My COVID Adventure

COVID sucks
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My COVID Adventure

My COVID adventure started when I finally got selected to attend a cyber security summit that I have been wanting to attend for years. The timing couldn’t be worse for me this year. I was already struggling with feeling “normal” after having a difficult time with all my autoimmune issues and rapid weight loss (40 plus pounds in 4 months without actually trying), Throw the damn pandemic into the freaking mix and I was really not looking forward to going, but I can’t back out, after fighting so hard for the past few years to attend. So I said screw it and I went.

So here I am, I was on travel for work attending an Information Technology / Cyber Security conference in Alabama, and that is when the fun started. I was already concerned about getting COVID, but I was taking all the same precautions that I have been taking for the past two-plus years while at work, and for the first year and a half of the pandemic, I was working 5 days a week, many weeks I was the only person in the building, beyond the janitorial and security staff. To clarify, I’m not living in fear of COVID-19, but I am aware that I’m at a much higher risk than most people.

I’m at the airport, waiting for my flight, trying to stay as far away from people as I can. I’m wearing the silly mask the whole trip and trying to avoid people (which is something I normally do in the first place), but you can’t stay 6′ away from people on the airplane. The airlines claim that they have HEPA air filters on each plane. But that fact alone is a little bothersome.


COVID-19 is actually the SARS-CoV-2 or Coronavirus. The particle size (Virion) of COVID-19 is 0.1-0.5μm

The problem is that in order to be considered a HEPA filter by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology, a HEPA filter must capture a minimum of 99.97% of contaminants at 0.3 microns in size. This means that a HEPA filter does not provide adequate protection against COVID, but don’t you worry, I was wearing a KN-95 mask, surely that will afford me the protection I need on the flight, well one can hope.


But what does KN-95 mean in the first place?

The “95” stands for 95% efficient at 0.3 microns. This means that the filter media is effective at filtering 95% of airborne particles as long as they are larger than 0.3 microns in diameter (this is identical to the HEPA filter).

The “N” in N95 stands for “Not Oil Resistant.” Typically, there are three-letter designations for these kinds of masks. The “K” stands for China, which is where the mask was certified.

So all together it means that the mask is certified in China to be not oil resistant and able to block 95% of the particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.

All this means that the HEPA filter is 99% effective in stopping the COVID-19 particles, assuming that it was “recycled air” that I was breathing that contained the virus. My mask offered a 95% chance of blocking the virus. But all this is based on odds, odds like, was the infected air breathed in while I was wearing the mask or what it was when I was drinking or maybe when eating the pretzels? There are so many variables.

I might not have contracted it from the flight, maybe I got it at the airport, maybe it was at the hotel, who knows, but the end result is I contracted COVID-19 and that is where the fun starts. Hell, I could have contracted it at the conference itself, after all, we were jammed into the hotel ballroom, side-by-side, and of course, the damn A/C wasn’t working in the hotel ballroom either. And when I say we were packed in there, I mean we were in there really tight.

Alright, I’m fully vaccinated, which didn’t help me one damn bit, noted! I wore the stupid ass masks, which didn’t help me one damn bit, noted! I avoided people the best I could and well, let’s just say that many of those that attended this conference were Millennials and it showed. Every time I or someone else got up to use the bathroom, some shithead thinking he is cool because he is wearing a ponytail in his hair would quickly steal your seat. It happened like three times to me, and several to the person who I was originally sitting beside. These fucksticks need a real quick reality check and if I wasn’t attending this conference for work, I would have dumped the first shithead right out of that damn chair and onto his fat ass. But sadly, I know how to act like an adult, but damn that would have been funny.

Thursday evening rolled on by and I’m not feeling well, but I just chalked it up to being run down (after all I wasn’t up to par when I left home for this conference). I woke up Friday morning with a cough and feeling worse, Ugh here we go. So I head over to the pharmacy and grab a thermometer and when I get back to the room, I take my temp, holy shit, I’m running a 102 temp, something is certainly wrong. I go pick up a COVID-19 home test and take it when I get to the hotel and it comes back negative. Well, that is a good thing, but I still can’t fly in the morning, if I can’t get my temp down (granted I didn’t see any indicators that the airline was checking for fever, but that is such an easy thing to check without the person being scanned knowing. I call and talk to my family and we monitor things for a few hours.

So just to recap, here I am on travel in Alabama, and I have to fly out on the red-eye in the morning, I was sick, I was running a fever and it showed, I’m dripping sweat and I’m very pale. There was no way I was going to be able to fly.

My family and I decided to cancel the flight and they would drive down the 9 hours to come to pick me up.

Family To The Rescue

They arrived by early dinner time on Saturday and they brought another COVID-19 home test, which I took, and that one came back positive and my temp was up to 103 now. I really didn’t have any of the other symptoms that are commonly associated with COVID (chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea). But that isn’t to say that I didn’t have fatigue, muscle and body aches, and a headache, which is typical for me to have daily. But overall, it wasn’t that bad, and once the fever broke, it was like everything was suddenly better. I mean, when the fever broke, my son and wife both noticed it and mentioned that they could tell it broke. I suddenly felt a ton better, not normal, but better (ish).

That night we all slept wearing masks as with the entire trip back home, which was pretty much uneventful from what I can recall.

Home Sweet Home

I got home and retired to the guest room and lived there for a week, with the exception of a visit to the ER, at the request of my Rheumatologist, who wanted a positive PCR test so she could call in Paxlovid (Anti-Viral medication that tastes like shit). She wanted to keep very close tabs on me as she didn’t want it to move to my lungs. Several days later, I’m at the “Doc in the Box” and they treat me with steroids, antibiotics, and cough suppression medication, to help me fight this (they said I had a double ear infection and bronchitis). If I’m not better in a few days, my Rheumatologist wants me back to the ER. The good thing is that I’m starting to feel better, so I’m hoping to avoid the ER, but I also step off the steroids tomorrow and the antibiotics a few days later. So I hope I don’t step backward again.

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Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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By Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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