COVID-19: a first-hand account

Utica man contracts virus, recounts experience

By David L. Podos


Does anyone think they are so able- bodied, fit as a fiddle, unworried that they would never get COVID-19?  Well, I think maybe that was me. After all, I did all the right “stuff”.

Wore a mask when I was shopping, wore the mask performing my duties as a part time Professional Tutor at Mohawk Valley Community College.  Washed my hands for twenty seconds,   took my vitamins and drank my herbal teas, did my yoga, my meditation, worked out (in my basement on my Bow flex), ran on my running machine, slept well, avoided those I knew might be sick, COVID or otherwise. Yet in December I started to feel “not right”.  Little did I know soon I would be tested for COVID and that the test was to be positive.

I am one who does not believe in coincidences. Its just the way I am wired.  I see that every thing has a place and purpose- something for us to learn from, even if we don’t always understand why- even when you get COVID-19.

My symptoms began benign enough- just a slight headache smack dab over my sinus area with some post nasal drip. I never thought twice about it as anyone who has been brought up and or has lived a few winter seasons as an adult in upstate New York knows the dreaded Mohawk Valley Sinus Syndrome (coined by the long time residents of the area). While I am sure it is not listed in any medical journal of disease (as far as I know), I can tell you the symptoms are definitely real. It can morph into the worse sinus headache in your life, a raging bull smashing itself against your skull.

I suppose I am a bit stubborn because I just passed it off as another bout with my sinuses.  It was not until I started to have some pretty uncomfortable aches and pains, first in my upper body then to my lower body that I figured there was something a bit more than sinusitis going on here. I was still in denial that it could possibly be COVID-19,  after all, I had no temperature, and my breathing was fine. It wasn’t until I lost my sense of smell and taste that I knew I must be positive for the virus.  Some family members were swept up with incredulity that I could even think I would have the virus and suggested I wait to be tested or not to test at all, but I knew better,  so I went for my test, and of course I was right, it came back positive.

I was one of the lucky ones. No hospitalization, no ventilator, just more of an annoyance with the body aches, fatigue, and most disturbing was the complete loss of my taste and smell. It took just under a week for me to feel normal again, even my taste and smell came roaring back, thankfully. I was talking to some folks where everyone in the family, husband, wife, and their grown children all got the virus. For the parents there symptoms were much worse than mine, and while they as I did not have to be hospitalized, they spent the good part of a week right in bed, their temperatures spiking up to 102 degrees. When I last spoke to the wife she mentioned her husband still had no taste and smell, they both were tested positive in late September!

“This COVID is a curious creature for sure, who it strikes and how severely “quipped one of my friends and she is absolutely right.  So, now my perspective on all this has changed a little.  Even though I am out of quarantine, when I do go out I take along an arsenal of disinfectant weapons. Alcohol wipes stuffed into a zip lock bag along with latex gloves, and two kinds of “germ” spray are tightly packed into the little <>  .holes that are on either side of my drivers seat.  I am avoiding large crowds so I decided when I need to shop I will go early or late at night when the pedestrian traffic is way down.

But here is what I am not going to do- I will not hide away in my home. I will live my life as full as possible. I will do my best to be responsible to take care of my health, and do my best not to infect others, with anything! But most of all I will not be a victim of fear, for the greatest virus of them all is fear, and that is something no medicine, quarantine, or inoculation can ever truly cure.

•David L. Podos is a staff writer for Mohawk Valley In Good Health newspaper.