A Tasteless Joke

On Tuesday I woke up with a scratchy throat and a sinus headache. Since I work in a grocery store and have almost certainly been exposed to COVID on more than one occasion, my first thought was I shouldn’t go for my scheduled in-person visit with my 90-year-old mom.

Mom’s in a nursing home where they just started having visits again for the first time in months. They first tried about six months ago, but ended up canceling after two weeks because a staff member tested positive. Now, however, most residents including Mom are vaccinated, so I get to see her without a window between us.

The administration has also started rapid testing anyone who visits. That’s why my second thought was, “No. I need to go because then I’ll know if it’s COVID.”

If it was, I’d get in my car and go home. No harm, no foul.

As expected, the test was negative. My mild symptoms were clearly just a cold.

Still, I canceled my Wednesday dentist appointment and took things easy the next two days before working on Friday as scheduled. By that time, I’d taken my temperature a few times. Twice it was slightly elevated, but by Friday it was normal.

And on Saturday, I planned to do the same. But when I took a shower that morning, I realized I couldn’t smell the eucalyptus oil I’d dribbled in the tub to help clear my head.

I opened the bottle and tried breathing it directly.

It was strange. I could kind of feel the oil’s effects, but not smell it. (And if you’ve ever breathed in eucalyptus oil, you’ll know the scent is very strong.)

Feeling like an idiot, I stood there dripping as I sniffed every bar of soap and bottle of shampoo and conditioner … even the Vicks Vaporub.


And then I remembered having pizza the night before and thinking it didn’t taste like much even though I’d used quite a lot of garlic on the crust.


Well, this was a bit worrisome.

I was scheduled to work all weekend because my co-worker was out of town, and for a moment — and only a moment — I considered putting off going for a test until Monday, not because I wanted to get anyone sick, but because I would feel an idiot if the whole thing turned out to be nothing.

Except I couldn’t taste the toast I ate for breakfast either.

And that’s how I ended up visiting the drive-up at a local drug store for a lab test instead of going to work yesterday.

According to them, result times are averaging one to two days.

Meanwhile, I’ve had a phone call from my employer’s Human Resources Department to instruct me on the process I’ve apparently put into play.

Wow. Now I really felt like a fraud. I’m sure he has other things he’d rather be doing than calling me on a Saturday night.

The man said I did the right thing, but I couldn’t help thinking, “What if I’m wrong and just made a fuss about nothing?”

Then I went into the pantry and tried to smell the vinegar.

It’s weird not to be able to taste or smell. I could sort of feel the vinegar in the back of my throat, but even with the bottle right below my nose, I couldn’t smell anything.

We ate quiche last night, and I put a load of hot sauce on it. I could feel the heat, but it tasted like nothing.

I’ve been drinking tea and it’s comforting because it’s hot, but there’s no flavor.

So, do I have the virus or not?

All I know is I’ve been sick before with everything from pnuemonia to bronchitis to pleurisy, and there have been times my head was stuffy enough to make it difficult to smell, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

At this point, I’m sort of hoping I have the virus because otherwise I’ll feel like a complete fool. And if losing two of my senses is the worst thing that happens to me, I’m grateful.

Whether I have it or not, the joke is on me. Either I’ve gone for a complete year of shutdown working in a grocery store and gotten it when a vaccine is finally available (at least in theory because it’s not been available for me!) or I’ve somehow gotten one of the main symptoms of COVID without having the virus.

I’ll let you know when I find out.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in the pantry, sniffing vinegar and slurping hot sauce.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

Addendum: Just got the text that I’m positive. Right now, I’m feeling very grateful to have mild symptoms.

25 thoughts on “A Tasteless Joke

  1. That’s just about the way my daughter figured she had it. She met 2 former coworkers for a 3 person gathering and 1 tested positive 10 days later. Natalie tested positive 3 days after that. The other person and I never got sick. I did, however, get my 1st vaccine today. The Moderna one. Had to drive to Lancaster for it, though. I’ll gladly drive 35 minutes to get a shot! Natalie felt like she had sinus problems, until she lost her sense of smell and taste. They came back in about 3 weeks. Hopefully, you will not have a severe case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. Good to hear someone’s similar experience. Heaven knows where I got it. They’re quarantining Mom for fourteen days, even though she had second shot weeks ago, and we wore masks and distanced when we saw her. Still, I’m grateful for the abundance of caution.


