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Still recovering: What I wish I'd known before catching Covid

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jan 2022, 9:28am

Still recovering: What I wish I'd known before catching Covid

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jan 2022, 9:28am

After almost two years of reporting on the pandemic as a health journalist, Felicity Nelson assumed she would be prepared when she caught Covid. 

She was wrong. 

In a post published on Medium, Nelson has written a detailed account of her experience with the virus, spanning from her diagnosis in early December to her continuing struggles with its long-term effects well over a month later. 

An edited version of that account follows. 

First though, here is a list of tips she wishes she'd known both before catching Covid and during the early days of her illness. 

TLDR: The essential tips 

If you think you might be about to get Covid (we all are): 

- Get a thermometer.

- Get a pulse oximeter so you can measure your blood oxygen levels and heart rate.

- Get some Codral and Panadol.

- Educate yourself about when you might need to call an ambulance.

- Think about how you might protect your household by isolating, wearing masks and practising proper hand hygiene.

- Keep a hospital or N95 mask handy during quarantine (paramedics can't enter unless everyone in the house is masked).

- Call your GP when you test positive, even if you don't feel sick.

Covid can strike at the most inconvenient time imaginable, and it can hit far harder than you expect, as Nelson discovered. Even when you're the quintessential low-risk patient. She was 30 years old, double vaccinated and otherwise healthy. 

Thankfully she had a supportive partner by her side, a wonderful GP, and plenty of test cricket to entertain her. 

Felicity is a journalist at GP magazine The Medical Republic. 

Day before the Ashes, no cricket 

December 7, 2021 

Every time my phone pings or rings, I leap onto it like a cat trying to catch a garden lizard. 

We had a positive Covid case at our work Christmas party last Friday and I'm waiting for my result to come in. 

It's now four days after the initial exposure date. I have developed a moderate cold. 

I organised the Christmas party. Some of our staff had not seen each other all year. Some hadn't ever met before. 

After 107 days of lockdown in Sydney, everyone had wanted to come, and the date was heavily negotiated. Long lunch, lawn bowls, brewery, Vic on the Park – it was a tour of Sydney's inner west. 

Covid could have got us anywhere over the past two years but of course, it waited for the only work party of the entire year to strike. 

And, of course, the virus held off on announcing its arrival until I'd already boarded a plane to Melbourne and gone to my friend's 30th birthday (which had been delayed by an entire year due to the pandemic). 

I'm just about to fly home when the "stay put" order arrives. 

NSW Health sends a text at 8.33am on Monday, December 6, alerting me that there had been a positive case at the Marrickville Bowling Club. 

I check the company Slack. Someone posted the news the night before – it was an attendee at our Christmas party who was Covid-positive. 

That makes all 19 attendees casual or close contacts. 

I call my partner. He is on the street outside his Melbourne office and stops there, not even going in to collect his bags. 

We meet in a park, nervous, masked, on the phone to two workplaces trying to co-ordinate a company response, and cancelling everything we have on. 

I email and text every party attendee who isn't at work today and therefore probably isn't checking Slack. Everyone isolates immediately and seeks a PCR test. 

My partner and I then wait two hours in a queue at The Alfred Hospital to get a test. Once we get into the tent, there is limited ventilation and we are waiting with about 30 other people. 

Long wait: check. Limited ventilation: check. A bunch of other people: check. 

We have no idea where to go next. Our flight is this evening, and we have already checked out of the Airbnb. 

My partner calls a friend who is away on holiday for a few days and secures us a house in Footscray. I'm uneasy. What if we're Covid-positive, and will be shedding viral particles all over their house? We catch a train there. 

Twenty-four hours later, I get a call from an unknown number. That's bad. They call if you're positive. 

"The test was inconclusive," they say. "Go get another test." 

I walk in the rain to the Footscray Covid testing clinic. Here we go again. 

