A positive COVID test despite being double vaccinated
While it wasn’t a secret one month ago, I didn’t want to tell everyone until some time went by. The reason is pretty simple. The moment you say, “I tested positive for COVID” nothing else you say after matters. You can say you’re fine. You can say you’re okay. They won’t read it. They will only read you got COVID.
On August 24, 2021, I went to the beach. Sort of. Sand Point Beach on the east end of Windsor is barely a beach. It’s a patch of sand that isn’t private property on the riverside that’s close enough of Peche Island in Detroit that folks often kayak over. My summer wasn’t very fulfilling as it was. The second pandemic summer began with losing my reservation to Bruce National Park near Tobermory, Ontario and having to camp on someone’s farm an hour away using the HipCamp app just so we could still go up. It was a fantastic experience still, but it was frustrating. My bicycle was also stolen this summer. A lot of plans fell through in July and I hadn’t felt like I was taking advantage of the summer.
One of the few things I had was biking an hour from my house to Sand Point and just soaking in some rays for an hour or two. Often I wouldn’t be able to get out of my house until the late afternoon and get the last of the sun rays but at least I got there. That day I also went into the water twice. Once I got out I biked home and started to feel like I had the sniffles. In 2019 I had a summer flu around the same time (thanks Facebook memories) so I didn’t think much of it. The next day I had to.
I woke up with a nose that couldn’t decide if it was running or stuffed up. I had a headache. My throat was sore and got worse throughout the day even though I didn’t say a word that Wednesday. I called in sick with an email. My body also felt like a burlap sack of smash potatoes. I didn’t think it was anything other than a summer flu. I did a taste test as I usually do to see if I had a common side effect of COVID by tasting some soy sauce. Still could taste it. By the afternoon I had to nap. I was already tired.
As Thursday rolled around I was still sick. I had been sipping tablespoons of Buckley’s all day and sucking on Cepacol candies and nothing was getting better. That’s when I was starting to wonder if this was something more. A friend suggested I go get tested for COVID so I made an appointment and could only get in by Saturday. Same symptoms persisted on the Thursday and I passed out in the afternoon before waking up in the early evening.
The next day I felt a little better. The headache was mostly gone. I could talk but my throat still hurt. I didn’t have the body aches like I did the days prior and even tried going to work because I can’t afford to miss more than two shifts in a week. They told me because I said I was going for a COVID test I couldn’t work. This would not have been an issue at all on any other week since most of the month I work from home. The final week of the month work has us go back to the office. Don’t ask. That Friday I was trying to convince myself I was getting over this summer flu that just hit me a little harder than usual. I mostly blamed the water in the Detroit river. Easy target.
That Saturday I went for my COVID test. By Saturday I wasn’t feeling sick and I wasn’t easily tired. The headaches were gone as well. The only thing remaining was a sore throat. I felt stuck in my house. Another week of summer wasted. That’s all that was on my mind. I wanted to write but I just had no motivation to do anything. I felt wiped out mentally. My COVID test was around noon on Saturday. Less than 24 hours on Sunday at 8AM I received a call.
“You have tested positive for COVID”
I was told that later that day the regional doctor would give me a call about what to do next. I waited six hours for that call. All I could think about was if I gave COVID to anyone else.
The region doctor told me that my most infection spreading days were the two prior to feeling sick. In other words, before you even feel sick, you can potentially spread COVID at the highest rate. You are a danger to everyone and you don’t even know it. The Monday prior of course I went to work in the office after weeks of working from home and also watched a movie at a friend’s house. On the weekend I went to a bar with friends. It doesn’t take much time to start feeling ashamed for living your life.
During this pandemic I feel like I’ve done everything I am supposed to. I isolated for almost three straight months when it started in March of 2020. My ceiling was destroyed by raccoons and I didn’t move out. I got my vaccinations the soonest I could with my second this past July. I’ve turned down opportunities to go out. I always wear my mask. I’ve paid for grocery delivery just to avoid going out. I worked at home throughout most of the pandemic with no extra time off. Getting COVID was the first time I got time beyond vacation time, and in the early spring I took all of my vacation days because I was burning out.
Of course, a virus doesn’t care about that. You can get it from anyone. It could have been at the farmers market. Could have been at the gym. Maybe the variety store I go into twice a week. Could have been the grocery store. Or the beach. It doesn’t actually matter. I got it.
What was nice to find out was that your isolation period getting COVID isn’t based on when you tested positive but the first day you felt symptoms. I only had one more week to isolate. I asked the doctor if I was cleared Friday, does that mean I could go around people on Saturday? Her response was to go live my life and not worry. Easier said than done. There was something inside of me worried maybe I would still have it and give it to someone but I also knew I was feeling so destroyed over the past two weeks I needed something. Thankfully my friends all tested negative.
So I went back to the beach. This time Erieau beach.
Someone on Twitter made a joke of not realizing there were beaches in Canada and I can assure you that the beaches I go to do not compare to a beach closer to the equator. These are patches of sand near water. I’ve never been much of a beach guy until this summer. I prefer camping to sitting in a chair and having the sun try to burn you to a crisp. This summer if I couldn’t leave my city I was sure as fuck leaving my house and going anywhere that felt foreign. The beach felt foreign.
Do I feel anything from getting COVID still? My throat is still sore. It’s not sore like it used to be but it feels like the night before I was singing karaoke and drinking whisky sours. I feel like my voice has changed a little. Maybe someone who knows me would know better. I don’t feel anything else. No headaches or sick feeling. I was worried the brain fog I get from B12 deficiency would get worse after COVID but I’ve actually felt more motivated after than less. Maybe that’s just me wanting to live my life more after dealing with COVID.
And yes, use me. Use me as an example of someone who got sick after their Pfizer COVID 19 shots and was still glad he got it. Use me as an example of someone who got COVID despite having two vaccination shots and is fine with it because I know how bad it was for people who weren’t able to be vaccinated in 2020 and got infected. What I’ve dealt with and am still dealing with isn’t anywhere compared to what they dealt with. It’s not just the flu. Use me as an example of someone who had worst case scenarios from the vaccine, getting sick from it, and still getting COVID after. And I do not regret it for a moment.
It has been a month and I wish I could say that I’m over the experience. Maybe once (if) my throat gets back to normal I won’t think about it. If the government just paid us to stay at home and paid businesses to shut down for the first six months of the pandemic I don’t think I would be getting sick over a year later. Instead we live with a broken compromise for pandemic living which is constantly knocked away by new variants and the same people who didn’t listen a year ago still not listening and spreading it. People will scream at businesses for requesting to see their COVID vaccine proof over focusing on the provincial government that actually said their strategy for protecting children they were forcing to go back to school from getting COVID was to pray for them.
So it has been a month. I got COVID. Am I fine? Am I alright? I appreciate concern, I honestly do, but I think we’re all sick of the question. We’re not fine. It’s a fucking pandemic. Let’s worry about being fine later and just survive. Survive until I can dip my toes in the hot sand again.