It’s been four days now since I first started feeling lousy. And I was sure that it was just a simple stomach virus. But when my arms and legs started getting weak for short random periods of time, I got a little concerned.

I started consulting Dr. Google, and you know how that can go. With this new and mysterious illness, almost anything can be considered a symptom.

But even knowing so many people who have had the novel coronavirus, I have never actually spoken to anybody who had my exact symptoms. Plus I can attribute them all to other causes: Sweats and chills: (well, I am of that age!). Fatigue: (who doesn’t have that?!). Vague muscle and joint pain: (well, I did do a little too much housecleaning yesterday!). And, the one that really confused me the most: stomach issues (it’s probably a stomach bug.) And when I say issues, I mean a plethora. Gas, pain, gurgling, burning, and a few too many trips to the bathroom, if you know what i mean. And I’m being polite here.

How could this be COVID- 19? The thing that’s causing people to have BREATHING issues? No fever, no cough, no sore throat. I’m thinking there’s no way it could be that. Especially because, as the designated errand runner in my home, I’ve only gone out three or four times in the past month and disinfected everything I brought in, down to the last small container of garlic powder. So what IS wrong with me? After googling myself into a veritable panic, I finally decided to seek actual medical answers. I called my family doctor and what he said was very surprising.

Gastrointestinal issues are actually a common early sign of COVID-19. I had no idea. And up until recently, neither did most doctors. And that’s the way it is with this thing: new day, new info. The fatigue and muscle pain and weakness seem to be common denominators. But my doc told me that not only is he pretty sure I have it, I should act as if I do, especially to protect my husband, who fits into a couple of scary categories of high risk.

So I moved into the guest bedroom and doc orders a test. And I got one Sunday morning; long swabs twisted so far up both nostrils I could feel them in my eyes. The testing center said to wait five to seven days for results. As you probably can imagine, when you’re now confined to a SINGLE room in your home wearing a mask and gloves even just to walk into to the bathroom, five to seven days is an eternity. My doctor did mention that some results come back as early as two days, so I started checking the online test-results portal yesterday.

Every. Five. Minutes.

And a watched pot never boils.

So here I sit, masked and gloved, steamed up glasses and all, waiting. And I thought just staying home was hard.


FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE PANDEMIC: Thursday at 7 p.m., New Jersey 101.5 takes a special live look at the plight of first-responders on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the resources available to help them through an extraordinary time. Listen Live on the 101.5 FM or the New Jersey 101.5 app. Join the conversation and ask your questions in a live chat at Facebook.com/NJ1015.


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