What I Learned from Getting COVID

by James Lange, CPA/Attorney

It was December 5, 2021, and I was experiencing mild cold symptoms. We were expecting overnight company so, just to be safe, I did a COVID home test. To say I was shocked when I tested positive is an understatement.

I’ve had two shots and the booster, but like the doc said, those keep you out of the hospital and reduce symptoms, but breakthrough cases still happen. Many sources mentioned that there were people who had mild symptoms and didn’t learn they had had COVID until much later. As a result, they exposed more people to the virus than they would have if they had known earlier.

We purchased the only brand of home test kits that were available at the drugstore. Of course, we postponed our overnight visitor’s stay. But I wasn’t confident of the results until I got the results from the PCR test.

Takeaway #1: Stock home test kits and test yourself and/or a loved one if one of you seems to be having cold symptoms—even if you think the chances are remote that you have COVID.

Do a bit of research, find a test kit brand that has good reviews, and order them in advance to have on hand. My wife, Cindy tested negative with the home test kit, but also seemed to be having some symptoms. We immediately quarantined from each other and the rest of the world. Odd to be communicating via email with your spouse in the same house!
She subsequently took a PCR test and tested negative again, but those results take three to four days to come back. She never developed COVID.

Takeaway #2: The more accurate PCR test will not give you quick results.

I have been very careful about staying safe from COVID. I likely got it from a colleague who was near me while helping with our webinars. Other than Cindy, he is the only person I have had a lot of contact with. He had a slight cough, and I made the huge mistake of not asking him to leave or at a minimum, requiring him to wear a mask. At the time, I was concerned about catching a cold from him.

The fact that I have given away 50,000 masks to nonprofits, family, clients, and friends indicates the level of my concern for preventing transmission, but it didn’t help. All it takes is one misstep.

Takeaway #3: The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. You can’t let up even once, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received the booster.

From the research I’ve done over the course of the pandemic, it seemed that not only were monoclonal antibodies a good idea to get after a positive test result, but the faster you get them, the better. So, after the home kit results, I wanted to get monoclonal antibodies as soon as possible. While at the medical facility receiving treatment, I did ask for and received a PCR test. The results of my PCR test came back positive. So, I had the official diagnosis of COVID.

Takeaway #4: There are reasons some people shouldn’t get monoclonal antibodies. Do your research, make your decision ahead of time, and find a place where you can get them.

My doctors recommended plenty of fluids, rest, and quarantine. But after that, recommendations differ. Some say to get exercise and spend time outside—alone. I decided to take it easy.

Takeaway #5: Do your own research and decide if complete rest makes sense for you, or if some physical exercise is okay. Arm yourself with knowledge in advance so you don’t have to decide after you are sick.

Doctors and other sources that I trust recommended adding C, D, and zinc. Other sources recommend adding more supplements including melatonin, quercetin, and fish oil. I erred on the side of taking too many supplements rather than too few.

Takeaway #6: Decide ahead of time if you want to take supplements and have them on hand.

I have to say, my immediate reaction after seeing the positive test was shock. After that, I realized how lucky I was to have contracted it now because,

1) I am fully vaccinated and boosted,
2) monoclonal antibodies were available to me less than 24 hours after the positive test, and
3) our daughter, Erica, is safely in Boston, fully vaccinated and boosted.

But luck only goes so far. After I drafted this article, we learned that a colleague of ours died recently from, we suspect, COVID. He was in the ICU and had to be intubated. He was an otherwise healthy man in his 40s, and we anticipated many more years of collaboration. We have had several older clients also succumb to COVID. We have all read the statistics, but when it happens to someone you are close to, especially someone who is young and healthy, it hits home more than the statistics.

At the risk of offending some because I am giving non-expert advice, I encourage you to get vaccinated if you have not already. If you are vaccinated, get your booster unless there is a compelling reason not to. The unvaccinated put their lives at risk and the lives of others. Getting vaccinated likely protects you from some of the more dire consequences of the disease. Among the vaccinated mostly mild breakthrough cases—like mine—are on the rise. As of now, I am completely symptom-free. I expect that because I was fully vaccinated, had the booster, and received the monoclonal antibodies, I will not suffer any long-term problems.

I hope sharing my experience offers some helpful information.