out of the valley

Day four, and it feels like I’ve turned the corner on this virus: I tend to measure such things by the point at which I actually feel like it’s worth wearing more than PJs and a dressing gown, and after a passable (though not great) night of sleep, I’m dressed properly. (Or, given my benchmarks of proper dress are perhaps not fully aligned with either local or global standards, perhaps I should say ‘dressed normally‘.)

So a pretty fast arc on this thing: felt pretty ropey Saturday daytime, though I put that down to a hangover (which likely compounded it, at the very least); Saturday night I went through the whole spectrum of sleepless fever, from feeling too hot to shivering cold, not quite hallucinating but with racing thoughts that were not always easy to distinguish from actual experience; woke on Sunday still feverish, but past the shivery thing, blocked sinuses and very sore throat at the back of the mouth; mostly kept my appetite and sense of taste and smell all through; yesterday woke with milder versions of the Sunday morning experience, soreness of throat diminishing through the day, sinuses loosening, definite increase in sneeziness. (As I remarked to my landlady on the phone earlier today: it’s like the thing has realised it’s getting kicked out, and is trying its best to find a new host.) Today, still sneezy, but mostly feel like I’ve often felt after having had a cold or flu; a bit tired and wrung-out, but otherwise on the mend.

For the avoidance of any doubt: I am recording these symptoms primarily for my own interest, and they are offered neither as definitive expressions of the experience C19 in general or of this particular variant*, nor as some sort of normative ideal, nor as some entry into a league-like contest of either general health or relative suffering. This is simply my experience, and it is presumably as unique and shaped by context as anyone else’s has been or will be.

That said, I will at least speculate on the very minimal coughing, none of which was the deep-in-the-lungs phlegm-rattling sort of cough that makes some RTIs particularly exhausting and unpleasant. I have read quite a few reports that hypothesise the Omicron variant’s mutation for greater infectiousness had to do with its tending to get settled in the upper respiratory tract rather than the lungs, and that seems born out by my sense of where the discomfort and drama was happening in my body. However, the part of me that is an interpretive social scientist—which I guess by this point is by far the largest part?—wants to acknowledge the power of received ideas to shape experience into narratives.

(I will also note that, while I remain determined never to become a born-again anything, I am never more glad to have stopped smoking than I am after having had a cold or flu or RTI-type illness. These things used to drag on for weeks.)

So, yeah. Didn’t really have much time to pay attention to my symptoms yesterday evening, as I was also dealing with an apartment-block drainage drama situation… but then I guess your ability to react to (literally) shitty water rising up through the drain in your bathroom is probably a pretty good indicator of how seriously ill you are. It is not a test I would recommend for general usage, though!

I also managed to finish and file that job application yesterday, which was the bright point in an otherwise difficult day. No time to rest on those laurels, though; there’s another three (three!) positions with a deadline of January 31st, and these damned things don’t write themselves…

2 thoughts on “out of the valley”

  1. Very glad to hear you’re on the mend, Paul! Good luck with the job hunt. (Btw, weirdly, I also finished exactly eighty-one books last year. Our only overlap was Le Guin’s treatment of the Tao Te Ching, but I’ve already ordered a couple of others you wrote about. [Btw 2.0, I moved to London on Saturday and am starting a PhD next week]).

  2. Wayne! Wonderful to hear from you. Starting a PhD? I guess all the warnings from friends who already had one were never gonna put you off doing something you’d determined to do… hell, it takes a certain bloody-mindedness to move to London at the start of 2022, I’d have thought. 🙂

    Well, that puts you relatively nearby, at any rate. Do drop me a line if you find yourself headed toward Scandinavia any time soon, be great to hang out.

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