A Positive COVID Test Feels Like Wearing a Scarlet Letter


It all started with a runny nose that I didn’t think much of because it lasted less than 48 hours. About 24 hours later, my dinner tasted boring. The next night, I could not taste the Thai food that we ordered for dinner or smell the lavender oil I use before bed.

I scheduled my COVID test for the next morning, which came back ‘Detected’ three days later. 

The first week of COVID, I never ran a fever (I took my temperature twice per day) or had any symptoms other than being tired and fatigued. I did not think much of being fatigued because I have a chronic illness, and this is a common symptom for me.

Within days, my husband came down with common cold symptoms; sneezing, runny nose, and coughing; he never lost his taste or smell and had no fever. He also had a positive COVID test. 

We both slept almost ten hours per night and still felt exhausted. As we moved into the later part of COVID, we both had a heartburn type of tightness and heaviness in our chests with some coughing. Those were our only consistent symptoms; everything else was inconsistent such as loss of taste and smell and cold symptoms.  

For some reason, having a positive COVID test felt shameful and I felt like I should have been wearing a scarlet letter! It seems odd to have this feeling when being diagnosed with a disease. We have done everything right, such as wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and washing our hands consistently, as well as avoiding most places other than to buy groceries, and my husband going to work. It made me realize that anyone can get COVID and from anywhere or anyone. It doesn’t matter how careful you are or that you take all the precautions. 

I look healthy and I didn’t exhibit a majority of the COVID symptoms, so you wouldn’t have known I had a positive COVID test. I also live with a chronic illness that will never go away, but you wouldn’t know because you can’t see the symptoms of that either. Please do not assume that everyone in your extended family, friends, or coworkers are safe to be around just because they look healthy and you don’t see symptoms.

We are lucky and blessed to have had basic symptoms and my heart goes out to all the people hospitalized and those who have lost their lives or family members to this pandemic.

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