Corona Chronicles: Where I Explain How I Got COVID

I knew it wasn’t a good idea when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to no longer require proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding

It didn’t sound like a smart move. How would any of us know if the person next to, in front of, or behind us was truly COVID-free? This decision, coupled with the newly lifted mask mandate for flying, seemed irresponsible on the government’s part. 

Still, my husband and I prepared for our June 19th flight back to the States. 

They say you attract what you fear, so I tried not to think about how many people did or did not wear masks in each overcrowded airport. I can’t say with accuracy how many times I actually wore my mask while standing in the TSA line. Sometimes, I did. Sometimes, I didn’t, which was irresponsible on my part.

But here we all were, boarding a plane, trusting none of us were infected. 

As we ascended higher and clouds floated by, my fears eased. There was no reason to worry. Just as I relaxed, I heard it. 

“Atchoo!” then a sniffle. Then another, “Atchoo!” 

The guy to our right and two rows back had an uncontrollable sneeze. Because I’m not very discreet, I looked back at him to see what he’d do next. Turns out, he didn’t have a tissue, so he used his sleeve. 

That’s when I went into full panic mode, looped my mask around my ears, and kept it there unless I needed to sip water or eat. And it’s a good thing, too. Another guy to the left, one row back had an uncontrollable cough. 

These two continued through the eight-hour flight, like a ping-pong match: atchoo, hack-hack-hack, atchoo, hack-hack-hack

I knew right then I was gonna get COVID. 

Anywho, we arrived at JFK late Sunday evening, where unmasked travelers were not only sniffling, coughing, and touching things, but also piled on top of one another as if we weren’t in a pandemic. 

By the time we landed in Florida Sunday night, I was so happy to be back that I put the previous twenty-four hours behind me. All that mattered was that we’d made it home.  

Wednesday, I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose. Could I have COVID? I thought. I don’t have COVID, I hoped. I just have a cold. So, I went about my day as usual. 

Thursday, I woke up and felt as if I’d been hit by a truck. My body was achy, my voice was raspy due to the sore throat, my nose wouldn’t stop running, and my temperature was 100.7. My husband did the COVID test for me. You know—the one the US government sent to everyone in the little orange box? Fifteen minutes later, the test was negative. 

Friday, I was healed. Maybe my body was just getting used to US germs I reasoned. I felt fine, so I went about the rest of the weekend with regular activity: grocery shopping, working out, etc. 

The following Monday I had the hit-by-a-truck feeling again, and Tuesday, I could barely keep my eyes open. This time, I went to the clinic. Thirty minutes later, the doctor came in and announced that I was, indeed, positive. 

“How long have you had symptoms?” he asked.

“Since last Wednesday.”

“That’s odd you’re still testing positive,” he said. “But you’re out of the quarantine period, which is five days now. You’re not contagious anymore. All you have to do is wear a mask if you go out, and don’t take a PCR test for three months; otherwise, you’re gonna test positive again,” he said while handing me two printed pages of COVID-positive protocols.

His advice sounded strange. But who was I to argue with the CDC and the doctor? 

My case was mild. Within two weeks, I was fully recovered. 

I can’t say with certainty that I contracted COVID on the international flight home; however, it makes sense. COVID-19 is known to appear 2-14 days after exposure. Flying all day on a Sunday and waking up sick on Wednesday, makes the plane the logical place to have been exposed. 

However, something else seems logical to me. Restrictions are important. I’ve traveled internationally three times over the past two years and have never contracted COVID while in another country or on a flight, but in the past, there were always rules in place.  

While I take full responsibility for not wearing a mask the entire travel day, I maintain the no-mask, no-COVID test for re-entry rules are partially to blame. This experience makes me think the following should happen: 

  • The six-feet, social distancing rule should be implemented at the airport. 
  • Masks should be mandated at the airport. 
  • Masks should be mandated on airplanes, especially because the negative COVID test rule is over. 

Because the above will probably never be reinstated, maybe we should all take personal responsibility and at least wear masks in the airport and on our flight. It seems like the least we can do if we’re going to be moving about the world during a pandemic.


Post-script: I have been vaccinated. I have been boosted. You cannot move between countries, unless you have been. However, I now completely understand that part of the purpose of vaccinations and boosters is so that you’re not hospitalized (because most countries don’t have the capacity). It has little to do with protecting you from getting COVID.


