Personal development is a never-ending activity in every aspect of my life. It's better that I change actively, than sit and wait for others
This novel coronavirus that has been going around for the last year or so was something that I looked forward to finally catching. COVID-19 eluded me for almost an entire year, though, despite my involvement in the Black Lives Matter movements that saw me breaking social distancing and mask-related mandates. Nonetheless, our cruel mistress finally sank her teeth into me and I was excited to finally experience it.
I say I was excited, but don't take that to mean I'm downplaying its seriousness for many; the coronavirus is not something to take lightly regardless of your own superior health. My excitement was born of morbid curiosity, but I took every precaution not to expose others to my infection.
Without further ado, let's explore why my COVID-19 infection was so unique!
COVID-19 is as much a global social crisis as it is a health crisis. As we battle a virus, we must also battle the social pathogens that come along with it.
— Kyler J. Falk
Mild Symptoms Overall
With all the fearmongering on the media every day I was expecting to die from COVID-19 once I got it, and thus I did not really worry about it at all. You see, I'm in a high-risk category due to my asthma and weakened lungs, so I figured if I was likely to die then I may as well get it over with sooner rather than later. Being flippant about it was really the only way I could cope with the stress of social isolation, and I have since adopted a healthier mentality after experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 firsthand.
Overall, the symptoms I experienced were few and quite mild. Those very few, mild symptoms I experienced were as follows:
- Muscle soreness
- Cold sweats
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
The length of time each of these symptoms lasted baffled me. The headache and fever, in combination with the cold sweats, only lasted for one day; those three symptoms were, essentially, my signal that I had finally caught the deadly coronavirus the news has been ranting and raving about. It wasn't even a whole day that I experienced these, either, it was just for a night of tossing and turning in my own misery; the very next day, upon waking up from my few hours of sleep, those symptoms had been replaced by others.
Fatigue, soreness, and the loss of my sense of smell and taste were next in line for my COVID-19 experience. This was the worst experience of the whole sickness, at least as far as the sickness itself goes, because I spent an entire day sleeping. When I wasn't asleep I had to deal with my arms and neck feeling as if I had wrestled twenty bears back-to-back, and my legs wobbled with exhaustion as I dragged myself through my daily tasks. Thank goodness that the soreness and fatigue only lasted three days, which vastly differs from the time it took my senses of smell and taste to come back.
From the time I lost my sense of smell and taste I began to measure how long it would take to get it back. Every day that passed without smell and taste was actually a blessing; I ate way more fruits and veggies, things I'd normally never eat because the taste would make me sick. For twenty-nine days, COVID-19 both cursed and blessed me with the inability to smell and taste.
If only I had been tested for COVID-19 I would know exactly when my infection began and ended, but luckily my girlfriend got her testing done incessantly and the clinicians drew out a timeline for us.
Tested Positive for Seven Weeks
I am the type of individual to be against doctors for the sole reason I have diagnosed and treated myself more-successfully than doctors ever have for a handful of years now, so I refused to get tested for COVID-19 because I knew for certain I had it based on my symptoms. However, my girlfriend gave in to her curiosity and decided to get tested. Unsurprisingly, her first test came back positive not even two days after taking it.
During her infection she went over her daily goings-on with a group of clinicians who pieced together her, "day zero," and we discovered the infection most likely occurred on November 27th, during a Thanksgiving party we attended. That is a story I'll get into within the next section briefly, but she would have two more tests that come up positive after this initial one. We didn't think the infection was ever going to end.
Two weeks went by after the first test, we socially isolated completely, and then she decided to order another test. Unfortunately for us, it came back positive once more. That put us at the three weeks of infection mark.
Another two weeks went by and I began to break the isolation rule in favor of my mental health while still maintaining social distancing and precautions, and my girlfriend got another test which came back positive once more. Neither of us had symptoms at this point, other than a reduced sense of taste and smell on her part, but she felt we still needed a week or so of careful behavior which led to another positive test.
It wasn't until the fourth test, at almost eight weeks, that she finally received a negative test result. What an experience it was, as in that time there was a myriad of events that ultimately led to us being forced to move by our landlord. Before I get into that little adventure of discrimination and harassment, though, let's discuss how I contracted the infamous COVID-19.
I would trade any illness I've ever had for another COVID-19 infection; it really was that great of an illness.
— Kyler J. Falk
How We Caught COVID-19
It was on November 27th, 2020 that we contracted this novel coronavirus, COVID-19. In hindsight, the circumstances under which we caught the virus were quite hilarious and most people have a kneejerk reaction of denying that it could've happened such a way. Alas, what you are about to read has been confirmed as the factual timeline of events for our method of infection.
While attending a Thanksgiving party an old friend invited us to, we were having a great time with about ten of our old friends. With whiskey in hand, I laughed away about how COVID-19 was being blown way out of proportion—a sentiment I still hold to some degree. Little did we all know that an individual no one was expecting was about to show up knowing that they were ill, but assuming it was just a cold.