We had bought some rapid antigen tests from Woolies a day or so earlier. It took us a while (and some giggling) to realise these tests were being sold at the cigarette counter, not the medicine aisle. A logical location for a health product. 

The Hough rapid antigen test I take later that day comes back negative. 

Day one of the Ashes, Brisbane 

December 8, 2021 

I am waiting for a second PCR result. I lunge at my phone when I wake up. All morning, I stare at it, willing it to ping. 

It's nerve-racking. I'm sore all over, I have a raging headache, I'm curled up on the couch glassy-eyed, the cricket washing over me, playing email ping pong with NSW Health. 

Yesterday, after numerous incoming calls from an individual at NSW Health, I sent over a list of the 19 party attendees' phone numbers. 

NSW Health does five contact tracing interviews with people who were at the Christmas party. They identify three people as close contacts based on who was hanging out with the Covid-positive attendee at the event. Close contacts need to isolate for seven days and get retested at the end, we're told. 

Everyone else is a social contact and doesn't need to do anything unless they develop symptoms. But they can get tested if they want. 

Oh, actually ... hold up. I receive another call from a different contact tracer. NSW Health is now saying everyone at the lunch before we went bowling is a close contact and needs to get tested and isolate. 

It turns out Attendee #1 had caught Covid at a pub trivia night at Oxford Tavern in Petersham, which was linked to 44 Covid cases. 

And Attendee #1 had met up with Attendee #2 on Friday morning. And Attendee #2 just tested positive. So, we are all close contacts now. 

I've now sent three conflicting messages to our staff. 

Oh well, back to the cricket. 

Aaaand ping, a message from "DH-COVID-19" hits my phone at 1.49pm. 

"DH reference number: 39128455. This is the Victorian Department of Health. Dear FELICITY, you have tested positive for Covid-19. We understand this is a difficult time. We can help you get medical assistance and other help you might need. In order for us to provide the best support for you and your family, we need you to answer these questions." 

And so forth. The message tells me to isolate for 10 days from the date of my positive test, meaning I can leave isolation on December 17. 

I call my partner a minute later. He turns full circle, abandoning a trip for takeaway coffees, and comes straight home. Battle stations. 

I call my friend at 1.52pm to tell them the bad news. Everyone at their party on Saturday night needs to get tested. 

I call my mum at 1.55pm, my sister calls at 2.01pm, my other sister calls at 2.15pm, my boss calls at 4.09pm, my brother calls at 5.40pm. 

The Department of Health calls a lot. I get told I need to isolate. 

I tell the authorities I need somewhere else to quarantine as I'm travelling from NSW and I don't have anywhere to stay. Officials on the other end of the line say we can't get into hotel quarantine for 48 hours, and we can't book an Airbnb or a hotel room in which to isolate. 

Essentially, I need to stay in my friend's house, infecting it with Covid. 

Our friends return in four days. It takes, what, three days for Covid particles to die? We are cutting it very fine. They will just have to stay at a hotel for a few days before coming home. 

My RAT comes back negative. 

In the evening I get a call from the Victorian Department of Health for contact tracing. It takes 45 minutes, and the person on the other end doesn't appear to have access to any of my QR code check-ins. 

I'm exhausted. I'm sore all over. I'm bewildered. 

This virus has already plagued me with headaches, muscle pains, compulsive coughing and brain fog, and now I've had to answer the same questions from box-ticking bureaucrats multiple times in one day. 

"MY BIRTHDAY IS XX JANUARY 199X. NO, FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, I DO NOT IDENTIFY AS AN ABORIGINAL OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER. NO, I DO NOT HAVE ANYWHERE TO STAY. I'm more than willing to assist but I DID SPEAK TO A CONTACT TRACER THE FIRST TIME YOU CALLED AND IT TOOK 45 MINUTES TO ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS. I don't want to waste your time. ARE YOU SURE IT'S NECESSARY TO REPEAT THAT CALL ALL OVER AGAIN?" 

