My partner’s mother died recently and in the last three days of her mum’s life she moved into the nursing home to be with her. After she died on the Thursday, we decided to clear out her room the following weekend. On the Saturday, we waded through all the stuff, except for the furniture, which we had planned to pick up the following day. However, that evening my partner started to feel ill and on Sunday morning, we each did a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) which gave a positive result for Covid-19 (mine was negative). She registered the positive result. She then called the nursing home and told them to put the furniture in storage and we would pick it up when we could.
On Sunday, I felt a bit crook when I went to bed but when I woke up on the Monday, I felt quite ill. My partner was very ill by this stage and spent most of the day in bed. We both did a RAT on the Monday and she returned a positive result again, whereas I again returned a negative result.
On the Tuesday my partner was still very ill as was I. we both did a RAT and again mine showed up negative in the requisite 15 minutes while hers was positive. We planned to again do a RAT on Thursday (today). However, the funny thing was, that while I was getting our morning coffee, my partner was over the other side of the kitchen bench hanging out for the caffeine hit; she glanced down at the RATs and grabbed my Tuesday test and said “it’s positive”. I turned the downlights on (I hadn’t had my coffee) and sure enough a faint line showed up opposite the ‘T’. We don’t know when that line showed up in the last 48 hours, but it was there, just the same.
While our symptoms are not identical they are very similar: runny nose, constant cough, a throat full of gunge, stiffness, brain fog, and sore intercostal muscles from all the coughing. Symptoms she had that I didn’t, included loss of a sense of taste, nausea and chills. Symptoms that I had that she didn’t included a headache1. For a while, given my negative RATs, I thought I may have had another virus, but was almost relieved when the test (eventually) came out positive. While RATs are simple tests, they test for viral proteins, whereas PCR tests test for viral RNA. RATs have a lower accuracy than PCR tests; at about 75%, whereas the latter are about 99% accurate2. The Therapeutic Goods Administration provides a list of RATs approved for sale in Australia3.
As far as the effect of viruses go, this is the worst I have felt in many years, with the two worst days being Tuesday and Wednesday. For my partner it was Monday and Tuesday. It’s Thursday morning as I write this, and I am starting to feel better. Given that the only thing she did that I didn’t over the few days prior to feeling unwell was to move into the nursing home, and given that she went downhill about a day before I did, it seems likely she contracted the virus in the nursing home. However, it is something we will never know, as symptoms can show up anything from 2-14 days after exposure1, although most people do so within 5 to 6 days4.
Given how crook we felt, I hate to think what it would have been like if we had not had the full quota of vaccinations (i.e. 5: 2xAstrazeneca; 2xPfizer; 1xBA4/5 Pfizer)5. We both just did our Thursday tests and my partner’s gave a faint positive, while mine gave a very strong positive. There is still some way to go.