In she walked, a beautiful older woman with her majestic service dog. As she entered the room she said nervously, "Hey guys, sorry, I have a cold but I don't think it is COVID-19. Don't worry, I'll keep my mask on and avoid you guys," and so she did keep her mask on and stayed mostly away from everyone.
A key detail here, though, her dog did not stay away from everyone and we all loved on that dog for hours. Not a single thought went through any of our minds that this individual was also hugging, kissing, and coughing on this dog. So, according to the clinicians, this was the most likely culprit in every single adult and child at our get-together contracting COVID-19.
Even the individuals who had no contact with the individual all night long and remained well over six feet from them, some even remaining outside the entire party, contracted the virus at the same time as everyone else. The commonality these individuals shared was petting the dog.
A tidbit I still find myself laughing about is that this wonderful older woman came back to everyone weeks later and said, "My damn boss is the one who infected me after coming back from the Caribbean," as if to brush the responsibility of her showing up to the party knowingly-ill onto her boss. If only she hadn't brought her service dog, there would have been much less damage done.
You see, the woman had been coughing, sneezing, and rubbing fluids all over her dog both prior to and during our gathering. The clinicians believe that the particulates made their way from her, to the dog's fur, and finally onto everyone else who interacted directly with the dog. It was actually the first time the clinicians had ever dealt with a case like this one, where there was picture, video, and word-of-mouth evidence of the sick individual's distancing from everyone else.
I suppose we are a great example of what to look out for even when you think you are being as safe as you can be! This is doubly true when you hear what I have to say next, because this is where my experience with COVID-19 becomes truly unique.
Neighbors, Cops, Discrimination, and the Spitting Incident
If there was one thing in this entire COVID-19 experience that no one could see coming, it would have to be my former neighbors and their reaction to seeing me spit on the ground. I mean, holy smokes, if this experience has taught me one major lesson it is that you need to be careful what you do within the purview of your enemies. All it took was me spitting on the ground, a disgusting habit I developed while playing sports and have since ceased, and the dominos of destruction began to tip.
You see, I had been walking to my mailbox with my son on December 30th, 2020 when I turned my head and spit in the parking lot of my apartment complex. I had no idea my neighbor was going to take this as a personal affront, let alone a threat, so I wasn't thinking they'd be calling the police on me. They did, though, and before they showed up I had to let the police know there was an active COVID infection in my home.
An active COVID infection is not something law enforcement shares with others aside from medical professionals and other relevant authorities, but the officers on my case accidentally discussed it within earshot of my neighbor. Mind you this was December 30th, more than thirty days after our initial infection date, and the criterion for active infection status is having had a positive test, but not a negative test. Later on, the Buena Park Police Department apologized for leaking my PHI and chose to institute a code for active infection cases, but the damage was already done.
My neighbor went to on-site management and told them that we had COVID-19, and her intent to cause us damage succeeded. Our on-site manager refused us multiple maintenance requests, and the landlord backed up his decision, despite one of our requests having been that our heater stopped working. During one of the coldest times of the year, an epidemic occurring in conjunction, we went without heat; all because COVID-19 is as much a social pathogen as it is a biological virus.
We would've sued the alleged managing company, Terra Management, or Frank Sarco, the alleged owner of the complex and managing company, but two days later the cops would be called on me again for delivering a cease and desist order to my neighbor. This led to me filing in court for a restraining order against my neighbor, and us being forced to move to a new area. The worst part about all this is that there is so little legal precedent for COVID-19 that no attorneys have the time to litigate such a novel and complex case.
To call my experience with COVID-19 unique is an understatement at its best. Luckily it is all over, and we are resting easy in a new place with great health.
Final Piece of Advice
No matter who you are, what your health is, and where you choose to reside I have a valid piece of advice to impart upon you: Take the threat of COVID-19 with the utmost concern for your safety and future.
I am under the impression that my unique experience with COVID-19 is just that, unique, and it should not be used to gauge your own level of safety and precaution. The amount of luck I had to not become seriously ill, to not die despite being high-risk, it is not something to take into account when looking at your own situation. Ensure that you seek medical professionals to assess the seriousness of your case if you do get infected, and do your best not to follow my example.
For those of you who choose to continue taking it less seriously, I'll reiterate my quote from earlier in this article: COVID-19 was so mild that I wouldn't trade it for any illness I've suffered from in the past. It really was relatively pleasant as compared with all the sicknesses I've ever suffered from.
To you who is attracted to this sentiment, I wish you the best of luck, but try to be an example for proper safety and precaution, rather than an example for reckless behavior like I exuded before contracting the virus.
If not for yourself, do your best to keep others safe and lead the way into a healthier future! Oh, and don't shame people for having COVID-19!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Kyler J Falk
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 03, 2021:
It's in times like these that I thank goodness for courts of law, Gilbert. When adults can't come to the table and discuss a problem like adults, the justice system makes for a great mediator. If only there were proper legal precedent for COVID-19 discrimination, then I'd have even less outstanding problems.
Thanks for reading!
Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on March 03, 2021:
I appreciate hearing about your unique experience with Covid 19, Kyler. You list important signs of the virus we all should be aware of. I think it's difficult to get along with people sometimes. A pandemic like Covid only makes matters worse. Let's hope the vaccines are successful and brings us back closer to normal.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 28, 2021:
Absolutely, Peggy, this virus is not something anyone should aspire to catch. That's why I'm a strong advocate for everyone to avoid people such as myself, and to stay home in isolation. #SaferAtHome and all that good stuff.
My luck has always been quite high, even when it seems low, and it is nice to be able to be alive still, for the most part. For those who drew the short end of the stick, I wish there was more I could do than just donating my time and resources. Unfortunately, the government guidelines keep many people from doing anything truly meaningful outside of monetary donations.
To all those who are suffering, I wish for a speedy recovery, or at least a painless release where recovery was never an option. We could all use some release in these harsh, unforgiving times.
We aren't considered essential, and thus are nowhere near making the list for vaccines. Hopefully everything with this new vaccine trend smooths out, and we can all be a bit safer with our injections taken care of.
Thanks for reading!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2021:
You and your girlfriend are both lucky from what you wrote about your experience with catching Covid-19. We had a 49-year-old neighbor die from it. My niece's son-in-law (who is in his thirties) had gastrointestinal side-effects, and he lost over 60 pounds. He still does not have all his strength back, and it has been over 6 months.
My husband and I have just received our first vaccine dose this past week. We are looking forward to the second dose and are trying our best to stay socially distant. Considering all of the deaths attributed to this virus, it is best to avoid catching it.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 28, 2021:
Not just recovered, but are thriving in a beautiful new place we never would've found without their crazy asses! It was a, "blessing in disguise," as they would say. Pretty soon I'm going to have to do an article on this hidden paradise, but first I have to get some good pictures if I ever get any free time.
It would make sense to take all precautions possible to avoid others if the conditions for infection are optimal. What irks me is when you're still thirty feet out, and someone is already making their way into the nearest tree as if you were the physical manifestation of the plague. Even worse are those who mistreat others after being the ones to approach in the first place, but I'm lucky to have only seen that stuff on the internet.
Karens abound, to use the vernacular of the cool kids on the internet these days.
Thanks for reading!
Ann Carr from SW England on February 28, 2021:
You've done well to tell us about your experience and I admire your honesty regarding your previous attitude. I am able to keep apart from people as I'm retired and don't need to go to the shops (we have a grocery delivery). However, I do get annoyed at those who come too close when I'm taking some exercise down by the sea, close to home, where there is plenty of room - I find myself zig-zagging all over the place!
I think others should read as many anecdotes as possible from those who've had this virus. I'm due to have my vaccine within a week so fingers crossed.
There have been a few questions here regarding the transmission by animals, but the fact that another guest's dog was obviously infected just on its fur, was avoidable if she'd thought it through.
Bad luck for you and your girlfriend, but I'm glad you're both fine now and have recovered from the unkind neighbours too!
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 26, 2021:
I can only imagine how individuals with severe depression are handling isolation right now. Many of the stipulations for this pandemic have put people into very rough situations. Whatever may have happened, my condolences to the man who passed.
I've been finding it increasingly difficult to deal with isolation, but I have found a wonderful group of individuals who immigrated here from Hong Kong who take a more relaxed approach to the pandemic. We've been exchanging gifts and hanging out regularly since we met, and it is a nice change of pace from the majority who are scared to even walk by others.
Still, I could do with some more adventure and less bombardment with anti-social sentiments and shaming for wanting to be mentally and socially healthy.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on February 26, 2021:
Thank you for writing this article. I get annoyed seeing people jump into the road or trying to meld into the hedge just so they don't have to pass by someone in the street. That is an interesting point about the dog and everyone petting it. I will stay away from dogs if I see they are with a person who looks unwell! My sister in law and niece have had it. One is elderly (76), the other has asthma but both recovered. My other sister in law's elderly neighbours have both had it. They are both over 80, very overweight and practically immobile but they both recovered, though one had to spend a few days in hospital. I do not personally know anyone who has died of it but I do know people who are suffering because of lockdown. Just today a young man in his late 30s, married 2 young children, died in a vehicle accident which may not have been an accident.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 25, 2021:
No, not to my knowledge, the dog didn't have nor contract COVID-19.
My sympathy and well-wishes to your friend; I may take my situation very lightly but the safety and health of everyone else is a big concern of mine.
Luckily we did not get evicted, though I'm sure they wish they had done it to cause us even more grief. It was simply a dispute where they exercised their power beyond what was reasonable, and for an unjust cause. You should see where we live now, though, it's an absolute paradise hidden in the recesses of Garden Grove.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 25, 2021:
Oh my, Kyler.
What a story!
I know Covid-19 is not funny, but to listen to your tale about everyone petting that poor doggie is a bit hilarious.
Did the dog get Covid-19 too?
I'm so glad you and your girlfriend are okay.
I know you take this lightly, but right now I have a friend in the hospital with covid. They amputated her left arm up to the elbow due to a blood clot in an effort to save her life.
So do count yourself lucky & try your best not to challenge lady luck.
Sorry you had to find a new place. Here it is difficult to evict anyone during Covid-19.
Take care & I enjoyed the read.