When I'm not being harassed by government officials, my mind flicks through the roller deck of Covid statistics I've helpfully stored up during the pandemic: 5.3 million deaths, 0.68 per cent infection fatality rate, three billion vaccines ... 

Trying not to spray Covid particles all over the house we're staying in, I think over those government-supported ads featuring an unfortunate young woman with Covid struggling to breathe in the ICU. Thanks for that visual! 

I push it out of my mind. All the statistics tell me I'm low risk. I'm 30, I'm otherwise healthy, I'll be fine. It's just a moderate cold. I don't even bother to call a GP. What are they going to do? That's what I think – rather foolishly in retrospect. 

My family and friends – and people on Facebook I don't even remember befriending – send despairing "get well" messages and "are you still alive?" inquiries. 

Also, you've got to love being a medical reporter with an interesting disease. Colleagues are like, "Don't die ... but also have you thought about filing a story?" 

Having a highly politicised pandemic illness before everyone else you know is weird. 

Day two of the Ashes, Brisbane 

December 9, 2021 

Through long and detailed phone calls with multiple Department of Justice people that I'm too out-of-it to participate in, my partner discerns that he cannot safely do hotel quarantine. 

The officials can't be confident that the hotels can provide plain food to accommodate for his extreme food intolerances. We can get groceries delivered but there are no cooking facilities, which basically means my partner can't eat properly. 

There are no clothes cleaning facilities either, we're told. We only have three changes of clothes with us, we say. 

"We advise you to bring more changes of clothes with you," the department tells us. 

"We don't have any more changes of clothes with us, we came on a weekend holiday. Can we buy clothes and have them delivered to hotel quarantine?" we ask, politely. 

"Ahh maybe. Not sure. It depends on the hotel policy," they say. "Some people bring washing powder and clean their clothes in the sink." Great. 

"If we found a place to stay privately, how would we get there?" my partner asks. There's a long pause. "Good question," the officials say. "You obviously can't get an Uber or a taxi or a bus." 

"Can we walk there?" my partner asks. "Ah, I guess that would be OK," they say, without much certainty. 

  1. So, we need to find somewhere to stay within walking distance of this house in Footscray.

We can't do Airbnb, as they have a "no quarantine" policy. 

I'm starting to despair at this point. Can we rent a car and drive to a family holiday house seven hours away? No, probably not, as it's across the NSW border. 

My partner eventually finds a house on Stayz that is 500 metres away, which doesn't appear to have a Covid policy. 

The house sleeps 12 and costs $4600 for the 10-day quarantine period, plus about five days (so we're sure the virus is no longer infectious when we leave). I hand over my debit card without a second thought. 

No way I'm putting myself or my partner at the mercy of a state government that has little capacity to satisfy basic human needs, like food and clothing, and will not accept money for services. 

We give our friend's house a thorough deep clean. It smells like a hospital by the time we scamper out. Under an umbrella, masked, we try not to look too much like people escaping from house arrest. 

Not a bad set-up, really. 

Day three of the Ashes, Brisbane 

December 10, 2021 

Days into a Covid-positive brain fog, all I can do is listen to the pitter-patter patter of the cricket commentators. 

I don't understand Test cricket, but I find it to be easy listening. And my partner loves it. 

"Short, full, well off the bat, deep in the crease, pushed into the off side for a single, just pitching outside leg stump ..." 

It all goes way over my head. 

Sometimes the commentators sound more excited than at other times. And I assume something important has happened, but I'm not quite conscious enough to register what it was. I couldn't even tell you which team was batting. I'm that out of it. 

The worst thing that ever happens in cricket is that it rains, and they need to take the afternoon off. 

It takes only a few more hours for my sense of taste and smell to disappear. This morning I was enjoying an Uber Eats cappuccino with every tastebud intact, and now Coke is flavourless bubbly liquid, and Pringles tingle on the tongue without registering any tang at all. 