84 thoughts on “Corona Chronicles: Where I Explain How I Got COVID

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Dr. G!! I have been triple vaxxed too and still managed to get Covid. Coincidentally — I found out crossing the border between Detroit Michigan and Windsor Ontario – they still do random tests. OMG what an experience. I had ‘agents’ dropping into our house at all hours of the day. That said: in a way I feel free now because I battled it and survived. (I’m still convinced everything since Feb 2020 is a simulation .. just sayin’) Dr. D ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You got COVID on the Vegas trip??? Good grief. I’m sorry to hear that. Thank goodness for the random tests, though.

      lol where is the ctrl-alt-delete to exit the simulation lol

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing!!.. hope you are feeling much better and glad for you that it happened when you were returning home and not during your adventure…. believe you could have got the covid from anywhere, even a family member could have unknowingly had it… I have had all the vaccinations and still take precautions, including wearing the mask, when I am out and about… 🙂

    Take care and until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dutch! All is well ❤

      I would agree with you on how I contracted it, except (at the time) I'd only been around my husband for eight weeks, and of course we'd been traveling with no issues. When we returned home, we didn't see anyone, and were both sick three days later.

      With that said, I totally get that we could've both contracted it weeks' prior, but based on how we'd been interacting, this didn't seem plausible either.

      Either way, I'm glad to see you're being careful. I think that's what we all should do.

      Thanks, as always for the poem…I always look forward to them ❤

      Like

      1. Last Christmas my brother and his family postponed Christmas until after the new year, they all had the vaccinations, etc… they had Christmas the middle of January, a week later most of the family had a mild form of covid.. 🙂
        4 members were not present at the party, they had vaccinations but did not take precautions and they got covid at work… 🙂

        covid is everywhere and folks may be carrying the virus and not know it also… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting experience with COVID-19 and so glad that you made full recovery and your COVID was just mild. Governments all over are lifting the restrictions more especially masks and implementing mandatory vaccines which is not effective at all so some people think vaccine thing it’s just a government conspiracy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! A lot of people here think it’s a conspiracy, too. I just wish we’d all use common sense, because it’s obvious our governments don’t really care about our wellbeing 😒

      Like

  4. Sorry to here you got Covid Kathy. What a drag. I can totally relate to what you’re saying here except when I see clients.. Then I stay completely masked

    ” I can’t say with accuracy how many times I actually wore my mask while standing in the TSA line. Sometimes, I did. Sometimes, I didn’t, which was irresponsible on my part.”

    Spiking again and with my daughter’s wedding coming in Sept with 250 people , and then not thinking anything of it, I’m not a happy camper.. 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy! If I was in close contact with clients, then I think I’d probably wear a mask, too!

      My husband and I attended a wedding in September 2020, and we were leery at first, but by the end of it, we were unmasked and hugging people. But 2022 conditions seem even more unstable than 2020’s, so I cannot even imagine a wedding right now. I do hope you’ll be COVID-free afterwards, though…fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah you do what you have to do really and it’s inevitable we will all get it at some point Kathy. I’m going to try to stay away from it if possible until that wedding day at least I hope. You’re so welcome dear. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

    1. for. sure. The good news is once you get there, you’re gonna feel safer than you ever have in the States. Other countries are either all in or all out with how they’re functioning.

      Like

  5. I’m so sorry you had Covid! Thank goodness it was a mild case. The good news is, between having it and your vaccines, you should be immune for a few months, which is comforting. I understand why people are so very sick of this disease and its restrictions after over two years and constantly changing rules and guidelines, but I do think that if we could just use some common sense (masking up in large crowds) it would sure help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re baaaack ❤

      Thanks for this. Is that a thing? Immunity for a few months after you've had it? That's good news.

