The Corona Diaries Week 1: A Taste of Hell

UK lockdown officially began on Monday with Bozza telling the nation to stay indoors and venture out for ‘essential’ travel only. Luckily I had stocked up on red wine, we had enough food, and I now had a full work set-up on my kitchen table to enable me to work from home with ease. Lockdown, come at me!

But on Monday evening I started to feel ill. I felt lethargic, cold and had a headache, sore throat and a bad cough coming on. By Tuesday I felt really ill, and added body aches and sweats to the mix with an increasingly bad cough. I was busy being annoyed that despite two rounds of antibiotics, this would be the third time I’d been ill since February, that I barely stopped to consider that this may be The Rona. I did the NHS 111 online survey for my symptoms, which told me I was displaying symptoms of Covid-19 and should self isolate for a week. Given that I was already self-isolating (aren’t we all supposed to be?!), I simply skipped my daily permitted walk and all was generally OK.

Until Friday.

On Friday, I experienced the absolute worst part of my week and possibly my entire life ever. No exaggeration. I lost my sense of taste and smell. Now if, like me up until now, you have never lost your taste and smell before, let me explain what it’s like. It’s like living in a world of sunshine, rainbows and general loveliness and then somebody whacking you unexpectedly across the face with a massive grey metal plank, which then turns everything dark, dreary and miserable and leaves you falling into an endless pit of rain and sadness with nothing but the sound of your own tears to keep you company. Like I said, I am not exaggerating, it’s bad.

I had been looking forward to the weekend all week, mainly because I was still imposing my ‘no wine on a weekday’ rule and was waiting for Friday to open a bottle to have with a tasty takeaway. Work has been pretty dire lately, so you can imagine my horror when I fed the dog a dried sprat on Friday morning and realised I couldn’t smell its usual fishy stench. That was when it slowly dawned on me that I had lost my senses. I spent the best part of 20 minutes sniffing household essentials like wine, bleach, Dettol and Zoflora, refusing to accept the very strange sensation that despite no nasal blockages, I could not smell a thing. It was very odd.

By Saturday I was bargaining with the universe. I like to think of myself as a generally kind person, but I promised to be even kinder. If I could just have my senses back I would no longer moan at the dog when she barks at air particles. I won’t snarl at James when he eats loudly and leaves me differentiating whether it’s him or the dog having their tea. Hell, I’d trade my soul if I could just taste my coffee and wine one more time. On Sunday I realised that my bartering was probably doing more harm than good, because that’s not how the Law of Attraction works. It can sense desperation. You’re supposed to be normal and act like you already have the thing you’re trying to attract, so I reluctantly opened the bottle of wine and drank it, putting it out to the universe just how tasty it was. It was my only attempt to seem more normal and less desperate, and it was my only shot at getting my senses back.

It was no good. None of it worked. I was out of ideas. James found the whole thing quite amusing and couldn’t believe how much of a fuss I was making over my lack of senses. He kept telling me I would just need to follow the advice I’d already found online and wait it out, but of course somebody who’s never lost their taste would say that. He’s still loving life eating all the food in the house whilst I’m on a personal hunger strike. What point is there in eating properly?! I’d kick myself if the shops run dry knowing I’d wasted time eating food that I couldn’t taste. It just seemed to selfish to eat at this time of turmoil. And that’s not me being dramatic.

So my first week of isolation is over, and here are my observations:

  • I value my senses and very much take them for granted
  • Being ill is actually a lot more tolerable when you can work from home
  • Many illnesses have the same symptoms as Coronavirus, but we have to take appropriate measures just in case it is the virus
  • Everyone is doing quizzes during quarantine
  • I’m looking forward to making the most of my one daily outing by going for a run when I can walk long enough without coughing
  • I’m lucky to be in a job, have a roof over my head and have my worst problem right now be that I can’t taste

Here’s to week 2 of isolation (and hoping that my taste comes back for it!)