A few blog readers have suggested to me, privately, that the awful flu I had back in early January might have been Covid-19. But well before I had read their suggestions, that same thought had occurred to me, too, in the early days of the outbreak here in Italy. So this morning I decided to write a post about it, just for the record.
I certainly did have some of the Covid-19 symptoms, namely:
- fatigue (probably my very first symptom)
- sore throat (also an early symptom)
- terrible intestinal woes (ditto as above)
- high fever…a very high fever
- aches, of course
- nasal congestion
- cough (see below)
- and, finally, pneumonia, yes, the interstitial form that is typical of Covid-19
However, it would have been an anomalous case of Covid-19 for the following reasons:
- I didn’t infect anyone. A few days after Xmas, Stefano and I drove up to the city of Padova, in the Veneto region, northern Italy, to pick up my brother-in-law and his family. The following day the four of us drove to the city of Ljubljan, Slovenia, where we spent a very nice, long weekend. This means that we all spent hours inside Stefano’s car, talking and laughing, and breathing the same air. When we returned to Padova, my sister-in-law organized a family dinner party. I had begun feeling a bit tired but of course had absolutely no inkling that I was about to get very sick, otherwise Stefano and I would have left immediately for Florence (we left the following day, and then it all “exploded” within 24 hours). This dinner party therefore took place just before I got REALLY sick. Luckily, nobody got ill, not even the grandmother. Now, we all know by now that Covid-19 is extremely contagious, especially for the elderly. Another point: as you may (or may not!) know, Italians are veeeeeery affectionate, big huggers and kissers, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons why Covid-19 spread so readily here in the beginning (nobody is kissing and hugging now, of course!). After my SMM diagnosis in 2005, I cut back on all the kissing and hugging (explaining WHY to my friends), but when the Xmas holidays come around, it’s hard to pull back….So I had kissed and hugged and been in close contact with at least ten people, possibly more, before I got sick. And what about my husband? We slept together the entire time I was sick. Before, during, and after. He never left my side. In fact, I was so helpless that he stayed at home from work for at least ten days to take care of me. But he didn’t develop even the slightest of sniffles. Okay, perhaps he is one of those asymptomatic folks that we’ve heard so much about on the news, but then every single person that I was in touch with in the 10-14 days before I got sick would have to be asymptomatic, too. Hmmm.
- My cough was never dry. And that’s one big sign of Covid-19.
- My family doctor never mentioned the possibility of my having coronavirus.
In sum, if what I had back in early January was coronavirus, then it must have been a very odd and non-contagious strain.
Can Covid-19 be non-contagious? Well, from all I’ve read about this terrible virus, and I’ve read a lot, that just doesn’t seem likely. I could be wrong, of course. So, as soon as the antibody tests become widely available, I’m going to have one. Boy, it would be such a relief to find out that I actually have those antibodies AND that I survived Covid-19 (AT HOME, to boot!), in spite of my compromised immune system and my asthma.
But, feet back on the ground, I am almost 100% certain that my early January illness, as bad as it was, had nothing to do with coronavirus. For me, therefore, the case is closed, and, at this point, it would be useless to speculate any further until I have that antibody test. But I would like to thank my blog readers for their interest and concern, which got me thinking…
Finally, and obviously: as soon as I have any test results, I’ll post them. It won’t be for a while, for sure, so don’t hold your breath.
P.S. I thought I’d add the photos of 1. a swallowtail butterfly drinking nectar from my pansies, and 2. a tulip from my front yard. These are a couple of weeks old, but my black tulips are still blooming….