What a Long, Strange Trip (Part 2)

When I left things off with you readers last month, I was all alone, in quarantine in Florida with Covid.

The gloom setting over me was becoming all too common. I was in the routine of booking a covid test every day at a local Walgreens Pharmacy. You know you are sliding into an abyss when the highlight of your day is heading to a pharmacy for a Covid test. In Florida, all Walgreens have drive-through lanes. A small metal container, containing a cotton swab is pushed toward your vehicle. As many of you are aware, you insert the swab into your nostril, swipe five circular motions in each direction and place the swab back in the metal container. Then off you go. Sound familiar?

There are a couple of good things about the process. One is that you usually have the results back within an hour. Secondly, there is no charge for the test. This was my daily task for two weeks while isolated in Florida. I also spoke daily to many of the Past Chairmen who I had sat with when in Vegas for the Truckload Carriers Association Annual Convention. Every day, I heard of their experiences with also being infected. These ranged from vertigo to severe chest congestion, and each of us lost our sense of taste and smell for various lengths of time.

We became our own support team as we texted in group format daily outlining the latest status and progression of our infections. After a week or so, I was feeling very down as, one by one, they all began to test negative, until I was the last one still testing positive. To be clear, isolation is isolation. I don’t care if you are in Florida or Alaska. My only contact with people was when I went to get my daily test and, using a two-way speaker, talked to the pharmacy worker through the plexiglass. Other than that, I might run into a neighbour while walking and we would have a distant conversation. Florida is a quiet place in October because the snowbirds don’t flock in for another month or so. It was also over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 Celsius; not exactly comfortable in good health let alone having Covid in your system.

After each positive test, I would either go for a walk or take a bike ride just to get my head out of the darkness. Most of my time was spent communicating with my family and friends who knew of my situation. Having limited contact with the outside world, these were bright spots, and I can’t thank them enough. It means more than they will ever know. Somehow, it snapped me out of my funk and relieved some of the darkness surrounding me after testing positive for so many days.

I was also distracted in a positive sense by having regular contact with a few of the truckload carriers I was coaching at the time. Time spent talking to C-level folks and managers took on a heightened value to me; a respite; a distraction from the monotony of my routine. Skip the Dishes, Door Dash etc., were beating a steady path to my door and man, that was getting old!

Finally, I tested on day 15 and it was negative. Wow!!! I was beginning to believe it would never happen. I had to look at it a few times before my happy dance took place. What a sense of relief! Finally, I could walk among the living again, get home, see the family, and thank the many people who had checked in on me regularly.

I made my way home that Sunday. Again, a great sense of relief. Back home, back to my routine… the one we all take for granted until the rug gets pulled from under us. I will also mention that, before leaving that Saturday, I did hit a couple of my usual haunts. My taste had recouped enough for me to recognize what a cold beer used to taste like. I did not overdo it though. I had just tested negative and still had a few symptoms. As an example, later that Saturday afternoon, a “brain fog” took over. I went from feeling pretty good to completely drained and fatigued in a matter of seconds. I was lucky to be at home when it happened. I made my way to bed and slept for 3 hours. It really scared me. I was thinking, ‘could this be a long-term Covid symptom?’ Luckily, it only happened one other time, about a week later, and with about half the impact. I did, however, feel a little fatigued for a couple of weeks but now I am back to my pre-covid status.

Here is a message to those reading this. I am totally convinced that my being double vaccinated before contacting the virus mitigated the impact of the covid symptoms to a very manageable level. I had a cold that was about a five on a scale of ten. I lost all sense of taste and smell. I had a little brain fog. The whole ordeal lasted three to four weeks. Suppose I had not been vaccinated???  How bad might this have become? Who knows? I just know you don’t want to get this. Believe me, you don’t want to get Covid. Protect yourself and your family as much as you can. Get your vaccination. I know that me saying this will piss some of you off, but I must, as I won’t feel good about myself if I leave it unsaid.

Finally, I clearly recognize that my experience pales in comparison with many who have lost loved ones or continue to suffer from long-haul Covid. These folks are the real victims. This article was not written to elicit sympathy. That is not my intent. I don’t need it and don’t want it. I just thought that some of you might be interested in hearing of some of the unintended consequences that can happen in these strange times that we live in.

Safe trucking,

Ray J. Haight

About Ray J. Haight

Areas of Focus: Operations, Recruiting & Retention, Human Resources With a career spanning four decades, Ray has been involved in all facets of the North American Trucking Industry.