  2. Oh hell.
    I’m very sorry to hear this, and I hope for a full recovery of the missing senses for you. Do people have to log in when they go to a supermarket or grocery store like we have to here? There’s a 3D barcode on display at the door which you scan with a phone app, so they can trace who attended on any particular day. At least they’d be able to trace whom you’d been in contact with, and work back from there.
    Fingers crossed your mother is OK too, although I’m sure the vaccine will look after her.


    • Wow! No wonder Australia is in such good shape. We have nothing like that here. Very loose on enforcement.
      My friend left a comment about her daughter’s experience seeming similar, and her taste and smell came back in about three weeks. So maybe I’ll be lucky with that too.


      • We have it virtually everywhere that you’re going to be spending more than 15 minutes. Also, it does seem to me people here are more cooperative, despite having more than our fair share of rampant individualists. This is what it looks like for quarantine breachers:
        “The Commonwealth has the power to issue a ‘human biosecurity control order’ under the Biosecurity Act. If such an order is imposed, individuals who fail to comply face penalties of about $63,000, five years in prison, or both. The order has never been used.” (It hasn’t been needed; the ones who breach get a visit from the police and social pressure has done the rest).
        I have my fingers and toes crossed for you; loss of taste or smell is miserable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • People are very strange about guns in this country. Any type of gun control is seen as trying to take guns away. My dad had guns to hunt, so I never had a problem with people owning them. My brother inherited them and ended up using one to end his life, a fact I find very hard to believe because as far as I know, he was never interested in them. In fact, when I learned he’d killed himself, one of the first things I said was, “I know he didn’t use a gun.” I was wrong.

        I still find it hard to believe he did it and will never understand why. We were no longer close, which makes me wonder if I should have made more of an effort.


      • We had air rifles all my childhood for pest control, and I’m quite a good shot, but I have no interest in hunting or owning a weapon. Australians voluntarily gave up personal weapons after a mass shooting in 1996, and since then gun control has been incredibly stringent and limited. It feels a LOT safer.
        I’m very sorry for your brother’s loss, but to an outsider it seems clear he was decided on that course of action; there’s no ‘cry for help’ or coming back from a gun as there is from other methods. Please try to be at peace with it; men are very bad at letting others know they’re hurting, and none of us are mind-readers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No kidding. BTW, it looks as if Italy has done us a favour withholding the Astra Zeneca vaccine; EU countries have stopped its rollout due to blood clotting concerns. I’m not sure what they’re planning to do here, but I’m in the next wave and wave 1A is nearly done.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I supposed to be eligible for the vaccine as of a few weeks ago, but they went from 60 to 50 in less than a week, which would be great if they were readily available. They aren’t, at least not in my state. Oh well, now I’ll have antibodies that last 3-6 mos according to the nurse from the company I work for. She recommended me putting off getting the vaccine for a month after recovery even if one comes up for me because her patients that have had COVID and then had the vaccine have had much worse reactions. The reactions lessen when people wait a bit. So, there’s that bit of sunshine to cling to. 🙂


  3. Welcome to the Covid Club! Hope you’re feeling better and get your taste back soon. It’s a really strange virus in how it affects people so differently. I didn’t have the first loss of taste or smell, but felt pretty rundown for a few days. The headache was pretty bad and unlike anything I normally get with a cold though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Not a club anyone really wants to join, I think. Headache mostly gone now. Just so tired, and the smell/taste thing is still an issue. Are you back to normal? How long did you feel tired?


      • I ran a fever and felt achy for about three days and then rundown for about a week. The headache got worst even after the fever had gone away. As long as your not getting a cough, that is the main thing. I never got the first cough with it, thank goodness.


      • Weird. I actually just felt like I had a little cold until my taste and smell went. And I had more energy then. Now, I’m just exhausted and my head feels like it weighs a ton. Still can’t taste or smell. Strange.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s