      And RIGHT! I just think we should be somewhere between who cares and we're all gonna die when it comes to masks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too! There has to be a common sense attitude between the two extremes! And yes, as far as I know, once you’ve had it there is immunity for a certain length of time. How long is the question, but apparently, if you’ve had Covid and are also vaccinated, then you’re as immune as it is possible to get. Usually, that lasts for six months, but I do have a friend who caught it again after four months. She has an auto-immune disease though, and that might have made a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh I’m so sorry you got COVID but I’m also glad that you didn’t battle endless symptoms! Are you feeling better now? And was it about 5 days of hell all together? More or less? I could not agree more of course. It’s so maddening that the government changed the rules. It’s all about money and the government set this ridiculous relaxed rule because the airlines didn’t want to go broke and someone’s sleeping with someone or giving someone a favor. Again no one gives two shits about human beings. No one in power anyway. I don’t blame you for letting your guard down a few times and it sounds like the jokers on the plane were the ones who easily passed something along to you. Oy, we’re just not out of this yet. But I’m so glad you survived and let me know how you’re feeling 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Libby ❤

      I feel much better! It took about two full weeks to feel like myself and a whole lotta just sitting down. For a while, I was still exercising, until I realized it was making things worse :-/

      I'm so convinced it was them, or JFK. JFK is just disgusting, in general. When you add a pandemic to that nasty-ass airport, it's ridiculousness.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So glad you’re feeling better! What a journey. Although so stressful and emotional, I loved how you described your experience. A lot of people have a contracting Covid story to tell and each one is important. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So glad to hear your case was mild. It’s scary that it feels so much like the Flu. I caught Covid in the early days, back when it first took off. I can’t say for sure how, but it could have been me and my husband’s trip back from Spain. We were on the way home right when it was getting serious. (Spain shut down a few days after we made it home.) Thankfully, ours (we both caught it) was mild as well. The only thing was that I lost my sense of smell. Because my symptoms were like a regular cold, that was the only thing that let me know it had to be covid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, Spain is my most favorite European country, EVER!

      So, did your smell come back? I have a friend who had that early wave and she still can’t smell anything.

      And yes! It is very weird that it is so flu-like! The whole time I kept denying that was it, until I could no longer ignore it :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was the same when I got Covid. However there were five of us that had been infected at the same time and we were all out of work. All of us were vaccinated although I am the only one who was boosted. Which maybe why I had only headache and a need to sleep. The others had a few more symptoms than I did. In general though it is my work bestie/sister who gets exposed and then she passes on to me because we spend so much time together at work. Like 32 hours a week lol so it is inevitable. I am very thankful for being vaccinated as I did have a slight cough and that was what I was terrified of. When I get a cold it settles in my lungs and I basically sound like I have croupe. I will cough myself breathless during a normal cold. I had a cough for about a day and a half and it actually was less then my usual. A couple of times that I sorta went hmmmmmmm but all in all I was lucky. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me neither! The staying awake. I got up took T to school came home and slept on the couch. Woke up to back to sleep. Go pick up T feed him back to sleep. By day 4 I was down to about 10 hours or so of sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to hear you had a brush with Covid, Kathy. It’s good though to hear it was a mild case. On getting infected, it has become clear that we all will get infected or have been infected, at some point.
    We can only hope to reach a point where getting Covid will be like having flu. Because the virus is here to stay, it seems. Keep well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was the worst, Khaya. I totally believe that everyone’s gonna get it at some point in time; it’s just a a matter of time :-/

      I think you’re right about it eventually being like the flu! Fingers crossed for a decrease in mutations and thanks for the well wishes ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Even before COVID I would often get sick on flights. Something to do with waking up at 4 am to get to the airport 2 hours in advance of our flight or staying up late cleaning the house so the dog sitter doesn’t question my housekeeping skills! I am a sucker for the red eye flight to save $100 and wake up “refreshed” at my new location, lol! I am glad you are recovered. Working on healing your gut may work for better outcomes with COVID.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same. I was thinking that all the stress I talked about probably decreased my immune system, too :-/

      I also think you’re right about the gut connection. I actually healed in about two weeks, and I’m sure it’s because I’ve been working on my health anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sneak collagen (Dr.Axe’s) in my coffee and also my husband’s. If you believe the marketing it really does seem to help with gut health. I make sure to bring it when we travel. Many of my friends use the blue container of collagen available on Amazon and swear by it. Several of us were losing hair. It didn’t necessarily help with regrowing hair, but my hair and nails now seem to grow faster and healthier. Like you said, stress seems to be the trigger behind it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hate to keep plugging the Dr. Axe website, but he list all the benefits. For us I can tell you we are (1) aging well with wrinkles. Part of that may be when I turned 40 (almost 15 years ago) I started using Mary Kay, but I have family that uses Olay with fabulous results. (2) my husband has joint problems before he started drinking it and he feels good now. Part of that might be he is home and trying to walk 3 miles a day…but he has noticed a difference. (3) we have both noticed a difference in our hair growth/health. I think the collagen acts as a lubricant for the gut. I still take probiotics. Studies are now showing most medicines have an impact on gut bacteria with several being as bad as antibiotics. It made sense to me if I kill my bacteria nightly with pills, than every morning I build it back up. I started with Kefir and had better results with 50 Billion BTU? Probiotic pills. It has really been interesting reading up on leaky gut.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s okay! I like to hear what others are doing and why. You may need to write for my other site, if you want.

