I got tested for CoVid last Friday.
Not because I was exposed (do we ever really know?). No; I had symptoms. It seemed prudent.
I’d been feeling achy for a few days; I noticed it most in my hands, my fingers couldn’t ball up into a fist. What’s that? I wondered; then went on with my day.
My oximeter still held steady at 95; I bought it after hearing a doctor somewhere say a reading below 95 could be the first sign of a CoVid infection. My temperature reads 98.8; perfect for most folks, mine tends to run low: 97 usually. So, do I have a fever or don’t I?
How do we know when to take something seriously?
I’d been feeling tired the past few days, but then we do have a new puppy and I’ve stopped eating chocolate. Caffeine really does a number on me. My cough? Could be the wood stove.
Friday morning I was perusing the Vermont CoVid stats and noticed a link to a “Self-assessment” for CoVid. It’s a Google based thing, connected to the CDC somehow and the end result was a simple, “Call your primary care provider.” I did and they recommended I come in to be tested. Off I went.
Well, first I uttered an expletive that I’ll not pass along. Still, I tend to trust experts, particularly in fields I know little about, like medicine. Off I went to the tiny temporary shed set up behind my
doctor’s primary care provider’s building.
I can report that these nasal swabs no longer go up into the amygdala as I’d once thought I’d seen. Nope; it’s really more of a back of the nose tickle, both sides, count to ten, two times. Easy Peasy.
And so now I wait for the results.
The symptoms – chills, cough, aches, fatigue, and fever – are each explained by a rival hypothesis. And as I write this, Saturday afternoon, most of them are already gone. I think I’m fine and by the time this posts I’ll have heard the verdict and can report I’m officially fine. In the meantime, I’m quarantining appropriately. And drinking lots of tea. Echinacea. With honey. And a cookie to go with it; why not?
And, as I edit this on Monday morning, I’m planning an outing with Jackson right after lunch.
In the meantime, I thought we’d explore the idea of risk.
Before my years in the sociology department at Kent State, I’d thought of risk as a kind of absolute. Something is either risky or it’s not. Black and white, yes or no. No middle ground, no greys, no subjectivity. I saw most of life, actually, in those rather absolute terms.
Turns out risk is quite subjective (as is life). There’s a whole literature in fact on “the perception of risk.” I wrote about it a few years back in a post entitled, “What’s Dangerous, Really.” There is an exciting cross cultural component to what we perceive to be risky. Of course there is. There are idiosyncratic differences too. I’m married to one.
Whenever Woody is a passenger in a car I’m driving, I get a real life lesson in perception of risk. He thinks we’re going too fast, I’m too distracted, or whatever. We both know it’s his status as the “not-in-control-of-the-car” passenger that sets him off and he’s getting better at keeping his fears to himself. He even tells me he thinks me a good driver. Still. . .
It’s uncomfortable to feel we’re at risk. Scary, I suppose. So, my question to me as I write this is: Am I minimizing the risk involved to keep me from feeling scared? How does one tell if we “ought” to be scared? Ought to be concerned? Ought to take steps? When do we ignore; when do we take action?
Someone wrote me the other day that she understands how worried I must be. Should I be worried? I hadn’t thought of it. I’d thought only of following the rules, quarantining until my NEGATIVE results come back.
This is a good example of the “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” philosophy of life. Perhaps it’s shortsighted of me, but I think of it as a choice I make: a choice to stay in the present, to pay attention to my body, and to be grateful I live in a state that has taken this pandemic seriously from the start.
I’m hoping I’ll have an update by Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday night: no results yet. But I’m feeling fine. Surely that counts.
How about you? What’s your philosophy of risk? Worry? Long range planning?