On Monday, Nov. 16, I went out to clear some trail with a weedeater and blade attachment. Half an hour later I was lying on my back on the ground in a state of exhaustion.
Must be having an off day.
That night I developed a chest cough, no doubt from all the sawdust and debris I’d inhaled.
Tuesday I still felt puny enough to wonder: Could I have coronavirus?
That night removed all doubt as I came down with chills, body aches and fever.
I kept up with the steady rise on my thermometer: 99.6, 100, 100.4, 100.6.
Thankfully it stopped there. To my surprise, the fever was gone by morning.
That afternoon I went for a drive-through coronavirus test at the Pike County Health Department.
Positive, of course.
Wednesday night was a replay of Tuesday. Again the fever left by morning.
When I went to make coffee, I noticed it had gone completely stale — no fragrance at all.
Angelyn took a sniff and said it was fine. My sense of smell had departed, though not my sense of taste.
Thursday night my fever made its last appearance. But I would have to quarantine for a couple of weeks.
I didn’t have much energy but I felt good enough to go outside, just not good enough to do much of anything. The fall weather was fine, so I started spending time at my camp down in the woods.
Down at Covid camp
It’s not much to it. Just an old screen-house tent and a few plastic chairs.
A fire would be nice, but when I started to round up wood, I couldn’t muster the energy.
I remembered an old chimenea — outdoor free-standing clay fireplace — we hadn’t used in years and retrieved it with my side-by-side.
I set it up, tossed in some leaves and twigs and lit it. It flared up beautifully, no major firewood gathering needed. And if I needed more, I had a couple of store-bought logs I could use.
I spruced up my COVID camp in stages. A cot for the screen house. A pillow. Canteen and enamel cup. All designed to give me a comfortable place to rest and recuperate.
To keep from giving the virus to Angelyn, we both wore masks and kept our distance. And I stayed outside as much as possible. Hence the COVID camp.
Each day I took my Kindle and rode down there. Then I would just sit and read, or lie on the cot and nap. One day I stretched out in the leaves and dozed.
Other times I just sat and stared. There’s scant cell phone reception there, so no temptation to look at my smart phone.
I noticed the colorful fall leaves, the pristine blue skies, the occasional bird or squirrel. I might hear cows lowing or a far-distant tractor.
Now and then I’d take a drink of cool water from my canteen poured into a white enamel mug.
Mainly there was nothing. Just peace and quiet.
Visit from a white hawk
Until one day a batch of crows started cutting up. That didn’t seem unusual until I looked up and saw what they were upset about: a large, white hawk.
I’d seen this bird, or one just like it, a few years ago and even wrote about it in the Feb. 21, 2016, edition. Apparently it’s a leucistic redtailed hawk — leucistic referring to a genetic condition that results in mostly white coloration. Like a piebald deer.
Under the circumstances it had something of a spirit animal feel. It showed up several times, even roosting around the COVID camp. I decided to call it a coronahawk.
The COVID camp and coronahawk helped with my recovery, which was gradual, in fits and starts.
Just when I thought I had my energy back, I’d overdo it and wind up hammered. Then came new symptoms, like dizziness and nausea.
Barrel of monkeys
This coronavirus is a real barrel of monkeys — one strange thing after another. Reported symptoms include cough, sore throat, chills, fever, body aches, headaches, sinus congestion, loss of smell and-or taste, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, blue lips, pink eye and purple toes. Possible after-effects include stomach pain, heart damage, hair loss, cough, fatigue and depression.
When you first come down with it, you have no way of knowing if you’ll get off light or wind up dead.
Some people don’t feel sick at all; others just for a day or two. Some battle high fever for two weeks. Others wind up in the hospital. And too many, alas, have died.
My case reminded me of malaria, which is characterized by intermittent fever, chills and malaise. I caught it overseas in 1981 and enjoyed its visitations for many years. So in a way, my particular case of coronavirus felt like old hat.
None of my symptoms rose to the level of seeking medical attention, thank God, and the virus apparently ran its course.
I wasn’t real clear on the quarantine period, however. One sheet of paper from the health department said to quarantine 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Another sheet said 14 days.
My editor preferred I wait 14 days to be on the safe side.
I didn’t argue. It gave me a few more days to enjoy the COVID camp.