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Diary of a coronavirus-positive Kiwi in NYC: Day 5

Diary of a coronavirus-positive Kiwi in NYC: Day 5

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 5

Click here if you missed Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 or Day 4.

Day 5

My cat and I were now back on good terms today: thank the lord. There’s no peace if you can’t have peace in the home. My breathing also seemed to be back to normal!

I’d been drinking three litres of water a day to avoid the dreaded dehydration that came with the virus, but I was experiencing waves of fear about my sense of smell never coming back. How I dreamed of odours flowing up my nasal pharynx and into my nasal cavity. What if I could never taste again? On a practical level, it been frustrating to discover that without smell I couldn’t tell which of my groceries had gone off. And I know it sounds melodramatic, but it felt like I had not only lost my sense of taste and smell but I had also begun to lose my sense of….self. I’d even started eating spicy food just to feel something.

Ways of connecting had become extremely creative, and I was enjoying the ‘Next Door’ app, where your neighbours could post about things that were going on in the area. Bad news – every small business has closed, the economy is collapsing and the world is probably over as we know it. Good news – Trader Joes restocked their Parmesan cheese crisps! Those crisps are actually really yum and amazing on salads.

The 7pm applause for the essential workers who were soldiering through the pandemic had become a nightly fixture now, and it felt good to pop one’s head out and clap and be a part of something. I wondered what would happen if I tried to get everyone to sing like those Italians on their balconies. Choosing a song would be so hard, as already before the pandemic I experienced a full out-of-body breakdown if somebody so much as handed me an aux cord. Honestly, no matter what, I was pretty sure most New Yorkers would yell at me to shut up.

A small source of comfort was that all my friends were also going crazy. I was receiving about a call a day from someone crying or in a fight with their quaran-thang. One friend rang, hysterical that her boyfriend was cheating on her. He was in the next room and they hadn’t been apart from each other for TWO WEEKS. I assured her we would laugh about this after the virus was over.

But when would it be over? Trump said Easter. Why? Because that would be a ‘Beautiful Timeline’. Awesome. Cannot wait. Until then the small minutiae of our days were all that many of us had left. Those in-between moments where you got to have a rest on your bed after work, an extra-long shower: those moments were now our lives. The once bustling East Village scene outside my window was a ghost town. Crime had gone up since there were less people around. The rat population had begun roaming the streets in packs, doing tiny West Side Story dance offs. Iconic New York spots that were once impossible to walk through now sat silent and still like photographs. And the city was running short of body bags.

Some exciting news: my mum called to say she’s sending me Harry Potter LEGO!

Read Day 6 of Simone’s coronavirus diary here.

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