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    • I was in bed falling asleep when all of a sudden my throat felt irritated. I normally would just get up and grab a drink of water and then go back to bed. But I was falling asleep and didn’t want to get out of bed. A few minutes later, the scratchiness resulted in a muffled cough that was still loud enough to freak me out. Between Cake, podcasts, online newspapers and Twitter, and daily conversations at work, I’m inundated with all things COVID-19. After work, I had stopped at a Walgreens to pick up a few groceries, and immediately upon pulling into the parking lot I had this palpable feeling of “Should I go in? What if the place or the people there are infected?” I shook off the feeling and went in, but you can’t help checking the paper goods aisle, even though you know the toilet paper 🧻 fort apocalypse has left those aisles empty unless you show up between 7am when they restock the shelves and 7:20am when they sell out. So lying in bed and hearing that cough tonight was a paranoid’s canary in the coal mine. I knew I wasn’t going to fall asleep unless I did something. A long decontamination shower helped ease some of my concerns. Too wired to fall asleep and the scratchiness was returning to my throat. A cocktail of ginger ale with some coconut water seemed to help. I stayed downstairs for an hour to make sure my spouse had fallen asleep after my coughing surprise: this tweet I received from yesterday was on my mind.

      Maybe me and Umar are the only one’s feeling increasingly paranoid. But I doubt it.

    • Nope, your not the only one. We got from Europe 10 days ago and have been in voluntary isolation since. This afternoon my throat glands are a bit swollen, it could just be a cold as I've had a minor sniff for a few days, or it could be worse.

    • Same here. I'm constantly aware of my throat - and it doesn't help that this is the time of the year where I typically have some minor problems due to allergies.

      Last week, I started gargling with salt water several times per day. I don't expect this to help against COVID-19, but it might prevent symptoms due to completely unrelated issues.

    • Agreed. I get bad seasonal allergies and usually am miserable. But with the virus "raging" every slight cough, sore throat etc leads me to panic.

      SMH at myself but glad to know I am not alone!

    • @StephenL

      Are you running a fever?? Are you feeling like you have the flu? Are you short of breath?

      If so, you should be tested for Corona virus, but it MAY be your local county health department that determines if you can get one -

      I would suggest you call your family doctor and get their recommendations. I would also suggest you consider self isolation in your garage away from your family. Do you all share the same keyboards???

    • Amacbean texted me yesterday after we returned from Costa Rica, saying she has a dry cough and sore throat. My symptom radar is set to super high alert so I keep wondering about everything I feel — is that a slight headache, scratchy throat, or am I imagining?

    • Are you running a fever?? Are you feeling like you have the flu? Are you short of breath?

      No to all of your questions. And it’s been twelve hours and I haven’t coughed again. But it does mess with your mind. Am I feeling abnormally warm because I’m coming down with something or do I just need to remove this down comforter that I’ve wrapped coon-like around me on the couch? I joke about this, but it is scary stuff. I was listening to a podcast on the virus yesterday and they were saying that even if the risk of dying is low for your age bracket, you’re not out of the woods: 15% of the people need hospitalization and can end up with seriously damaged lungs. I’ve also been told for whatever statistics you read about the US, you should multiply by 30 or 40 to get the real number if we were able to test more rigorously.

    • I have allergies throughout the entire year so when I found out a dry cough was a potential warning sign for the virus I thought now I am going to constantly question my personal threat level (and my threat to others) Glad to hear you are not running a fever Stephen. Stay healthy!!

    • I've been thinking about family situations where the whole family shares one keyboard lately - wondering if that might be a contributing factor in some localities.

      @StephenL Sounds like you are not ill. Unfortunately, that is not the same as "not positive" -

      In the US you will not be tested at this time I suspect.

      No sleeping in the garage for you - I sound like a soup Nazi now! 😷

    • No sleeping in the garage for you - I sound like a soup Nazi now!

      No, you are an incredibly thoughtful human being and I appreciate your concern about my health and well being. I owe you a 🍺 if our paths ever cross in the non-digital world.

