late for this time but I guess I’m ready for the next time we need to know??

Swistle
8 months ago

I am so glad for this report, and glad everyone is okay.

Marie
Marie
8 months ago

I haven’t had it yet, except for a suspicious flu type thing last summer that lasted FOREVER, but I tested negative on the one rapid test I took. So who knows. One thing I have which brings peace of mind is an oximeter to measure my oxygen level. So when I get a stuffy nose or cough I can determine if it is something serious or not.

Meg
Meg
8 months ago

Hoo boy. I’m so glad everyone is OK.

rebecca
rebecca
8 months ago

Almost exact experience here save for the 15 year old boy who never tested positive. Scratchy throat, tired, no big deal. Hallelujah for modern medicine and shout out to the unvaxxed: it could kill you. It merely kept us out of school and work a few days and if I hadn’t been hyperaware of symptoms, I never would have tested because it was so so very mild.

MCW
MCW
8 months ago

Phew. Glad ya’ll are a-OK!

jenny
jenny
8 months ago

So glad you are better and it was relatively mild for you. For the first time since this all started, I woke up this morning with a bit of a stuffy nose and sort of feel like a cold is coming on. Took an at home COVID test and it was negative. Our state has mail in PCR tests so I did one of those as well, but I’m guessing I won’t hear about that result until early next week. I happen to have several at-home tests and I suppose I’ll take one tomorrow or Friday if I’m still feeling sick. I’ve been going to college basketball games this winter and fall and I had made a deal with myself that I would test myself once a week so I wouldn’t spread COVID. But, of course, it turns out the at home tests aren’t great at diagnosing if you have no symptoms. But now I have symptoms….so maybe those tests are good?!? Who knows! Of course, this year there are more non-COVID things going around too. My sister who teaches (and double masks) got really, really sick with something that wasn’t COVID or the flu or strep or mono.

Shawna
Shawna
7 months ago

New commenting system! Shiny!
Glad you all escaped relatively unscathed. I’m hearing stories like yours and thinking “Whew, if we’re all doomed to get it then I guess it’s possible that it won’t automatically be the worst?”, but then I read the super-scary accounts of young healthy people having the worst happen and the quotes from research into long-term effects, and end up searching the internet for even more, even better masks. We’re keeping our kids home from school right now, and trying to decide when to send them back…

Elizabeth_K
Elizabeth_K
7 months ago

Thank you for posting about your experience, and THANKFUL you are all well. Yay Plinko, this time.

San
San
7 months ago

Thanks for sharing your experience – and I hope you’ve all recovered by now. I totally feel you on the rollercoaster thing. We’re still on the up and up and I wonder when it’s our turn to ‘freefall’ (still trying to avoid it, which we’ve been pretty good at what with no kids in school and a work from home arrangement) but you never know and this can’t go on forever.

Your Plinko analogy is spot-on… you just never know that might happen.

Beth
Beth
7 months ago

Your Plinko description is possibly the most accurate I’ve seen. I work in the ER and there are cases that just make me cry in fury. (Most of them do if you catch me on an honest day.) I’m so glad you’re all okay and that the tile bounced in a favorable direction; as you said sometimes there is no telling.