My CoVid Test and Me

Grab a case of Corona
Thanks to Helen Moffett for the photo.

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.

Or denial.

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.

Denial is like sleeping, I believe. We don’t know we’re in it until we’re not.

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?

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21 Responses

  1. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    I´ve taken many risks but didn´t usually know it until later. Just getting up every morning can be a risk but we all do it! I´m pleased to hear your state has taken this pandemic seriously. Stay safe.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Darlene, Thanks for starting off the comments yesterday morning. Interesting idea about not knowing you were taking a risk until later. I’ve been in situations where I’m wondering “should I be scared?” Humans are sometimes unfathomable.

      As for staying safe, we’re trying. I’m finding more stores and businesses up here are posting signs that the mask ordinance will be enforced. They don’t always carry through, but at least the message is consistent throughout the state. You too over there.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  2. Merril D Smith
    | Reply

    Hope you’re OK, and that you and yours stays well.
    Merril D Smith recently posted…The VisitorMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Merril. All is well. Though, I don’t like when Hanukkah falls so far ahead of Christmas. I store all those decorations together so we never got our menorah out this year. I’ve enjoyed seeing all the photos on Facebook though. Our tree is going up this weekend. Can I set up a Menorah late? I’ve got lots of already burned candles. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  3. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I predict you’ve already received your “negative” result, a positive thing. I saw a news bulletin yesterday that says there may be soon an at-home Covid-19 test with results in 20 minutes. Is it reliable? Hmmmmm

    Our mayor enforces the mask rule, carts are sanitized at the grocery stores, and we observe the 6-feet-apart social distancing guideline. I try not to stress what I can’t control beyond that.

    Just keep drinking lots of echinacea tea with honey. And a cookie to go with it. But, of course.
    And Merry Christmas!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…12 Christmas Writing PromptsMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Marian. The test results came in at about 8:30. Can’t tell when you posted here. But right on with reliability. I’m also wondering about longevity (of the vaccine, not me so much). Flu shots last a season. How long will the CoVid shot last? No one knows yet. I’m expecting folks to let down their guard. Oh well; Not to fret over what i can’t control; good motto. As Darlene says, stay safe.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  4. Carolyn
    | Reply

    We have a lot of bad press in the UK about whether the test and trace systems are working properly so I hope your experience is a good one. The 20 minute test is cited as being unsound with too many negative results turning up. This is being used on university students before they set off home for the vacation and we all hop that won’t cause a spike in CoVid cases; especially as London is experiencing a big rise in cases from the 11-18 school students.

    I sympathise about twitchy male passengers. I suffer the same although I am told I’m good and I do have an advanced driver’s certificate. Sigh.

    I shall continue to hope you just had a feverish cold. Honey and lemon.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Carolyn. You’ve reminded me one of the biggest challenges we all faced during this pandemic was not knowing who to listen to, what to trust in, how to respond appropriately. Hopefully, at least for us, this will settle out come January 20. Fingers crossed.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  5. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Oh Janet, I hope you and yours are well, and that your tests came back negative. These are scary times, and this virus so unpredictable. I’ll admit I’m not a big risk taker, probably erring too much on the side of caution at times, although this might actually serve me well during the current pandemic, which I’ve taken seriously. It doesn’t help living in the suddenly wild west, where politics (why is this political?) and strange ideologies have rendered public health initiatives largely ineffective.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      The Suddenly Wild West. I think of you and Laurie every time Idaho is in the news and, unfortunately, that’s a bit too much of late; I’m sorry to say. Who would have imagined health care would be politicized? Well, those of us working for national health care for decades now know how easily that can happen. And the ground swell of anti-vaccinators, the challenge to established “expertise,” so much to challenge us these days. Stay strong out there. And safe.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  6. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    I hope it’s negative, Janet. One never knows about these things. If you are going out to be with other people even if you wear a mask it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Joan. The old “better safe than sorry” applies to so much in life these days and I seem to hear it more the older we get. What’s that about? My mask is starting to feel like a bumper sticker: here’s what I believe. My best to you and Bill. Have a joyous holiday season.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  7. Janet Givens
    | Reply

    Hello everyone. Thanks for your good wishes. As expected, the test came back negative; the call came in this morning at 8:30. They didn’t realize I had a deadline to meet! 🙂

    Excuse my responding en masse. Turns out we could help one more detainee be released if we can get the paperwork done by day’s end. Please wish me luck on that front as well. This is Carl, whom I mentioned briefly in my post where you first met “Jeff.” Fingers crossed once again, please.
    Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  8. Frank V Moore
    | Reply

    I’m still thinking if I have a philosophy about risk. I sorta do about worry and long range planning. With regard to risk, it depends what I’m putting at risk. If it’s my person, I think I’m fairly conservative – – tho I bet Woody would be gripping whatever he could grab onto if he were a passenger in my car! I know I tend to accelerate and brake harder than I should, particularly for someone who claims to be environmentally conscious. However, I have a high tolerance for risky behavior when it comes to investing. While I tend to do a fair amount of research (usually) before taking the plunge, I’ve made some fairly risky bets. Most have turned out very well, but I’ve also had some spectacular bombs. The mere fact that I tend to minimize/forget THOSE outcomes screams RISKY! As for worry, my attitude is worrying won’t affect the outcome of whatever I might be worrying about and it’s a waste of energy and mental time that could be spent doing something more productive or entertaining. Long range planning is another mixed bag. While I’m a firm believer that you gotta have a plan before you can change it, my long range planning tends to be more conceptual than concrete. It may get more concrete as that “long range” becomes near term, but since one can’t know the unknowns and unpredictable, I believe in keeping lots of flexibility in my plans. None of this probably addresses what you were looking for in a response, since it’s hardly a deep thought, much less a philosophy!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I love it. So much meat here to chew on, Frank. Thanks. I think your long range planning mirrors mine; always good to know the benchmark, the expectation, and where we veered off. I think the planning process is what is the important part, not really the end result, which is, as you say, always subject to change. I dabbled in being my own investor once, many decades ago. I don’t have the patience to learn what I needed to learn. Same as beekeeping! Your cookies, btw, are nearly gone. They were a huge hit. And I”m starting to look like those Renaissance women!
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  9. Susan Jackson
    | Reply

    Since I broke down in February I really haven’t been out much-can’t go like i used to so otherwise I would be out and about but being careful (?) but that would probably mean I couldn’t see my son so who knows. I have two friends I let in the car and we go out to eat in the drive thru and park the car—I have some trays I take and we have fun but none of us do anything—one gave up a kidney so she is very careful and the other has been fighting cancer for 10 yrs. There isn’t anything you can do about it so try not to worry —what will be will be- and you will find out soon—hope it is just the season. Take care and be sure to let us know

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      That “what will be will be” attitude was what my Kazakh students said when I asked them why no one used seat belts in Kazakhstan. Thanks for the mini memory, Susan. Stay safe down there.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  10. Terri Lyon
    | Reply

    I’m glad you are feeling better, Janet.
    Terri Lyon recently posted…What Kind Of Social Change Agent Are You?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thank you, Terri. It’s good to hear from you again. Hope your holidays are serene and joyous. Never did think they were mutually exclusive. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

  11. Janet Morrison
    | Reply

    Another excellent post, Janet. A little stuffy nose, and my thoughts immediately go to Covid! Glad your test results were negative.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Janet and welcome back. I’m glad too, though I have to say I began to expect that sometime Sunday evening, assuming if I were positive I’d be feeling worse and worse. I wonder how history will record this era? I hope you’ll write of it into one of your novels. Good idea?
      Janet Givens recently posted…My CoVid Test and MeMy Profile

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