We’re about a month into quarantine and if you were here, I think you’d be annoyed by it all.
You’d probably joke about it being called the coronavirus, “What? They didn’t want to call it the budweiservirus? That makes more sense.” I imagine you’d send me funny memes you found on the internet making fun of the virus and the fact that we’re now all hoarding toilet paper as if it were gold.
I imagine you’d joke about me and toilet paper, then ask me sweetly if I had enough at home because you knew I had a stomach condition.
You wouldn’t feel much change in your work schedule since we’ve been working from home for the last few years, but you would be frustrated about being cooped up in your apartment for days on end.
I imagine you’d call me when you were bored to relay work messages to me. Since our big work event will now be an online show, we’d bicker about the videos you’d need to do and the fact that I always wanted everything to be spelled correctly. It was a point of contention and hilarity between us. You always thought I was so anal to want things spelled correctly.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot these days. A friend of mine, the one you visited, told me she had a dream about me, followed by a dream about jelly. I’d like to think you were just dropping in to say hello.
I miss you so much. I wish you were here so we could complain about the craziness of all of this.
I read an article the other day that said more people were having vivid dreams during this pandemic. Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, suggested the spike in dream recall is a side effect of the slower-paced lifestyle some non-essential workers are now leading and how a dramatic change in routine can lead to more vivid dreams.
I haven’t noticed a difference in my frequency of vivid dreams, but perhaps this is because the pandemic hasn’t shifted my day-to-day all that much. Despite that, however, I do feel a deterioration in my mental health overall.
My dreams can generally be classified into three categories: regular dreams, vivid dreams, dreams that don’t feel like they’re mine.
My regular dreams are like the ones you most likely have. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. They can generally be traced back to whatever random thought was knocking around in my subconscious before bed.
My vivid dreams are often realistic and mundane. Once I dreamt about wanting to drink a Pepsi, but having to pee really badly. In my dream, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t pee (and I’m glad I didn’t figure it out because I woke up having to pee).
I have this third category of dreams that I don’t tell people about, mostly because I find it a bit hard to explain and it’s often accompanied by weird/confused looks by others.
In my regular and vivid dreams, I am the star of my dream. I am the vehicle of the story. Everything is happening either to me or around me. If I’m having a conversation with someone in these types of dreams, their responses make sense because it’s all part of my own subconscious. There are no surprises in these dreams because they’re made up of bits and pieces of myself and my experiences.
But every once in a while, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a place that isn’t mine. I remember years ago I once had a dream about an ex. Except, it felt like I had come in in the middle of the dream, like entering a room where people are already in mid-conversation.
I heard years later from a mutual friend that my ex had a dream about me around this time.
The other night I had a dream I was at my Grandma’s house (on my Dad’s side). This is important to point out because I never dream about her or her house, just my Grandma (on my Mom’s side). I went through the front door into the long driveway to meet my aunties, who pulled up together in a big SUV.
There were 2-3 people in the driveway, walking past me to get to a back unit behind my Grandma’s house. In real life, this back unit doesn’t exist, but for some reason, it existed in my dream and I was not surprised by the people walking by. One was a woman with long dark hair, probably in her 30s. As we walked by each other, we made eye contact and there was a moment where I felt unsettled by the interaction before I woke up. It felt like I startled her by our eye contact, as if she was wasn’t supposed to be there.
I woke up feeling very uncomfortable. I still feel uncomfortable.
Back in January, I swear I had COVID-19. Nobody believed me.
I was in Vegas for a work function and a few days later had these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath/shallow breathing
I went to Urgent Care, but they scoffed at my concern that I had coronavirus.
“But you weren’t in China,” the doctor told me.
“No, but I was in Vegas for a week during Chinese New Year,” I explained. “There were a lot of tourists at the casinos and I have an autoimmune disease.”
“Either way, we don’t have a test for it, so we just have to treat accordingly.” The doctor gave me a breathing treatment at Urgent Care, then sent me home with a prescription for an inhaler and flu medication.
Eventually, I got better, but the shortness of breath never really went away.
I ended up going back to Urgent Care two more times since then.
Fast forward to this past Monday. I woke up with body aches, as if I had been hit by a truck, still shortness of breath/shallow breathing, and cough. No fever, though.
I went to Urgent Care about five minutes before it opened, hoping to get a breathing treatment and a new prescription for my inhaler. A woman wearing a mask was waiting outside, removing it every so often to sip from her thermos.
“Where’s your mask?” she asked.
“Don’t have any,” I explained. “Can’t find them now in the stores. Everywhere is sold out.”
“I got mine from Ebay. The markup wasn’t too bad and it came quick.”
The doctor arrived a minute or so before 9am. We waited a few minutes and then followed her inside. I opened the door with my sleeve.
From the waiting room, we overhead the doctor and nurse discuss the fact that the entire office staff called out sick and neither of them knew how to work the computer system.
“I think they said they haven’t been cleaning,” the woman said to me, standing up immediately from her seat. “I think I’ll wait outside.”
“I’ll let you know what they say,” I told her. “I don’t have mask on anyway, I’m fucked. You might as well wait outside and I’ll relay the info they give me as soon as I can.”
She laughed and then excused herself to wait outside the clinic.
The doctor came out to the front desk and explained they had no way to check people in as neither of them knew how to use the computer system. “Where did the other woman go?”
“Outside,” I laughed. “I told her I don’t have a mask, so I’m fucked anyway, so I told her I’d relay the information to her after rather than have both of us sitting here.”
“That was nice of you,” the doctor replied. “But don’t think like that. You’re not fucked anyway.”
She sounded maternal, so instinctively I smiled politely and said, “okay.”
A manager from another Urgent Care location arrived shortly after. While taking my vitals in one of the rooms, I asked how she was doing and thanked her for working that day.
The doctor examined me and went through my list of medications. I had forgotten I was on a steroid for my Ulcerative Colitis. She said it was an immunosuppressant, but also probably made my symptoms not as severe as they could be. She said she couldn’t tell if I had COVID-19, but my symptomology is in-line with the virus, and recommended I do drive-thru testing when it’s available later in the week.
I was sent home with an inhaler and some antibiotics (on the off-chance I had a sinus infection).
I’ve been eating salami sandwiches for days with no end in sight.