On Saturday, October 2nd, 2021, I tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling sick for a couple days. Here’s my experience with living with the virus for a week.

My house layout is somewhat strange (welcome to Pittsburgh!), so the 3rd floor is roughly the size of a large bedroom, however it is separated into two rooms and has a bathroom.  These factors mean that I was able to sleep, play games, microwave food, and shower all in the same 20 x 15 area for my mandated 7 day quarantine, with as little human contact as possible. 

The view from 3rd floor staircase, which has a door at the bottom. Left to right: bedroom, media room, bathroom.

Here’s what a typical day would look like for me: The alarm clock’s chirp marks 7:00 instead of 6:15, as I slowly get out of bed. Instead of jeans and plaid, my outfits now are sweatpants and t-shirts.  After consuming the morning meal, it’s time for a change in scenery. I move from the media room recliner to my office chair. From 8:00-2:55 I’m in and out of google meets, completing task after task. 

My view from 8-3, Monday thru Friday.

As many know, the school issued Chromebooks aren’t cut out for much more than quick google searches and small documents. As such, synchronous remote learning on these computers is like trying to move a pallet of bricks with a motorcycle. 

My evenings are filled with Xbox and TV shows, with the occasional bit of schoolwork. Luckily I have enough interests that I rarely got bored. Then, at 10:30, I go back into the bedroom to sleep.

My media room, where I spent near all of my time when I wasn’t doing school or sleeping.

For those of you wondering what exactly COVID-19 feels like, it’s not much different than a common cold or flu, with a couple big differences, one being fatigue. You can imagine my shock when I had to catch my breath after walking up a few stairs. For me, however, I’ve found that the symptoms go away after only a couple days. The other difference, and quite a disorienting one, is the loss of taste and smell. You don’t realize how much you use those senses to interact with the world until you can’t. Even my favorite meals, such as KFC chicken, turned from an extremely enjoyable meal to a borderline uncomfortable experience. Without the taste it’s just mashing up food in your mouth.

I know for most that the isolation would drive them batty (see: last school year), however personally I find that solitude, in small doses, is truly wonderful for the mind and soul.

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