My brain can still remember what these things should taste like, and is trying to imagine away the gap. My brain is creating phantom flavours, in other words. Disconcerting. 

The nausea makes food quite impossible anyway – one or two bites per meal is all I can manage. 

The 100 per cent loss of taste and smell is the latest "screw you" from a virus that is turning out to be a lot more mischievous than a common cold. 

The strangeness of being completely unable to taste anything is definitely triggering my anxiety (a pre-existing condition which is set off by stress and exhaustion). 

This creeping feeling of dread is not helped by a text message from a service called CarePathway, asking me to complete a survey about my symptoms. 

I'm a little breathless (probably due to anxiety), and my chest hurts from coughing, so I try to communicate that via the survey. The fields aren't quite appropriate for my symptoms, so I approximate something. 

Moments later, another text: "The symptoms you reported indicate that you may need urgent medical assistance. If you have not heard from your care provider in the next 30 minutes or if your symptoms are getting worse, please call triple-0." 

OK, well that's terrifying. And probably quite inaccurate. 

I don't get a call within 30 minutes. I don't get a call at all. 

Later I'm sent a link to the same survey again. I fill it out, with less enthusiasm, and try to approximate my symptoms down so I don't get the scary follow-up robotext. I don't. Phew. That means I'm not dying? 

Day four of the Ashes, Brisbane 

December 11, 2021 

I get another text, asking me to fill out the same survey again. Annoyed, I screenshot and post it to Facebook: "Great job Victoria ... pester me to fill out a survey, tell me I need urgent medical assistance, don't follow up, and then go back to pestering me on day two. Who invented this? Why not just tell people to contact their GP?" 

Time for coffee and cricket. The Macca's coffee is tasteless, even with extra sugar, honey and hazelnut. It creeps me out. 

I'd read that people who recover from Covid find the loss of taste the most upsetting part of the whole experience, but I had no inkling of just how unsettling it would be. 

I flick through a lot of news articles and papers trying to figure out whether I'll have my taste back by Christmas. It usually returns between four weeks and six months. Sometimes never. 

I'm becoming a bit breathless now and it's freaking me out more, which is making my chest constrict, my palms sweat and my head spin. 

Is this a panic attack? It's probably a panic attack. 

  1. Differential diagnosis. Panic attacks look a lot like a bout of Covid-induced breathlessness. How do I tell them apart and decide whether to call an ambulance? My partner helps me work through the logic, develop an action plan and calm down.
  2. You're a fit and healthy 30-year-old who is double vaccinated and has pre-existing anxiety. This is much more likely to be anxiety than genuine breathing difficulty.
  3. If I can breathe easily after calming down, it's probably a panic attack. If this anxiety doesn't get better, call the Beyond Blue hotline: 1800 512 348.
  4. If I still have breathing difficulty after about an hour, call the GP or the Covid hotline.
  5. If it gets worse suddenly, call an ambulance.
  6. Mischief managed.

The dulcet tone of the cricket soothes my soul a little, before a power outage cuts the broadcast. Bummer. 

Later that day, I get a call from my older (cardiologist) brother who sends his love and concern and scolds me for failing to speak to a GP. 

My brother is the first doctor I've spoken to since being infected with Covid. He says everyone should speak to a GP when they get Covid; it doesn't matter how healthy you are or how mild the illness is. 

The GP will devise an action plan for when you need to call an ambulance, he says. 

"OK," I say. I feel a bit cheated. I'm literally a health journalist who has written for a GP magazine for more than five years. Why did no one mention this before? 

"So, like, what are the warning signs that mean we need to call an ambulance?" I ask. 

"Oh, like if someone can't be roused, is non-responsive, delirious, confused, has blue lips, chest pain and is so breathless they can't complete a sentence," he says. 

This is the first bit of useful medical advice I've received from anyone in the four days since I tested positive. 

