I finished the audio diary and I, I sat in the reflected for a moment and I said to myself — in my head, anyway. I was like, “You know, my voice feels a little funny, you know, just a smidge.” And by the next morning, I was like, “Oh, yeah. I’ve got a sore throat.” That was Saturday. And then on Sunday, I was like, “Oh, now I’m feeling, uh, a little feverish.” And so I took my temperature. It was 102 degrees Fahrenheit. And my girlfriend recommended I test for covid. And so, after almost four years, I finally tested positive for covid. And that really put a damper on my week as a whole.
So yeah, that’s where we are. I, I missed most of the week of work. I had to appeal to my administrator to see how it works with covid now. They no longer do, like, covid time. So any days you miss come out of your PTO. And the way our system works now is they they track back to when you first felt your symptoms, and then it’s five days starting from the next day. So I technically counted the moment when I finished my last audio diary, which was also on Friday, as when I started to feel my symptoms, as slight as they may have been. And so that meant I had to miss Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this past week.
And then I was in a weird ethical dilemma, I guess, where my — not all of my symptoms had subsided, but I was outside of that five-day range. I was feeling better in my head, like I could function fine enough to get through the day. But my symptoms were still — the ones I had remaining were very noticeable. Like my, my voice. Occasional cough. But, you know, I was sitting there like, “Where are we now as a society with covid?” Like if I do my five days, am I expected to be back in the building? Even, you know, wearing a mask? And — or, should I just go ahead and, and burn at least four sick days? And at that point, I take the first four days of the week off, why come back on Friday? Then I had to look at my sick day balance to see if I could afford to do that.
So, I wavered back and forth and decided that, you know, if my days are up and my covid quarantine is over, then — and if I’m technically here functioning then perhaps it’s my obligation to be back at school. So I did that, and I knew I’d made a stupid mistake right away. I showed up, parked in the parking lot, and I saw one of my co-workers who was getting out of his car at the same time. And I got out and he joked, like, “Well, look who’s still alive!” or something to that effect. And I went to like, laugh and respond like “Oh, yeah,” and I immediately started coughing, which should have been a sign right away — and it really was. In my head, I’m like, “This, this is stupid.”