10 days of high fever; What a vicious virus!

As I sweated profusely between bouts of sickeningly high fever, I was changing shirts three times a day. To my certain recollection, I had never had a fever for more than two days at a time. COVID-19 unleashed on me a 10-day fever like no other.

How I contracted the novel coronavirus in late September to early October last year is still somewhat a mystery to me. The most likely scenario is that one of four young adults who were in and out of the house almost every day must have brought it in, unknowingly, because they had no obvious symptoms.

Of course, when it started, I had no idea what was happening. I had old symptoms of what I had experienced many times over many years before, like sinus draining, an innocent cough, flu-like stuff. Then the fever came on. With a vengeance! My appetite went and I lost some weight.

No man, something is wrong, I came to the realisation and called my doctor on the phone. A few questions later and she uttered what I had feared. “Go do the COVID-19 test and call me back,” she said, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, while my heart was fluttering wildly. The test said positive. Good grief!

I really thought I had done everything possible to keep away from the virus, including locking myself away and becoming a virtual prisoner in my home; asking the helper to stay home for four weeks with full pay, then picking her up and dropping her back home every day to avoid her taking public transportation; banning non-household members from coming in the house and insisting that those within follow strict protocols.

I felt embarrassed to tell anyone about my COVID virus. It felt like I was careless. But I got over it, thank God, without having to go to the hospital. When the vaccine came I could not wait for my time to come to be inoculated. That time came on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

I thought I might have had to give up when I saw the chaos at the National Stadium car park where thousands of seniors over 60 years old bundled up, with no space to allow for social distancing. No one could provide information on how we were to proceed. I asked one of three Jamaica Defence Force soldiers if there was any system in place.

“System? Dat deh system deh crash lak a plane!” Well, then… An old lady collapsed and several people ran to her aid. I said to myself, it’s a good thing these are seniors who are calm and know how to behave under provocation. Young people would have likely rushed the gates, trampling anyone underfoot.

I made it into the National Arena about two hours later. Lo and behold! I stepped from the chaotic car park scene into a sort of cyber-like reality inside the arena. It was utterly beautiful to see the level of organisation. Everything went like clockwork. It was the Ministry of Health and Wellness at its best.

I was sanitised every step of the way; ushered to a seat by polite staffers; the paperwork was effortless; the counselling was on point and when I got the jab, it was as if nothing had happened. I felt proud to be a Jamaican and relieved that the car park mess must have been an outlier.

The Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre on The University of the West Indies campus was another wonder of modern organisation when I took my helper and her husband to get their shots on Monday. People who had abandoned the arena because of the crowds descended on the centre but found order and calm from the entrance. Not only was it a good jab, but also good job everyone!

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