It dawns on me that I'm not just a public health hazard in hiding, I'm a human being who is sick and, yes, I probably deserve to have access to some kind of individualised medical care which is not being delivered in the form of peppy text messages and pointless surveys. I'm not living on Mars; this is Melbourne and help is available. 

I book a GP appointment with Sia Medical Centre in Footscray for the next day for both my partner and me. He has now tested positive, and is starting to fall very ill. 

That afternoon, my partner gets a call from a Victorian government contact tracer. It becomes fairly obvious to us and the contact tracer that this exercise is pointless, given my partner has been in isolation for four days already and hasn't been in contact with anyone other than me. 

Nevertheless, the contact tracer ploughs on undeterred. Around 15 minutes in, the official tells us he is going to read out some statements "even though they are clearly not relevant to our situation". Why, then, are you reading them out? 

I give my partner a "here we go again" look. He's so out of it, he can't participate in phone calls that go longer than a few minutes without getting distressed from fatigue. 

This evening my partner gets a high fever and headache, and starts being a lot more horizontal than normal. 

Day five, no cricket 

December 12, 2021 

It's 2am. I can't sleep. Have a fever again. 

I get more and more agitated. 

I don't want to disturb my partner and make him do emotional support work in the middle of the night when he's so sick. 

I wake him up gently and say I'm anxious, so I'm going to call the Beyond Blue Covid hotline and try to get some advice. He agrees that's a good idea and listens in. 

A nice lady doing the graveyard shift on the other end of the line agrees with me: I'm probably just a bit anxious because I'm away from home and I've got a virus that has been talked up for two years. 

Maybe I should try doing some things that help me relax, like listening to a podcast or some calming music, she suggests. 

The call lasts 13 minutes. It's all very obvious stuff that I know, but I just can't access the knowledge in that moment of stress. It really helps hearing something validating, knowing someone is there other than my partner who can help if I'm losing my mind. 

Through multiple phone calls with Victorian and NSW health authorities, a dozen text messages and hours of questioning, I do not recall this brilliant service being mentioned once. 

We finally chat to a GP in the daytime hours. It's amazingly helpful. My partner gets codeine-paracetamol for his severe muscle aches and headaches. He's been in so much pain that he's been writhing in bed. It's awful to watch. 

I get anti-nausea meds. I didn't know they were a thing you could get. I haven't been able to eat more than a few mouthfuls in days. 

The GP sends our prescription to the pharmacy downstairs. Our Melbourne friends are all unavailable and we can't wait 24 hours for the pharmacy to organise a delivery, so I arrange for our prescriptions to be delivered by Uber from a pharmacy two minutes' walk away. 

Five annoying phone calls later – I'll spare you the details – I have a prescription on the doorstep. I look at my partner, who can barely talk, has a high fever, can only just wobble his way to the bathroom and has lost the ability to do complex planning and thinking. 

"Gosh, how do people manage this illness in isolation if they don't have a support person?" I wonder. 

Day six, no cricket 

December 13, 2021 

At around midday, my partner turns off the dumb comedy podcast we've been listening to and goes very quiet. 

"I am feeling really dizzy," he whispers. "I think maybe we should call an ambulance." 

He's been hot to the touch for the past 24 hours and his breathing is shallow. He's had pneumonia four times before and been hospitalised for it. I trust he knows when things are dire in the lung capacity department. 

I call triple-0. I've never called this number before in my life. They are lightning fast at triaging. Three minutes and 45 seconds later, I hang up. 

About 10 minutes later, the paramedics knock on the door and ask if I'm wearing a mask. F***. I throw open the door, usher them in and run around the house trying to find one. 

I do find one, but the paramedics hand me an N95 mask to wear instead. They are fabulous. Like superheroes. 

They check my partner's blood oxygen levels, and he's fine. They check his pulse, also fine. They check his temperature and blood pressure and run an ECG. Nothing to worry about. 