        My probiotic has 40 billion and it’s worked wonders.

        I’ll check out the collagen.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I am like you, I didn’t know what was going on. My HMO just wanted to give me more prescriptions, so I started googling holistic answers. Let me know your other site, I also like reading what other people are doing. 🙂 It has been a slow process, but once I felt the benefit of Kefir and my doctor told me she drank it every morning…I tried to read up on it as much as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. That does not sound fun. Glad to hear you are feeling better. I also had COVID – if you need a laugh, you can check out my humorous tips post re:COVID (https://jewishyoungprofessional.wordpress.com/2022/01/11/5-tips-for-getting-through-covid-quarantine-that-you-havent-heard-yet-nsfw-tmi/)

    On a serious note, I’d agree that the policy-making has felt really odd. My congregation is trying to figure out how to do High Holiday services this year. We have a faction of people who really want to make “normal as possible” (indoors, mask optional, test before you come) work, and a faction of people only comfortable with a different set of precautions (outdoors if possible, mask required if indoors). The COVID situation could change come late September when the holidays hit, but it’s tricky when plans need to be made now because so much planning must be done in advance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was NO FUN AT ALL lol I just kept falling asleep, which for someone like me, who is always doing something, was annoying.

      I’m gonna read this link soon.

      The policy-making is crazy, but I get it. At this point, it’s hard to make any concrete plans for anything, mainly because of mandates and variants (that’s a good title for a post: Mandates and Variants).

      On our way out of the country, people were maskless on the flight, and we didn’t know why until I googled it and found out the mask mandate had ended 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also traveled to a European country recently from the US. The only reason anyone wore a mask on the flights was because the national law of the country where my layover airport was located mandated it. And weirdly, it wasn’t actually mandated in the airport itself, only on the flight.

        Personally, I feel oddly neutral on masks. I don’t mind wearing one and I’ll wear one if requested/required, but I probably wouldn’t feel compelled to wear one on my own accord at this point, and I’m not bothered by other people not wearing them. I guess it’s funny to me how people perceive and prioritize normalcy, whatever that means

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was like that on a train ride from Amsterdam to Belgium. One minute no one was masked, then there was an announcement and everyone was masked, but only on the train, not in the station or Brussels lol Things are weird.

        Have you gotten COVID, yet? I find once someone contracts the disease, it shifts a few things.

        I also don’t care if people wear them, except if you knowingly have some type of persistent cough or sneeze or if you’re in an area where we’re all on top of one another.

        Like

  13. Airplanes are supposed to have very good air circulation cleansing systems but I do not know how protective they really are. 6 foot distancing? Probably never with jammed packed airports due to delays and cancellations. Seems adjusting (coping) with life’s irritants and challenges will continue to become more intense consternation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t trust it, and I’m not like a conspiracy theorist or anything. You’re also right about the 6-foot distancing; it was non-existent, on the plane and in the actual airport.

      I think you’re right about life’s (COVID) irritants.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sorry to hear of your illness, and glad for your recovery!

    With all the violent outbreaks on airplanes due to the enforcement of masks, I can understand why airlines have removed the mandates, but that doesn’t make travel safer for everyone, just potentially the airline staff (which is important too).

    In the before times, only the very conscientious or germ-a-phobic were the ones wearing masks. In American culture, it was seen even then as being weak-minded, that it was a mind-over-matter issue not to get sick. In the Japanese culture, it’s seen as looking out for the greater good, not to be potentially passing germs around. Mask wearing by those with immune system issues wasn’t encouraged, and if a person felt they needed to wear a mask, airlines questioned if they were healthy enough to travel, which made people want to hide any illnesses or susceptibility to them, so they wouldn’t be turned away. Even going through a pandemic, that mindset hasn’t changed much, for in the face of undisputed facts, many still adhere to their old belief systems.

