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Diary of a coronavirus-positive Kiwi in NYC: Day 14

Diary of a coronavirus-positive Kiwi in NYC: Day 14

Simone Nathan, a Kiwi living in New York, documents life in quarantine as she battles symptoms of COVID-19.

Diary of a coronavirus-positive Kiwi in NYC: Day 14

Click here if you missed Day 13, or start from the beginning at Day 1.

Day 14

I come to you a woman reborn. My brain realised I didn’t know how to end this diary and magnanimously decided to give me my smell and taste back. There are no words. I’ve eaten everything in the house. Perhaps the virus had run its course. Or maybe that healing session really bloody worked. Either way, I’ve never been more grateful to be alive.

I woke up this morning and reached for the modern woman’s breakfast: popcorn, only to have my buds lathered in the beauty of salt and butter. I should be riding the wave of this rediscovery for the next few weeks in here. Beyond that, I have work, TV, and most importantly – podcasts. If you’re not listening to them, you’re probably filling the void with something much scarier and I fear for your soul.

Personally, the COVID-19 Crisis has given me a chance to look in the mirror and really reflect on what I see. A moustache. The small LED light in the bathroom has let me know my friends and family have been lying to me for years and there are actionable steps I need to take to finally get rid of this thing.

In a larger sense, this entire experience has only confirmed my suspicions about the great outdoors. Every time you leave the house, whether there’s a pandemic or not, you are putting yourself at so much risk. You could be hit by a car, eaten by a bear, or crushed by a falling anvil and left walking around in a big pleated shape like an accordion.

But still we do it. We need things: food, money, to stretch our limbs. And we need connection. Even those of us who walk away from every interaction shaking our heads at the weird way our voice broke when we said ‘goodbye’, and those who are overcome with phone fear for even the most inane calls – for whom ordering a pizza is an emotional overhaul that takes days to build up to and hours to come down from. 

I spoke to my doctor today and she told me I was officially cleared to go back outside, as it had been 14 days since my first symptom. She sent a letter to the online health portal, stating I was allowed to go back to work. I didn’t need it: this letter was for essential service workers – many of whom could unfortunately only get medical leave if they could prove they had the virus, which was of course made difficult by the fact that there were no tests. But it was nice to have a letter stating I was better. I wanted to frame it and pop it up on the wall. Get it printed on t-shirts, tote bags and mouse pads and hand them out in the streets.

Instead I stayed inside, watched TV and applied for an antibody test at Mount Sinai, which I hoped to hear back from in the next few weeks when they became available. I returned to my pack of gummy worms, now old and stale, and ate one in order to complete the circle. It tasted fantastic. I didn’t need to go outside yet, so I wouldn’t. Instead I looked at the Freedom Tower and smiled. I may be inside but dammit: I was free.

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