07.09.21 — Journal

Coronavirus: Buy One, Get One Free

After some ominous foreshadowing in my last post, I’m sure the title of this one leaves little to the imagination as to what happened to me next: I got COVID – and not once, but twice.

Before we delve into how I managed to kill time in my flat by myself, I should address the elephant in the room: how did I manage to get COVID twice? And how, just how, did I manage to get it in as many months?

The sincere answer is that nobody knows. Both my GP and the Madrid COVID helpline have been great during the these two bouts of the virus, ringing me periodically to see how I am getting on and describing the next steps to take. One of these times my GP rang me to clarify the situation, and admitted that even she didn’t know how I managed to give a positive result twice. One theory is that the first time was a false positive, which could well be the case, but we’ll never know.

The important thing is that I’m now COVID-negative and fully recovered – except for my sense of taste and smell, but I’ll leave that story for later on in this post. As mentioned, I’ve to express gratitude to the Madrid health authorities for their constant contact throughout these odd few weeks, and also to my family and friends who kept me entertained during the long evenings alone in my flat.

Now, on with the story. My first bout of the virus came after Cami and Kevin’s visit, after I’d gone to a private testing centre to get a PCR ready to fly back to England to visit my family. I was shocked when I received the positive diagnosis as I’d not a single symptom, but I dutifully locked myself in my flat and began my ten days of quarantine.

Being stuck at home was made less tedious by some mood lighting.

This first bout of quarantine wasn’t all too bad, I was just sad to have missed a chance to visit my family and then get out and enjoy Madrid’s summer activities. I moved some of my holiday days at work in order to work from home to keep myself occupied, and with the idea of then taking these days off when I could enjoy them and get out of the house once again.

As mentioned, I was completely fine, except perhaps for a bit of a light cough, and so I kept myself occupied and entertained by cooking and setting up spa evenings at home to pamper myself. One day I even made banana bread for the first time, which I didn’t expect to be so tasty nor so big – it took me a good while to get through the entire thing!

I’d to make banana bread in a cake molde thanks to my temporary imprisonment.

One evening I was in bed and noticed that I felt a little feverish, and so I took my temperature to discover that it was slightly elevated. I wasn’t too concerned, as I’d had some out-of-date salmorejo (a cold tomato and garlic soup) earlier in the day, and so resolved that my body must just be reacting to that. It was an easy conclusion to jump to seeing as I’d had COVID just weeks before – I assumed that it’d be impossible to get infected again so soon.

With my light cough gone and the ten days of quarantine over, I was eventually allowed back out, and my life returned to normal for a while. After the excitement of my trip to Sweden, however, things got a little heated – literally.

As a precaution, however, I stayed put at home, popping a paracetamol the next day and carrying on working. The day after this, however, I awoke with very little sense of smell or taste, and by noon it had disappeared completely. Knowing that this was a telltale sign of COVID, I rang my GP and arranged to be tested that very afternoon.

In a surprise to nobody except myself at the time (and perhaps those of you that didn’t read the title of this post properly), the test came back positive. Plunged into another ten-day quarantine, I was forced to find other ways to occupy myself that didn’t involve making delicious food. I played with the lighting in my flat for a while, practiced my calligraphy, and began fun experiments involving making and eating most disgusting culinary combinations that I could possibly imagine.

With two trips cancelled, which would have seen me back to Oslo to see Heidi and back to Tenerife to see Cami, this second quarantine was a little more disheartening than the first. This, coupled with the fact that I was feeling under the weather, unable to enjoy food, and stuck inside again for the second half of my summer holidays, made this second round particularly tough.

After a few days of me living off paracetamol, my GP rang me to see if I was fit to be let back out. Thanks to a lingering bit of a cough, she instructed me to stay inside for another three days, and so I found my imprisonment extended into the second week of my summer holidays.

This extension of the quarantine was a nuisance, but at least it didn’t ruin the last of the three plans that I had for my summer holiday: acting as host for Izzy and her boyfriend Alex who were to come and visit me in Madrid! That, however, will have to wait for a future post.

We thus come to the conclusion of this perhaps somewhat dull post, but I’d like to end on a more optimistic note. Since the second round of COVID I’ve had a great few days with Izzy and Alex, and there’s more to come in this month of September and the next, as I’ve got plenty of visits and other short adventures lined up! You can be sure that I’ll be back just as soon as I can to report on all of the goings on – until then!