This has been a brutal week for me and my spring allergies. BRU. TAL. The sniffles! The sneezing! The perpetually runny nose! Those uncomfortable bits of dry skin that build up where one’s nostrils meet the upper lip, on account of all the nose-blowing caused by the sniffles and congestion….
Oh, was that a bit TMI? #SorryNotSorry
Of course, during these surreal COVID times, there’s also all the symptomatic second guessing.
Pretty much every day I’ve done a quick google search to confirm that the symptoms I’m experiencing are not associated with COVID-19.*
I’m not proud about this, mind you. I’m just honest.
I’ve been double-checking this every day since Saturday, when the endless sneezing began. I’ve been double-checking this every day even though I’ve had these same allergy symptoms every spring for years and years before SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 existed. I’ve been double-checking this every day, even though I keep getting the same answer.
Why? I could partly almost sort of justify my actions by making some hand-wavy assertion about how there’s still so much to learn about this virus and this disease. And that wouldn’t be complete bullshit. For example, a couple weeks ago, the CDC was raising the possibility of comorbidity between asthma and COVID. But, as of yesterday, that correlation has been debunked in the New York Times.**
So yes, there is more to learn.
But I should probably cop to the fact that my daily visit to Dr. Google had much more to do with my emotional needs than it did with my devotion to epidemiology and virology.
In a world where some large percent of us are projected to get COVID eventually,*** and where it’s currently WAY too hard to get a definitive test or diagnosis, there’s a real comfort to be found in getting the daily reassurance that my symptoms are indeed just the same old allergies I’ve experienced before. My daily research jaunts also helped me stay conscious of the continued possibility that, if I were an asymptomatic carrier of SARS-CoV-2, how very very dangerous it would be for my sneezy self to be out in the world. So Mr. Mezzo has been on the very few essential errand trips we needed this week.
And I know I’m not alone in this. I was joking with some co-workers on Thursday about the small paranoia expressed in my daily research sessions, and one of them shared her belief that such small acts of paranoia were almost inevitable.
On Tuesday, my ankle was hurting, and I had a second where I asked myself if that was viral!
So if nothing else, I’m in good company.
And I’m glad that I’ve been able to feel these quick moments of fear and paranoia without getting consumed by them. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t need a 90-second google-search to keep the fear-demons at bay. Of course, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t be going through global pandemic and communal trauma either, so there’s that, too.
Given the reality (surreality?) of these times, doing a quick bit of desk research that allows me to get through the rest of my day with a good amount of energy, grace and focus—well, that feels like an investment well worth making.
* Which they’re not. The sneezing and runny nose are the key differentiators, as it turns out.
** And who’s to say whether there will be further refinements and nuances in our understanding of whether and how these two conditions interact?
*** Some projections have neared 80%.