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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, December 07, 2020

entry arrow7:29 PM | A Covid Scare, Part 1

The first thing I noticed about the strangeness of COVID-19 [if indeed this is COVID] is the converse manifestations of the sensations of its emerging symptoms. The body ache that comes with that thunderclap arrival of fever—it was so sudden I felt like a hapless marathoner dropped into a race that had already began—was to get to know your bones. There is no English word for the sensation. In Binisaya, we call it “ngilo,” a phantom discomfort that goes deep under the skin. It was that, but also more: I felt my “ngilo” bones mashed up inside as if they didn't fit, sockets and ligaments mere suggestions. So I lied in bed hoping for the body to find truce for respite. The sleep I got those first three days was reprieve, but when waking came, I was at it again, making desperate sense of the misalignments of my bones, but knowing full well it's just in my head. How could bones feel this way?

I found a quick routine: sleep, wake, urinate, drink the coldest of water, shower, and take Bioflu at safe intervals. I needed to combat the fever, and it felt good to go to bed with the glorious sting of cold water on my skin. It was devilish quick comfort, like the invention of Coke Sakto, but it was enough to remind me there was still humanity in my fever-drenched body, which I found hurtling around my small apartment in delirium. I forgot to eat, too tired to think of food.

I began noting the symptoms I had—all culled from Google which distributed the manifestations on a day-to-day scale, a helpful map in a pandemic world swirling with disinformation. I knew I had hypochondriac powers to manifest symptoms in my body for assorted diseases I didn't actually have. For Day 1 to 3: I had fever, check. I had body aches, check. But I didn't have dry cough! It felt like a beacon of hope, that perhaps this was just the flu, which I doubted because I got vaccinated only last September, or what my brother hopefully diagnosed as dehydration, which was sweet.

Denial will always be a necessary defense, especially absent testing. I messaged my classes, citing my dilemma, and making hard choices regarding requirements with the term about to end. I messaged my friends with whom I had previous plans to have Friday dinner at a new restaurant that offered alfresco dining, and canceled my participation. I messaged my boyfriend to update him about the slow ravages to my body. All these while swimming in delirium. No one said it was COVID-19, always something else—plus I was not coughing! I said I'll monitor things, self-isolate, and hope for the best.

My boyfriend messaged back: "Can you still taste things?" I got up, and looked for the best, strongest flavour on my pantry.

I eagerly messaged back: "I can still taste Nutella!" That exclamation mark was happiness.


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