I’d finally tested negative on may 2nd the 13th day of my infection, in time to have a mini celebration with my partner. I am not sure if I overdid it, but a super faint line that is not very visible under normal lighting conditions turned up on the 15th and 16th day – I continued to test because I was hoping to have 2 negative tests within 48 hours.
There are differing views on the internet regarding the viability of the virus. The conventional view is that most people are not contagious on day 10 onwards because they could not culture a live virus in the lab even if the rapid test was positive. There is also a view that since the rapid tests test for nucleocapsid protein which is only produced by the active virus, and the rapid tests are not that sensitive to begin with, so one should assume the worst if even the faintest of lines continue to show up. I also found a couple of articles that said that the rapid tests could pick up inactivated virus bound by our antibodies.
It doesn’t seem very clear cut to me and the research I’ve found still seems murky. I’ll continue to test until there is no doubt with the results. Right now it does make me feel a little anxious because I don’t want to have a persistent viral load in my body, no matter how low it is. I definitely do not want to be chronically inflammed. But I’m actually testing negative on the government-issued tests (sd biosensor and flowflex) and only abbott panbio tests seem to be picking up something. I’m not sure whether to be glad that it is capable of picking up such low loads – at the very least it makes me want to continue to be cautious. I definitely wouldn’t be visiting any elderly soon.
My heart rate is still elevated while standing or walking, especially in the morning. I have a daily routine of using a polar h10 chest strap to take my morning hrv using elite hrv, followed by using hrv4training with the apple watch breathe app. Prior to covid I consistently had a morning heart rate (measured while sitting straight) of 60s, 70s when I am stressed, and now I am measuring late 80s. My hrv in the morning has tanked from 30ms-50ms to 10-20+ms. Well it has only been 2 weeks out and I can’t expect my body to make a miraculous recovery, but I am not really seeing much improvements over the days and it is worrying.
But at the very least my walking heart rate does adjust downwards to 90+bpm after spiking a while. I couldn’t get it below 100bpm for almost two weeks.
I feel like I have lost all the cardio fitness I have built over the past few months if not years. I have to restart from scratch again, all the way from learning to walk. I can only console myself with the knowledge that I have extensive experience in healing and recovery.
Physical fitness aside I am also taking the opportunity to think about how I want to live. I’ve never really stopped thinking about it, but having a viral infection that has the potential to cause permanent systemic damage makes me think deeply about how I want to spend the rest of my time if my life is going to be shortened, or if my health is going to be compromised from now on.
It is difficult: prior to covid I’ve already expended most of my energy into recovery, so much that I have not much left to be creative. Now I have to get myself back into my previous baseline, which I am not even sure if it is even possible.
I haven’t felt creative in years. I feel like I’ve lost such a big part of myself to my chronic migraines already. Going to hanoi re-sparked some of that creativity back into me…I was truly in my best health prior to and during the trip. Will I be able to cope with the grief if I can never feel like that again? Or will I learn to cope as usual? What is left for a chronically sick person? Are there still doors I can open, little things I can do that will make me come alive in spirit again?
At this point, I am just glad writing is still here for me.
While writing this post I cannot help but think most people would not relate or be interested in the fine nuances of rapid tests and contagiousness, or the details of my cardio biometrics – I guess things like heart-rate variability must sound esoteric to most people. But all of that is me: my obsession with finding answers through data, the tools I rely upon to gauge my health. They are a large part of my life, and I must continue to commit to writing as myself.