    Being seen as weak or weak-minded is so ingrained in American culture that we push ourselves past the point where we should healthfully be. This is a very hard mindset to change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for these well-wishes and this global perspective, Tamara! I think your main point is absolutely valid: US culture is to just to push through and *look* healthy, not to actually be healthy and care about others in the process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! Very few people actually are willing to put in the effort to be healthy! It requires going against the mainstream flow!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Yeah…it’s all about minimizing damage. We will keep getting Covid…all of us…regardless of what we do. However, as our immune systems learn to fight this, it will seem just like the flu, because it is, just
    Ike the flu. I think 85% of the flu we experience now is a mutation of the 1917 flu, and the cdc says that between 250k and 800k people worldwide still die from the flu each year. So now that I’ve given you a cheery Monday morning thought , on with your day

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So many people are getting COVID now regardless of their vaccine status. I’m glad your case was mild. Also, I think the mask helps you from getting it, but is not 100% effective. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not wearing a mask. You did have to eat and drink water on your flight. It could have been then that you caught it. We just wen to a wedding where people traveled from the UK and Singapore to attend in CA. Dozens of people were infected at the wedding, but fortunately all have been mild cases.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Gah! They probably did get it on their flights :-/

      I think it’s more the government I’m feeling we should all be hard on. You know? The rules and non-rules and new rules mid-flight. I don’t know. It’s a lot.

      I do agree that people are just gonna get this, no matter what, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so glad you’re in recovery mode, Kathy. That’s no fun at all. I’m sitting in our local airport at this very moment (in Canada), waiting to board my first flight since Christmas 2019. Everyone is masked and I’m staring at a sign that says masks are mandatory in the airport along with physical distancing. People are still getting COVID in Canada, with stories similar to yours, just not from airports or planes. We have to all stay alert. Take care.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Oh, I’m sorry you got Covid and I’m glad it was mild. Your suggestions are perfectly reasonable which is why I think with a touch of cynicism that they won’t be implemented. But this post is a well-written reminder that we still need to be personally vigilant!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. So sorry to hear you got Covid, Kathy. The sneezing behind you on the plane sounded stressful. I have been concerned about the relaxed rules as well. Your story confirms my instinct that I should still wear a mask indoors in public places, which I do despite a few people’s questioning looks. Covid isn’t over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Rebecca ❤ That sneezing and coughing stressed me out every time I heard it lol

      Yes. Wear a mask. Don't worry about people's looks. Covid, even a mild case, is at the least disruptive.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. So sorry to hear you were sick, Katherin, but glad you’re feeling better. I agree with you 100%. It’s as if everyone is in denial about Covid and done with it. Though clearly, Covid is not done with us. I’m currently traveling in the US (visiting my daughter in Minnesota) and will be flying home to LA tomorrow. I noticed the same thing on my flight as you did. After reading your post, I’ll have my N95 mask on 100% of the time.
    It’s interesting to me how it’s simply accepted that getting sick is a small price to pay for the freedom to go mask-less!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you’re doing better now. I flew the end of June and I was surprised how most people didn’t wear masks at the airports or on the plane. It’s not my favorite thing, but better than being sick. A guy I’m working on a project with (all virtual) had Covid 2 weeks ago and last week he missed a meeting because he fell asleep for 6 hours when he planned a 20 minute nap. Did you lose your sense of smell?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Laura!

        When we left, they had announced the no-mask rule. We were trying to figure out why no one had a mask and was so excited on the flight.

        That sounds about right…20 minute nap turned 6-hour sleep lol that’s exactly how I felt. I literally could not keep my eyes open. I didn’t lose a sense of smell, luckily.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. And this is what we try to tell our patients over and over again who firmly believe that since they’re vaccinated, they won’t contract COVID-19:

    “However, I now completely understand that part of the purpose of vaccinations and boosters is so that you’re not hospitalized (because most countries don’t have the capacity). It has little to do with protecting you from getting COVID.”

    Really, it’s like speaking to a brick wall sometimes. *Sighs* And it also depends on your immune system. You can be vaccinated and boosted, and if you’re immunocompromised and contract COVID-19, there’s still a slight chance you can be hospitalized (or even end up dead). 😢

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know it’s hard for some to understand, but it makes perfect sense. No vaccine really stops you from getting something. i think we all need a science lesson, including vaccines, immune system, and immunity, in general.

      Thanks for adding a health professional’s knowledge, trE ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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