family health

The Mother of All Sore Throats

It started with a scratchy throat, nasal congestion, and a bit of a cough last Tuesday.

Have y’all noticed during this pandemic that anytime you come down with symptoms that seem like a cold, the flu, or allergies, surely you’ve got Covid?

Even though I’ve been vaccinated and boosted, with the Omicron variant running around, I figured I’d better take a test. We had a box of at-home tests, so I took one and tested negative. Great! Must be something minor.

A couple of days later, I woke with the Mother of All Sore Throats. Tonsils swollen, red throat, extremely hard to swallow. It felt like I had swallowed broken glass and gotten it stuck in my throat. I haven’t had a sore throat this bad this since I was a kid. In addition, I had a slight cough, was a little achy and very tired, but had no fever. Took another at-home rapid test. Negative.

But, in my scanning the news for how Omicron behaves (often starting with a scratchy or sore throat) in those who have been vaccinated, it seems that the at-home tests might not catch it because not enough of the virus is in the nasal cavity.

Okay, time to get a PCR test to confirm. Except that the soonest I could schedule a PCR test was Monday, several days away from Thursday’s at-home test. Being on the cusp of the Christmas holiday weekend, I couldn’t risk exposing people if I had Covid and the at-home tests didn’t catch it.

Also, and perhaps this is the greater lesson, whether I was dealing with Covid or not, I was still sick with a rotten sore throat and shouldn’t be passing it along to other folks.

We canceled our family gatherings and I’ve been staying home. Hubby had no symptoms and never developed them. Not only is he vaccinated and boosted, he also caught a mild case of Covid in October and we quarantined at that point. He suspects he has “super ‘munities” now. Because we were careful about staying in separate rooms during quarantine, I didn’t catch Covid when he had it. Once I take the PCR test tomorrow, I’ll hopefully know within the week whether this is Covid or something else.

The Mother of All Sore Throats is slowly getting better, but there was one night that I woke in a panic because I couldn’t seem to clear my throat no matter how often I swallowed and I was swallowing a lot. What went through my mind was how overcrowded hospitals are with Covid patients right now and how overworked hospital staff are. If I had to go to the emergency room, there was a good chance I’d be waiting hours and hours to be seen.

I managed to calm myself down. I propped my head and shoulders up on an extra pillow to allow gravity to help clear my throat. That got me through the night, along with a cup of water by the bed.

The following day, I did an internet search of home remedies to soothe a sore throat and congestion and followed several of them (gargling with salt water, drinking tea with honey, using some Vick’s VapoRub, sucking on cough drops, and eating a popsicle). All of these have helped and I haven’t had as much trouble clearing my throat.

No matter the cause of this sore throat, this pandemic affects everything and it isn’t done with us yet.

Addendum, December 29, 2021: Just got the results of my Covid PCR test back: Negative. Which means the nasty sore throat, which is gone now (thank goodness!), was not caused by Covid.