    • This evening I came home after dark and learned that our dishwasher was busted beyond repair. So off we went to a hardware store to buy a new one. The drive there felt like I was living in a ghost town, passing empty parking lots, for most of the restaurants, as well as for a local gym that normally would be packed. When we arrived, we easily got a parking space close to the hardware store entrance: it was raining ☔️ tonight, which I suppose is an extraneous detail for this road trip. The eerie deserted feeling continued when we got inside. Unloaded skids of material were in many of the aisles and it felt like we had the store to ourselves. We found out after we started talking to a sales associate that the store was closing in ten minutes: they cut their closing time from 10pm to 8pm a couple days ago. As I write this, I’ve just learned that the entire state of California is on lockdown, which makes reduced shopping hours seem like a petty inconvenience and I feel like we’re moving in slow motion with the near inevitability of a state lockdown here a forgone conclusion. Our sale is completed quickly—it’s a dishwasher, not an iPhone, FFS—and I realize the new protocol of social distancing. When the delivery manager places a pen 🖊 over the contract to sign, I push it almost disgustedly with my own pen, shocked that he would think I would risk my health on his community cesspool of contagion, but then just as quickly I’m embarrassed at my reaction. He seems to take it in stride and agrees with my prudent use of bringing my own “protection.” He then made a remark that it was too late to schedule delivery for tomorrow, that they had already contacted their appliance delivery company and told them there were no deliveries tomorrow. Let that sink in. I live in a fairly densely populated suburban area. It’s a big store. And they have zero home deliveries scheduled for tomorrow. We finally pay, leave the store, and drive back the way we came through our ghost town. It’s amazing how quickly the new normal has become. Remember what life was like two weeks ago? Wish me luck in getting a good night’s sleep tonight.

    • There was a flu going around while the COVID19 was still in its infancy in Malaysia. I had a sore throat and a cough, but other than that no other symptoms. I also didn't come in contact with anybody who had the virus, so I was relatively confident that I didn't have it. I'm fully recovered now.

      I think being aware of the symptoms is important, because despite the fact that COVID19 is spreading at an alarming rate, the common cold still exists as well, so understandably some people will panic the moment they have a runny nose. Considering how difficult it might be to get tested, and how strained the healthcare services are in various countries, self-isolation should always be the first step if you have any flu-like symptoms. If the symptoms match the symptoms of COVID19, then you could try and get tested or just continue self-isolation if you feel up to it.

    • I was reflecting, drowsing, last night before I fell asleep, and it dawned on me that I need to warn my friends, family and children that there is effectively no health care for injuries or other minor illnesses unlike in a previous era last month.
      Even health problems like heart attacks or strokes almost, so we need to be even more careful than last year. I would not want to have to go to a health care facility for a sprained ankle, or a cut finger, or regular garden variety flu.


      I am not saying older patients should avoid seriously needed hospital care, but I would be concerned about living in that millieu for any extended time period.

      Unfortunately the older we get, the more likely we may need acute medical care.

      But even young people get “minor injuries” that require setting, casting, suturing, treatments, but I think right now one avoids a hospital for everything but the most mortal risks. It pains me greatly to say that.

      My son has recently taken up woodworking, and is busiily learning to hand sharpen plane blades which is cool, but he needs to be even more careful now with power tools....

