It took almost three years, but COVID finally got me. Since March 2020, I went to Japan twice, Oregon twice, and to New York once, and that final time was my downfall.

Since I got back from Japan in April of 2020 to a locked-down US, I’ve kept a low-profile. I rode bikes, ate outside or at home, and worked from my apartment. Occasionally, I went to see movies while masked, like all my indoor interactions with the world. By January of 2023 I often am the only one masked in many situations and it feels weird.

How it happened?

A few weeks after my trip to Japan, with good health and a ton of rain under my belt, I headed to NYC for a work trip. My therapist and I joked that NYC was the danger zone, since it was where her partner got sick. From my flight to my hotel, I kept my mask on save for a few sips of water and whiskey. For the days of my offsite, I was the only one masked besides the cleaning staff at the office (they probably don’t get sick pay). The social pressure in Japan was to stay masked, but in NYC I felt like an overcautious hypochondriac.

Don’t eat unmasked at a Margaritaville.

I can’t say for sure that I got sick at Margaritaville, but it sounds good, and was one of my only unmasked meals. I was asked to plan a happy hour, but my entire team doesn’t drink, apparently, and they asked if they could eat instead. I would never choose Margaritaville for food or drink, but I’d dug a hole already. The next two days passed uneventfully with negative tests, and more work, but by Friday morning I felt off.

I tested negative, then hopped onto a flight home, but became achy and likely feverish mid-flight. By the time I got home, I was completely sick. A positive test confirmed that it wasn’t just a cold, flu, or one of the other illnesses going around, and my mask went back on.

I used my COVID testing app to order Paxlovid through a doctor due to my risk factors, and began taking it the next day.


Wearing a mask in your own house sucks. I read that cats, while unlikely to die of COVID, can still contract it. I love my weird furry guy more than most anyone, so I kept my mask on until my fever was gone naturally, even sleeping in it. Sadly there’s not much better of a solution for me since my apartment doesn’t have doors. I don’t think he got sick though, so that’s good.

Friends offered to bring food or groceries, but that introduces a new level of anxiety so I ordered a grocery delivery instead, and had a few contactless food deliveries. I enjoy sitting at home and watching tv, though a high fever and cough makes it much less fun. I watched movies, and played Last of Us, and slowly felt better. Sure, I went a little stir crazy, but I’m lucky to have sick pay and the ability to take time off from work to heal. The biggest thing I’ve missed is cycling, and being outside, especially after most of January was too rainy for my usual 10 hours a week on the bike.

Testing negative.

I finally tested negative on Friday night, and confirmed it on Saturday. Recent studies looked at the incidence of rebound, regardless of anti-viral, and it seems to be 1/3, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be a lucky one for both that and long COVID. As much as I want to bike up some mountains, I’ve read advice from pro and amateur cyclists that suggests at least a week off the bike. The weekend I tested negative I took a short (8km) ride to the grocery store, and tried to keep my heartrate well below max. Recovery from anything sucks and feels like it takes a million years, but I’m always glad I didn’t rush anything when I finally do start exercising again.

The rebound

Data shows 10%+ of those with COVID seeing a rebound after testing negative, and unfortunately I’m one of them. After three days of testing negative my symptoms were back lightly, and I tested positiv again. At 11 days from a positive test (the first day is day 0), I’m pretty sick of it, but glad my symptoms are still mild. Hopefully I’ll test negative by the end of the week.

COVID: A Review

0/5 stars, do not want again.