A place to share my words and ideas

Turning a negative into a positive

I have been fortunate. Other than unexpected surgery, I have been healthy throughout the pandemic. Not even a cold or a sniffly nose.

Until Christmas.

Then, I came in contact with someone who gave me a virus.

The hard part is, in the middle of a pandemic, one never really knows what kind of virus has been shared.

Did I have COVID?

I went through the stages of denial. My throat wasn’t really that scratchy; and my nose was only a little stuffy. I texted my grandson, who informed me Christmas Eve that he thought he was coming down with a cold, and asked him “How are you feeling?”

He said he was fine, hardly sick anymore. This was three days after Christmas Eve and I thought – OK, he had a slight cold – I’ll be fine.

But I wasn’t. I was really tired, hot and then cold, and my throat was still scratchy. No fever, but also no energy.

Did I have COVID?

By New Year’s Eve, I was ready for bed at 8. Nothing tasted good (ahh-ha! -there’s a COVID sign!) except I have not had a full sense of taste since my surgery in May, when the surgeons had to clip one of my nerves to get into my head. So that wasn’t helpful at all.

New Year’s Day, I looked into getting a PCR test but, of course, nothing was available until Monday, unless I wanted to drive to Green Bay. I didn’t even want to get dressed – I was coughing and felt terrible.

So I waited.

I know it’s weird, but I was really mad at myself. If this was COVID, how the hell did I let it get me? I have been thrice vaccinated, wear my mask out in the wild world, and have limited my contact with other people for two whole years.

I also struggled with the fact that my first thought was COVID instead of a cold. Was I being a big baby? I told my daughter that, even though I hadn’t had a cold since January 2020 (close to my last month of working), I had experienced many colds in my six-plus decades of life. A cold is a cold, is a cold. You won’t die from it (unless you are male – LOL).

And, if it was COVID, I wasn’t going to die from that either.

I prepared myself for the fact that this could be my COVID, the COVID that comes after three shots of the Pfizer vaccine. COVID that feels like a bad cold.

I waited all-day Tuesday with no results. I started feeling better Tuesday evening – just about a week after my first symptoms. I woke up this morning to a message.


I felt like myself today. I went out to my greenhouse to water the plants, I planted seeds for perennials, I cooked and I took a walk in the woods with the dogs. Was this change because of the negative COVID test or the inevitable end to the cold virus?

Freddy and Barney enjoyed our walk today, even though it was still snowing.

I wouldn’t be upset if you think I overreacted. In 2019, I would have never worried that it was anything but a cold. I just would have been pissed at the person who gave me their cold, especially at Christmas.

But the world is a different place now. Some of us don’t get as many colds or the flu since we started wearing masks and social distancing. A sore throat or a cough didn’t send you home from school or work (although it should have – with pay).

And people didn’t end up in the hospital ICU or dead because they caught a cold.

There’s the positive.

I had a cold, but (so far) my husband didn’t catch it and I didn’t give it to anyone else.  My precautions worked to keep viruses away until I let my guard down on Christmas Eve. I feel fortunate, but it hasn’t changed my opinion on getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

And, as hard as it is, staying away from people who aren’t vaccinated.

It is still a very sick place out there, and we all need to take care of ourselves and others. If you are sick, stay home. If you come in contact with people who are not vaccinated (or you don’t know) wear a mask and keep your distance.

That’s not a negative at all. 


2 thoughts on “Turning a negative into a positive

  1. Love your “cold” journey. It’s really rather sad and a bit ironic that every time we sneeze, cough or have a tickle in the back of our throats, the first thing that pops into our heads is COVID. I too made the journey through the “OMG .. do I have It? “ phase of a cold. The thought of it really messed with my mind. I was super careful. Could this be happening to me? Am I the statistic that could die even though I’m vaxed and boosted? Was I getting sicker or is this all in my mind? Then the results “positive” comes and magically I was getting better almost at the sound of that word. This COVID19 stuff sure has changed us just as you wrote. I love your Blog and You. I have read everyone of your posts. Please keep them coming. Your thoughts and words are a light to many of us!

  2. Hit home AGAIN, Penny. RSV hit our family in the fall. My husband was the only one that developed a fever and ended up getting pneumonia and being hospitalized for eight days. We are all full vaccinated, boostered and masking. COVID negative. All of us really good and then a trusted friend came to breakfast with a “cold”. I asked about vaccination and mask. No to both. She tested positive for COVID So hurt, angry, scared and yes, mad. How dare she?!!?!! So now, praying and testing. Also skipping breakfast with friends

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