They are kind and surprisingly empathetic the whole way through. "This is what Covid looks like. Your stats are all normal, but you did the right thing calling us out. I had Covid recently and I was in bed for days. Just keep drinking water and get lots of rest." 

They turn to me, the carer, and patiently give the same comforting advice. It's a waterfall of relief knowing my partner is OK and isn't going to be stuck on some Covid ward with no one there for him. 

I ask how we will know when to call the ambos again. "Just poke him," they say. "If he doesn't come round after a lot of poking, give us a call." They demonstrate by poking the air and I laugh. OK. That is something simple I can follow. 

In other good news, I can taste again! 

Day seven, no cricket 

December 14, 2021 

The ambulance crew clearly contacted the Covid bureaucrat brigade because we get our worst phone call yet. It's a well-meaning administrative type woman on the other end of the line. 

My partner has been triaged into the "hospital in the home" system for Covid patients, she says. They just need to collect some information so he can receive that support. 

He'll be sent a pulse oximeter and thermometer in the mail. He just needs to take readings and enter the numbers into an app, which will get sent to a GP. 

I look at my partner, who doesn't have the energy to even have this conversation, and wonder how he is meant to download an app and process readings. I offer to speak on his behalf, explaining that he is too weak right now. 

The woman politely tells us that the patient needs to answer the questions for any health services to be provided. He's keen to get additional care, so he lies the phone on his chest and whispers answers into it for the next 48 minutes. 

About 20 questions in, including questions as to my partner's current mental wellbeing, the woman warns us the next question "might be a bit sensitive or upsetting". 

She asks whether he has ever thought about harming himself. I explode, as politely as I can manage: "Can I just ask, why do you need to ask all these questions? My partner is very sick. Is this for a study? How is that relevant to hospital in the home care?" 

We go back and forth for a minute or so before my partner asks me to stop. I am so angry at this point that I have to leave the room. I know it's not the woman's fault. She is just doing her job. But she is stopping someone who is actually ill from resting, and threatening to withhold healthcare. 

In the fog of Covid, we don't record the name of the app we were supposed to download. There is no follow-up mention of the app in the subsequent phone calls. 

My partner gets calls from the same service each day. They don't let him answer with "same as yesterday, except …" – he has to go through the whole interrogation from the top. 

On the third day, he just tells them to stop calling because it's too tiring, and by now it's clear that the support to be provided doesn't particularly resemble a "hospital in the home". 

In better news, I can now taste tea, and someone from work has sent me a huge box of it. 

Meanwhile, our GP doesn't ask for us to use an app to record readings. He just asks how we have been going, and we tell him the stats have been stable. 

He says not to worry too much about the numbers in relation to fever. "If you've got a fever, you've got a fever. Obviously, if you're so overheated that you're delirious, get to hospital." 

Day eight, start of the Adelaide Test 

December 15, 2021 

I'm well enough to feel bored but not well enough to do anything fun. 

CarePathway texts again: "Dear Felicity. You have elected to be managed by your GP. Please call them and make an appointment. The practice is Sia Medical Centre Footscray." 

So, eight days after I tested positive for Covid, and two days before I'm released into the community, I get referred to a local GP. And this service gets state government funding? 

By now, we are calling our local GP every day for a free telehealth appointment. Each call takes less than 10 minutes and gets straight to the point. 

Our doctor is great, assessing both of us at once and quickly sorting symptoms into categories of "something to note and monitor" or "something not to worry about right now". 

He's so great at his job that I decide to send him a thank you gift when I get back to Sydney. GPs really are angels. 

Day nine 

December 16, 2021 

My partner still can't leave bed except to go to the bathroom a few times a day. The drugs are limiting the teeth-chattering fevers and the writhing from muscle aches, but he's still not out of the woods. 

Sometimes he eats lying down because sitting up is too tiring. 

The blinds are drawn in the bedroom. It's hard to sit in a different room because I'm worried about him taking a nasty turn. I'm sending his parents daily symptom updates; he just doesn't have the energy. 