    • Day 3, Friday night to Saturday morning. I wake up at four o’clock in the morning, make a pit stop, get back in bed and then attempt to fall back asleep. Counting sheep has never worked for me — I eventually became a math teacher so perhaps the counting part was too exciting for me. But I have done meditation before, so I fall into the rhythm of focusing on my breathing. But now I notice that breathing is a little uncomfortable on the exhale. Welcome back my dear little friend, paranoia-induced insomnia. I lie in bed for awhile, pondering the recently read article about someone who incurred over $30,000 in debt due to their treatment. Do I need to self isolate? I still don’t have a temperature, I haven’t coughed again, but I was talking on Friday about ten times as much as my norm for a week day. It could also be some aggravation from going outside for a half hour in winter: I spent the day at home (planned) and running around chasing a soccer ball ⚽️ outside for a half hour (unplanned) with no feelings of out of breath other than those expected from an out of shape middle aged writer. I get up, go to my study and read. An hour passes by, more screen time on my phone than actual print reading but I’m at least less wired. I’m back in bed, and the next thing I hear is a phone conversation that’s woken me from whatever additional sleep I captured. I look at my new alarm clock—H/t to @Vilen for the recommendation, it’s still working, btw—and the clock swears that it’s after nine thirty. I SLEPT LATE. In spite of the craziness of the past several days, I feel normal again. No coughing at all, no temperature, no breathing challenges whatsoever. I’m not bragging, but instead I feel fortunate: so many people are having a tough time right now and I’m not. As I write this on Saturday evening, there’s still plenty to freak out about. And I’m certain new things to freak out about are on the horizon. This morning, we got an order to shelter in place starting on Monday, and then a few hours later the chicken shit politician tweeted that “most businesses can remain open.” You pivot to one reality and then another one makes you pivot again, sometimes before you even adjusted to the prior change. My advice, FWIW, is to spend as much time as you can talking to other human beings from a safe distance. And fuck this anti-septic impersonal term of “social distancing.” It sounds as if we’re all under suspicion of giving each other the plague. “Keeping a safe distance,” by contrast, implies that we’re in this together and looking out for each other by keeping a safe distance. Safe for you. Safe for me. I’m going to bed now and this will be my last entry of this freak out journey. Even if tonight is a relapse, which it won’t be, I’ve shared enough of my journey that hopefully those going through similar stress are reassured that it’s normal and that the paranoia can go away. If I end up getting the virus in the future, I’ll deal with it as best I can like everyone else (said bravely, and believing this to be true.) And yes, I’m washing my hands and keeping them off of my face.

    • When your lungs begin to fill up with thick, viscous fluid, breathing gets much much harder, very quickly..... And the effort of breathing goes up asymptotically.......

      We've been seeing a lot of asymptotic graphs lately, haven't we? 😟

    • New Zealand recently introduced local Covid-19 testing stations with the nearest one being only a mile away, so seeing as we had recently arrived home after a year in Europe and particularly had been in London and transited through Singapore in the previous 2 weeks we went down and got tested on Saturday morning.

      We'd both had mild flu like symptoms, with some coughing and had raised difficulty breathing. This wasn't entirely unexpected as both of us are mild asthmatics and NZ air seems to aggravate us more than when overseas and we were both a bit run-down, but you never know and under the current environment we wanted to be sure.

      On Monday we got the results that our test were negative so that was a huge sigh of relief.

    • I hate to be negative, but I humbly disagree

      If you haven't really been ill, and you were both positive, then you might assume to be immune in a few more days..

      Just trying to think more encouraging, more positive, healthy thoughts....

      I am glad you are both remaining untouched by the pandemic to date.

    • I guess my disagreement to your disagreement is that every day without the virus is one day closer to a vaccine, and to a flattened phase where getting the virus won’t mean having to deal with an overwhelmed hospital system. So I think getting a negative test result is something worth celebrating.

      But I do agree that it would be foolish to think that a negative test today means that you’re immune to getting COVID-19 in the future.

    • I didn't want my last post to be thought insensitive - I would very very strongly prefer no one would contract the Corona virus - BUT apparently a great many will and do with really very minimal symptoms, some with a flu like illness that passes, and some with more severe respratory distress syndrome, and a few ( percentage wise ) pass on from this mortal coil.

      If one KNEW ( or could accurately predict ) that I would have a very mild illness, then having the disease and becoming immune lets me carry on my life at no risk to other folks at some point.

      If you are already positive, you have no neeed for a vaccine, or therapy, you will soon be no risk to the uninfected, nor will you be requiring hospital assests for your care.....

      That is the situation of most of the survivors of the illness. Their serum plasma will be a real positive valuable asset for the ill at some point in the near future.

      So yes, if I had been ill, and THEN recovered and tested postive, I would celebrate and not be too upset - as long as I had been careful while ill that I didn't spread the illness about unknowingly. You are correct, a negative test does not necessarily mean you are not in the process of falling ill.

      I say again, I truly wish no one was experiencing this pandemic. If wishes were horses, everyone would ride.

      That's all I was saying - in kind of a wry voice.... 🙁