Roy Exum: A Monday In My Life

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

At 4 a.m. yesterday, I was pulled from my bed by an enormous thirst. I’ll admit it made me wonder, having written about the coronavirus for much of last week, and while I have read reams of stories, I’m thinking is that a symptom? I had gone to bed about 11 p.m. on Sunday night and felt fine. I quickly handled this problem with a Diet Coke, sitting on my upstairs porch and watching the rain. I took a bottle of water for the bedside and fell right back to sleep.

At 7 a.m. I woke up with a headache, which is not unusual because I have a lot of those physically and figuratively, so I popped a couple of Advil, drank another Diet Coke as dawn began, and, again, fell right back to sleep.

At 8 a.m.

I started to feel nauseous, which is rare without the antibiotics that I have had to take for years. I took the pill that works best for me – a prescription Phenergan – and while it took maybe 20 minutes to kick in – I found myself eager to stretch and yawn. My body developed some slight chills, making me wonder if I had a bout of regular flu coming, but I’ve endured that a lot before my right leg was amputated in mid-December. Again, I fell asleep, this after reading Hamilton County has eight cases of CONVID-19 on Monday morning.

I have been in exile, not just quarantine, for almost three months. Last week I had a doctor’s appointment and on Friday I went to the grocery store. I bought $246 worth of groceries, which is a lifetime record in all the years I have lived alone, and I was ultra-careful to obey the quarantine rules, breaking only once to get the blessing of a dear friend who I haven’t see in a while. Yep, I know it was wrong and, yep, I’d probably do it again because it was really important to me.

At 9 a.m. I got the first jolt of the day. I keep a thermometer on my desk from back during my most recent infections. It’s one of those deals where you press it against your forehead. I pushed the ‘ready’ button and it said “100.6” No way. I hardly ever have a temp so about 30 minutes later I took my temp for a second, then a third time, and my gadget read “error” on both tries. Perplexed, I studied instant thermometer and found I had left the protective cap in place. I took it off, and got two identical “96.4” readings. How the gizmo got “100.6” with the protective cap on it we’ll never know.

At 10 a.m., I didn’t feel bad at all. I took a couple of Tylenol – just three hours after the Advil – because I “sandwich.” I was taught years ago not to wait four hours until you get bless-ed nearly as bad relief from over the counter analgesics but to instead use two types and take them two or three hours apart. This way before the first pills wear off, you throw a new fighter into the game. About 1 o’clock another dose of Advil will get in my system.

At 12 noon, I took my temp again – with the cap removed – I was a “99.6. ” I took three readings. So, as my temps have moved up three degrees in as many hours, I am not worried. The biggest thing is to stay in control. If you dare lose control, you’ll panic and make poor decisions or worse. So now you make a plan, whichever way the afternoon goes, and you’ll best be whether you win, lose, or cry. Took a different nausea drug --Zofran

Going to get tested is nuts. There are three things that happen. If I got tested this afternoon and the test came back negative, here’s what it would really entail.

* * *


* -- The test, in all likelihood, would show negative but that’s only at a very specific time on the day your nose was swabbed. I promise, you could become a victim of the coronavirus by catching it after a negative test. That’s true all over the world. All the test does is read the nasal swab. There is no vaccine that can be given, nor any preventative meds. With a pandemic ready to rage, getting tested when you feel fine is selfish, time consuming, and, in honesty, means absolutely nothing.

* -- Secondly, for you to be tested, that means the nurse – or whomever – has to ‘gown up’ in protective gear, use a new face mask that we are told are in short supply, and the entire exercise just adds to the hospital or clinic’s waste. To ask a nurse to stop whatever task she is doing to give you a very false peace-of-mind is goofy. You are interested in tomorrow, I understand that with the kids racing around, but be a realist and help in the fight. Everybody in every house should wash their hands with warm water and good soap at least four times a day and bravo to those who demand more times than that. Guard your castle so that no one, your child’s best friend, your preacher, or your mother-in-law unknowing brings the disease inside your house. Allow no visitors whatsoever.

* -- Lastly, the worst part of the test. All the test measures is that no coronavirus was found on one specific day at one specific hour. Your chances of coming in contact with the infection are actually greater in the hospital’s areas because a bunch of people need testing and one, or maybe three or four in the waiting area, will test for the disease and you might have sat beside ‘positive’ for all you know. But the biggest threat is that many who have tested negative believe this is a “get out of jail free” and that is simply not true. Don’t dare believe “because I tested negative” that the highly rampant COVID-19 could give a rip. The infections in the U.S. are just ramping up. The gullible are our country’s worst nightmare. Continue extreme measures.

* * *

2 pm – I still feel fine. No further symptoms. I can breathe very easily. Temp holding at 98.6 … but, remember, I’ve got a load of “fever reducers” on board.

4 pm – I haven’t changed. Temp reads 98.5. I have sneezed once all day and believe my lungs are clear – breathing is even. Took a couple of Tylenol.

6 pm – Temp is 96.5. No symptoms remain. I just had a health-glitch … is the only way to explain why I started the day feeling crummy.

8 pm – Everything is normal. Temp is 98.6. Go figure!

10 pm – Ditto!

* * *

Unfortunately, everywhere else is not normal. Continue to practice extreme measures until we get the “all clear.” At 8 o’clock last night, the United States has reportedly gained 18,002 cases in the last 24 hours, the total now up to 43,774. Deaths doubled the same 24 hours, jumping to 546 in America after a Sunday count added 235 dead to America’s heartbreak. Be wary. Pray.

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