Nursing work is hard work, particularly when you're sick yourself and away from home. I don't mind doing it at all, but it's tiring being so isolated. 

There are 1742 new Covid cases in NSW, and that number keeps rising. 

Day ten, home quarantine ends 

December 17, 2021 

I can go get coffees now! 

And I can confirm, from a comprehensive sampling of West Footscray's coffee shops, that Melbourne coffee is not as good as Sydney coffee. 

I now have enough brain space to binge watch Succession. I couldn't deal with TV drama before; it was too mentally taxing and I couldn't pick up the nuance. 

I run another RAT and it comes back negative. I tweet: "I've killed Covid!" 

Day 16, I'll be home for Christmas! 

December 24, 2021 

My partner finally has just enough energy to fly home. He's been able to go for a short walk to get coffee and back. 

We drop our spare food at a friend's house and get an Uber to Tullamarine. Eighty flights are cancelled that day due to Covid affecting staffing at airports, but thankfully ours isn't among them. 

Nice to be home. 

We throw ourselves down on our very own bed, feeling the sense of safety from being home and enjoying the lack of metal springs in the mattress. 

Our little weekend holiday turned into 21 days away from home. 

20 days, day three of the Melbourne Test 

December 28, 2021 

More than 6000 cases in NSW, 557 people in hospital and one death. The PCR test wait times are now six days long. 

Last night, my brother's wife and brother-in-law tested positive. They spent Christmas with their parents. Oh dear. 

The daily infections graph looks like a tsunami. 

I am fatigued and sneezy and have a chest cough. So, I'm outsourcing coffee acquisition to my partner, who is having a rare burst of energy. The idea of getting out of bed is a bit much today. 

Being home feels slightly safer. I can relax a bit. There are people who can help with things. But I'm dreading the pandemic wave crashing into my friends and family. 

28 days, start of the Sydney Test 

January 5, 2022 

More than 35,000 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours, with 1491 hospitalisations, 119 people in ICU and 32 on ventilators. Three deaths. 

RATs are in short supply. Every pharmacy I go to has a "RATs unavailable" sign out the front. 

PCR tests results are being delayed by up to a week. Pathology labs are shutting their doors to process the mountains of tests. 

Every pharmacy had one of these signs. 

A close friend has tested positive on a RAT. He was in our living room two nights ago for a few hours. It's unclear whether we're close contacts, given he hasn't got a positive PCR test yet and we only spent a few hours together. 

We drive a spare pulse oximeter, thermometer and a bag of Haigh's chocolate to his house and wave through the window before coming straight back home. 

Our Sydney GP has no idea whether we should get tested. NSW Health doesn't have guidance on the matter that he's aware of. 

My partner got a text from the Victorian government saying he shouldn't get tested for Covid within 90 days of being positive, even if he's a close contact. This is because the result may keep coming up positive due to the first infection and doesn't necessary indicate a second. 

Not exactly ideal. 

I didn't get the same text. Confusing. 

My GP prescribes Nasonex for my dripping nose and a Symbicort inhaler for my chest heaviness and breathing issues. Both seem to really help. I swap these out for the Codral I've been taking. 

We chat to our Sydney GP about how to tell our employers that we're still fatigued, congested and brain foggy, and probably can't do a full-time workload. 

It often takes up to 12 weeks to recover from Covid, he says. After eight weeks, it's called long Covid. There are no clinics to help manage long Covid in Sydney yet but the RACGP has a pamphlet with some advice. 

"Really? That's all we have, after two years of living through a global pandemic?" I think. 

He can write a doctor's note that covers two weeks at a time, so we can use that to talk to our employers. My boss (who is probably reading this) is great (: P), offers sympathy and says it will not be a problem. 

My brother's wedding is in three days' time. I pull out my microphone to record my speech, thinking I probably won't be able to go. 

It's raining at the cricket.