Three times over the last six months, my sinuses have been explored by Q-Tips and three times, the results have been negative. Time for joy. Just the same, I think Covid has attacked my body and is still circulating within me. Evidence? Yes, I have symptoms.
- Complete unrelenting exhaustion that lasted for weeks.
- Sharp pain in one lung that disappeared only to emerge sporadically.
- Sudden inexplicable surge in my blood pressure from stable 130s up to 170, taking me to the emergency room, and now controlled by low dosage meds.
- Brain fog that included staring for long periods of time, forgetting words and conversations and simple inability for my mental faculty to work. Note the long hiatus from this blog.
- Heat that sometimes translates into fever. I’ve been told that my thermostat is broken but I experience heat rising from my side up to my armpit. I rest with ice packs. The heat, like the pain in the lung, the malaise, the high blood pressure and the mental vacancy comes and goes.
Assuming that the virus has invaded my body, the next question has to be: what is the prevalence of false negatives in the covid test world?
If you ask Elon Musk, the rate of false negatives is high – it’s a fifty-fifty chance. But the test manufacturers beg to disagree – reporting an 85 to 95% accuracy. And experts note that the type of test matters. The FDA says that the rapid antigen tests have both a higher accuracy for detecting the virus and a higher false negative rate. The second type of test, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) searches for genetic remains of Covid, and the CDC claims its accuracy is near perfect.
What to do? The medical pros say the best work-around is to take both tests, multiple times. That route is available to Elon Musk but for the huge swath of everyday people, it is a ridiculous impossibility.
I’m surviving with my symptoms. I am beginning to thrive. Engaging my brain is the surest indicator of my health. Too many of us do not survive. I cannot bear to enter and comment of the ignorant world of conspiracy theorists. What I’ve come to believe is that we are on our own. And the virus is everywhere. It’s in the air as we leave the bubble of our home and walk to our cars. It’s in the corridors of every building – large, small and in between – that pumps artificial air through a network of vents. Covid has permeated the huge expanse of civilized America and is now floating along corn fields, next to dairy cows, pulsating in meat processing plants, drifting between palm fronds – it’s in the air and air is everywhere.
At this point, survival is key. Whether you’ve tested positive or negative, if you’re taking in or expelling air, only time and prevention can help. Wear a mask. Stay in your bubble. Love your neighbor.