Life in the Time of Corona

After two years, I finally tested positive for Covid. Here's what I did when I had to stay outside.

It was raining on the first day of my quarantine. It was the fourth day of Spring break, and I was planning to go to the cinema with a friend. I wasn’t feeling too well, however; I had a headache and my brain felt like porridge, and I was oh-so tired. I decided to do a Covid home test, and after months of dreading, my fear of contracting the virus finally became reality: it came back positive. Want to know what I was up to last week, at home? Read on!

Tuesday morning: I felt quite bad. Since I’m a teacher, I wasn’t too alarmed though; I always crash during the holidays. I work far too hard at school (or so I’m told – I still think that all the effort I put in is the bare minimum that is demanded of me) and don’t allow myself to get ill, so I just keep going, keep working, keep running and keep teaching. Whenever the holidays start, I just sleep a lot. So when I decided to do a home test before going to the cinema, I half-expected nothing would be the matter. It would just be the teacher’s curse. However, after only two minutes, there was this pink link that should not have been there.

The next thirty minutes flew by. I texted my boyfriend, I called the friend I had been out for dinner with the night before, I called my mum (she was in the store and couldn’t quite hear me; I had to practically shout ‘I’ve got Covid’ three times before she understood – I blame my sore throat on that, rather than the virus itself), I called my boyfriend, who didn’t pick up, called the friend I was supposed to go to the cinema with, called some more friends, and called my supervisor at school, whom I had spoken at school, last Saturday.

This is what the inside of my brain must have looked like

(That’s because the weather was even worse a couple of days prior to my testing positive. There was a major storm, and the school was heavily damaged. My own classroom was a complete disaster. The ceiling had fallen to the floor, and there was water everywhere. The tables and chairs were still kind of alright, but all the books and all the papers that were lying around (I’m a quite chaotic person) were completely gone. I had never seen anything like that before, and I didn’t even know how to respond.)

My head felt like my storm-battered classroom that Tuesday. It felt like the one thing I can always rely on had given up. I didn’t give up on it, though. I still felt like I had to keep going like I always do. I did some chores, wanted to prepare dinner, until my boyfriend (whose home test had just come back negative) told me I should just go to bed for he would cook dinner. I did. I slept for a while, had dinner, read a little, and went back to bed. Tomorrow would be better.

Wednesday morning: I felt worse than the day before. I took a shower, put on my tracksuit (which also doubles as a home suit), and started doing some chores. My brain protested, and so did my boyfriend. I told him I couldn’t get ill, I wasn’t allowed to, and I got so angry at myself for having such a weak body. He told me I had to stop being such a bad Dobby and just accept that I wasn’t feeling too well. I finally gave in.

This is what my brain felt like: a pile of colours and shapes

Then next days were spent as follows: I slept a lot drank a lot ate a lot read a lot played some games watched my boyfriend play some games (and I tried to help him but it distracted him so the Zombies ended up eathing his brains) read some more finished one book started on another went to the bathroom went back to bed drank some more watched a really dreadful series on Netflix which I hated but actually watching stupid stuff is quite fun because you can shout at the tv and feel superior also reading books is so much better even though I was hardly able to remember which books I was reading it was all a blur really but sleep was good

(I also went outside for a bit. Dressed in my bathrobe, I stood on the pavement with my bare feet, closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and pretended that for a short while, everything was ok. My brain felt a little less clouded, the porridge inside my head became less stodgy, and I felt like I was feeling better. After exactly one minute and twenty-three seconds, however, my feet started to hurt, because it was still rather cold outside. The storm had passed over, and the skies were light grey instead of black, but it wasn’t very warm yet.)

Then I went back to my second book which I finished but thankfully there’s always more books so I continued reading a fun fairy tale book I started a month ago but it was quite short so I finished my third book as well after a while then I slept a bit drank a lot ate some food (my boyfriend is so sweet because he got nice food such as avocados and excellent bread and green apples (although he hates them) and grapefruit) slept some more slowly walked around the house got a clean glass and filled it with a fruit drink and finished it then went back to bed and started reading book number four man the only thing I was doing was reading and sleeping and if I was being really honest I didn’t really mind it because for once I actually admitted to myself I wasn’t feeling perfect but it was ok this way I could maybe actually recharge for a change

I had no idea relaxing was this much fun. I never allow myself to sit down and do nothing; there’s always something that needs to be done, always something that is demanded of me. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Reading four books in a week was fine. Sleeping a lot was accepted, too. Not doing anything at all was all I needed, wanted, and did. And I loved it. My body slowly started feeling less foreign, my brain cleared up, and I felt like myself, even though I didn’t quite remember what that was like.

Maybe getting ill was my body’s way of telling me that I don’t have to be perfect, that it’s ok to just sit back from time to time. That I shouldn’t work too hard, that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, that people love me regardless of my ability to do twelve things at the same time. Maybe I should accept the part of myself that needs some rest from time to time. Maybe I should stop calling myself a bad Dobby all the time, and tell myself I’m a good Elke. I might even start believing it.

This morning, I was allowed to go outside again. I made sure I was wearing my prettiest clothes (actually, put on clothes, period, after stumbling around at home in a bathrobe for five days), put on my make-up, and attempted to make my hair look perfect, which didn’t go well, because like myself, my hair had also started relaxing, and it was quite hard to get it back in shape again. I ventured outside and had to close my eyes to adjust to the light. The sun was shining brightly, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

What did you do when you had to quarantine? Which books would you like to read if there’s nothing else you can do but open a book? When was the last time you slept for days? Please let me know your Covid survival stories! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book-related posts!

This is what my brain feels like now


    1. Well, I hope you’ll manage to keep it that way! Thankfully I have (almost) fully recovered, but I will take care of myself a bit more from now on.


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