Sophia Fox '20

Sophia Fox '20

Sophia Fox

Getting an Ear Infection in the Age of COVID-19

After four days of staying up late with friends, crying constantly about a stolen senior year, and consistently forgetting to eat dinner, I knew I would be in far from perfect health by the time I got back home to Sacramento. When, two days into "self-isolation" I woke up with a painful wooshing sound in my ear, as well chills and extreme sweating, I knew I had an ear infection. 

Few people would describe me as "childlike" but I do have a special ability to catch childish illness. When I get an ear infection it’s never just one ear; always both, always with a massive fever. So after a day of seeing me convulse from chills and sweat through all of my clothes, my mom decided to bring me to our local urgent care. And boy did they have an absolute field day with me.

My mom checked me in and I am not exactly sure what she said to them, but they were in full freak out mode by the time I got in there. I was given a mask, asked if I had a cough (no), a fever (very clearly yes), trouble breathing (no), body aches (nope), or a headache (also no). “Well you went to France recently, when did you get back?!” one of the nice but terrified nurses demanded. When I informed her that I actually went to West Virginia recently, she simply refused to believe it (as did the next four people to ask me).

I got my temp taken 3 times, blood pressure twice, and I had to remind them several times that I was in fact here because my eardrums felt like they were about to rupture. The doctor informed me that I would be tested for the flu, given a chest x-ray, and be tested for covid-19. How, in a time of national testing shortages a small clinic in El Dorado Hills, CA had a covid test, and why they decided to use it on me is beyond my powers of deduction. For those of you who have not been tested for covid before, they basically take a tiny toilet bowl brush and shove it up your nose. It is painful, and it made me sneeze which made the nurses freak out.

After about half an hour I convinced the doctor to please, for the love of God just check my ears. The doctor took one look in and proudly announced that my eardrums were about to rupture, and that is what was causing the fever and lack of other coronavirus symptoms. (This was a medical experience second only to the time that my general doctor spent 45 minutes trying to convince me I was pregnant because I had not gotten a menstrual cycle in 18 months, biological reality and basic math be damned.)

They gave me three shots of what I am pretty sure were steroids (I felt like I could run through a wall), antibiotics, and a happy assurance that I probably did not have covid-19. Two days earlier I was hauling what were once my possessions out to a dumpster because I simply did not have enough time to pack them. That night, I was calmer and more levelheaded than the doctors and nurses around me were, even with a 103 fever. Life is universally weird right now, and it’s ok to panic a little bit, but I found that now more than ever before a little bit of rational thinking and a lot of trust in yourself will take you further than it ever has.

Sophia Fox '20
March 2020