5 weird things nobody told me about having COVID.

Getting COVID for the first time in March 2023 is embarrassing, sad and deeply uninteresting. Nobody cares about your symptoms. 

And if anyone is even reading this, it’s a miracle because most people stopped clicking on stories about COVID in mid 2021.

I know I did. But in the interests of making my COVID experience into content and salvaging something out of the sad rubble of my immune system, here are my revelations about what it’s like to be one of the last people on earth to get COVID.


There are two dumb things I said that caused me to get COVID. Last Monday, I was in a car with some co-workers, asking one of them, "So, how was your COVID?". This has become my go-to conversation starter. It never gets old. Usually people laugh and they always have a story to tell, either about their experience having COVID or their experience during COVID. It opens people up, I find. 

But in this case, it was a specific question because this co-worker had only recently recovered from her second bout.

We got talking about it and as is the way of these chats; she asked if I’d had it. Until last week, I have always half dreaded and half enjoyed this point in the conversation. Because part of me felt a tiny bit pleased with myself for getting through three years of a pandemic unscathed. The rest of me always knew that the tiny bit of smug would eventually bite me in the arse. 36 hours later, I had COVID.

The other dumb thing I said a few times over the past few weeks (unrelated to COVID) was "I just want to be by myself for a few days." Idiot.


For the first 36 hours, I just kept whimpering to myself, "Oh my god, I’m so sick" in a voice so pathetic it made in cringe inside the whimpering. Everything hurt SO MUCH. Mostly every muscle and joint but also my teeth hurt and how is that even possible. I couldn’t get comfortable. My fever wouldn’t break. Painkillers laughed at me, they may as well have been Tic Tacs (note: they were not Tic Tacs, they were medicine and please see your doctor if pain persists etc etc).


Seeing the two lines on the RAT test, after doing maybe hundreds of RATs in the last three years was slightly exciting, I won’t lie. It made me feel better about how utterly vile I felt because this wasn’t a normal cold or flu, this was COVID. 

"Oh, this is my COVID," I thought, with some small satisfaction. "My COVID is finally here."

Very few people were interested in my symptoms, although I did get some concerned texts from the other people in my life (who I won’t name for fear of jinxing them too) who haven’t had COVID yet either. They were definitely the highest on the leaderboard of people who wanted to make sympathetic noises at me down the phone. 

As soon as those two lines came up on the RAT, I lost all desire to make content or post on social media which is in and of itself the most alarming symptom and should have sent me straight to hospital (just kidding, emergency workers, I know that posting fewer stupid videos of myself is not on the list of 'severe COVID symptoms' but it SHOULD BE, MAYBE?).

I called my doctor to try and get anti-virals but I didn’t qualify.

Asking me a few questions about my asthma, she quickly established that I was a "non-compliant asthmatic" and not a "moderate to severe one". This means I am lax about having my preventative medication which is difficult to disprove mostly because it’s true.

So I battled on like the hero I am.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.



Okay, this wasn’t in the brochure. Not even the worst of my peri-menopause caused me to wake up drenched every hour like this. I had water marks on my pillow and had to get new towels all through the night. It’s like all the water in my body was trying to get out through my pores.


I’d heard about the COVID cough but I hadn’t heard about the part where you cough so much you wee your pants and have to sit on the toilet every time a fit hits. Ordering Poise pads from Woolies as part of my sad-sack DIY home-delivery care package was really not on my bucket list but here we are.


On day four, the worst of my physical symptoms were abating. My fever had passed, the pain in my muscles and joints was gone, the coughing fits were less frequent so I could ease upon the Poise, the night sweats were under control, and my nose wasn’t blocked anymore. Things were looking up.

Except for my spirits which were looking down. Oh, the weeping. I cried to my husband. I cried to my friends in text messages. I felt lonely and miserable and isolated and I couldn’t believe how many people had to isolate for two weeks back when that was a thing.

As I write this, it’s day seven. Or eight. I’m not sure. It’s a bit blurry. I’m slowly feeling better although everyone keeps warning me not to push too hard which is sensible and yet annoying to hear.

I’m not exercising yet. I think I’ll leave it another week to be safe. Tomorrow maybe I’ll put on some makeup though, that will cheer me up. Hell, I might even make some content. Then I’ll know I’m really getting better. 

Feature Image: Supplied

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