Phantom symptoms

Am I the only one who has been feeling my forehead, palpating the glands in my neck, and imaging various other phantom symptoms, wondering whether I’ve caught the virus? Probably if you’re not sure whether you have a fever you don’t have a fever. Nevertheless, I decided to take my temperature just to make sure, only to discover the battery in the thermometer was flat.

Our thermometer is about 13 years old now so it has lasted us well. I thought I’d upgrade to one of those ones you stick in your ear but they’re completely sold out everywhere. Every type of thermometer is completely sold out, in shops and online. We managed to unscrew our old one and replace the tiny battery. It works now and I don’t have a fever at all; just a good dose of hypochondria. The minute I saw my temperature was normal, I no longer felt hot. Funny how the mind works.

It was the same during the earthquakes. Everyone in Christchurch felt phantom earthquakes. These were usually just buses or trucks driving past your house or some other deep rumbling noise that triggered a physiological response in your body to prepare for another aftershock. It took 6 months after we moved away from Christchurch for my body to stop responding to trucks driving past the house.

Today the government announced that it would pay up to 80% of the wages of those unable to work because of the outbreak in the hope companies will keep people employed. It’s very timely because today all clubs, bars, gyms, and restaurants have been ordered to close. They effectively have no way to generate income.

We are all still allowed to leave our homes, provided we’re not experiencing symptoms, non-phantom ones that is. But we must maintain physical distance from others which means no team sports or play dates. Exercise is fine as long as it doesn’t involve people congregating together or driving somewhere in groups in shared cars. Cycling was specifically mentioned as a good activity which I was pleased to hear so we’ll be doing plenty of that for as long as we’re allowed.

I imagine that people are struggling with all the uncertainty and the additional stress and anxiety that comes with it. I feel like I understand a bit about this because of my earthquake experience and my advice is to not try to suppress these feelings. Talk about how you feel, write about it, be kind to yourself, do things that give you pleasure, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well.

6 Replies to “Phantom symptoms”

  1. Am I the only one who has been feeling my forehead, palpating the glands in my neck, and imaging various other phantom symptoms, wondering whether I’ve caught the virus?

    I can confirm, you’re not the only one 🙂 Hope all is well on your side!

    1. We’re all fine here. If anything the kids are a bit too happy about school stopping. They’ll be longing for school again by the time this is all over. How are you doing?

      1. Glad to hear! We’re fine as well, just hunkered down at home and riding it out.

  2. No, you’re not alone! I awoke this morning with a scratchy throat and achy joints. I have allergies which become very active this time of year, and I have arthritis in the right shoulder and hip, so Occam’s razor, I should have attributed both symptoms to my existing chronic ills. Because I’ve been reading far too much news about the coronavirus however, I immediately ran to the bathroom and whipped out my thermometer (which has a working battery, thank goodness). Comically, my temperature was a good three degrees below normal. I took a naproxen capsule for the joint aches and took a hot shower, followed by a breakfast of hot oatmeal and berries, and I was fine, and likely thinking a lot more rationally.

    I suppose it would help to stop the coronavirus alerts on my phone and go for a walk in the garden (with no others around). It’s hard not to give in to the general panic, though. Stay well!

  3. It’s a bit strange and I can see how strangeness could well make people anxious but I still think living through an earthquake must have been worse.
    Hope Ben’s Uni students are OK. Rhiannon is very stressed not knowing how Finals will work now.

    1. Yes, I don’t know whether it was the earthquake experience that has made me stronger and made this seem much easier or just that it really is easier.

      It must be hard for students with exams. I think they’ve cancelled the 1st and 2nd year exams here which may seem great but many students will be disappointed because they’ll calculate results based on previous assessment.

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