A personal story of a passioned foodie experiencing the loss of taste and smell during COVID including a diary on how to handle this unknown journey
Welcome to my personal experience of Covid! In this little – very personal guide – I would like to share what exactly happened from the moment I felt the first symptoms to the day of recovery. The blog post includes suggestions and helpful procedures to make this isolation time more suitable for the mind, body & soul. All you read is based on a personal experience and excludes any medical validation. My aim is to share how I experienced all of this and maybe be a little light on the whole covid chaos.
How everything began – Day 1 of my first symptoms
It all started with a dry cough and a little sore throat. At this stage, I did not really relate my symptoms to covid yet. This is also a reason why I was still meeting some few friends for a walk or a coffee. On the second day it continued a bit with the sore throat, I felt more tired and I did also sweat during the night. This is when I started to stop seeing people and I kind of thought, well, it could be covid is coming.
When taste and smell are gone
The third day was the day I decided to go for a covid test since I experienced the disappearance of my taste and smell and somehow my body felt very tired and powerless. From the day I knew, I am going to take the test I did not see any people and I isolated myself at home. I was lucky to have a friend that brought me some food and groceries I needed! As an Italian, and as my parents thought me, a basic food stock as tomato sauce, pasta, rice, cheese, nuts, or frozen veggies can’t miss at home.
Where to go for the COVID test in Zurich
I checked online where the best/fastest available place was to get tested. Since some as Triemli Spital showed availability only in 2-3 days I decided to do it at Universitätsspital/Reisezentrum.
As of now covid tests can also be made in pharmacies. Here some pharmacies in Zurich that offer the service:
- Apotheke Paradeplatz
- Apotheke Stadelhofen
- Apotheke Morgenthal
- Apotheke Europaallee
- Apotheke Einkaufszentrum Regensdorf
According to information from Pharmasuisse, the rapid tests react to viral antigens and deliver a result within 15 minutes. This requires a smear of the posterior nasal wall. Advantages of the rapid test compared to the PCR test currently in use are not only the speed but also the price and independence from expensive laboratory equipment. Costs for tests are covered by the government if you have symptoms or were in contact with an infected person. If this is not the case, you have to take care of the costs yourself, but you can send in your invoice to the health insurance!
What happens after the covid test is made?
So, I was sitting at home waiting for the test result, but honestly, I knew the covid virus hit me because the missing smell and taste was something so unknown to me the way it was. Can’t explain the feeling, but it’s not coming because you feel a blocked nose, it’s just no taste and smell. The result arrived after 24 hours and I was curious about what would happen next. On the one hand with my body on the other hand on the administrative part.
I got an SMS some hours later telling me, that someone from the contact tracing would call me. I was sitting there and waiting but nobody ever called. What I received was an email, where I got instructions on how to behave, what means, stay home, and inform all people I met 48 hours before the first symptom appeared. Further, a questionnaire to fill in all symptoms I returned immediately.
What I really missed in all this very impersonal information was a call of someone telling you where to address if there is an emergency or uncertainty with the symptom that arise
Day 3 to day 6 are a real rollercoaster
My symptoms seem to be consistent the next days with no taste and no smell. I have no fever and still feel my muscles and brain tired and slow. Nevertheless, I try to do some yoga exercises to understand how my body reacts to fatigue. I experience that it’s good for my mind to be a little active. Meditation helps me to stay calm and accept the fact, that I have no idea, which symptoms will appear in the next few days.
Day 6-8 put me somehow in difficulty and fear since I experience for the first time a strong pressure and heat in my chest. It feels like there is a radiator that burns in my chest. This is the day I decide to call the AERZTEFON (Tel. 0800 33 66 55). I do not really go regularly to see a doctor since I am quite in good shape so I try the number I got from the pharmacy.
The doctor on the phone is very friendly and calms me, she takes my coordinates and explains to me, that everything seems to be in the “norm” and that I shall observe the pressure and breathing quality. She says bye and assures me, that I can call anytime and they will send a doctor if I do feel I need one. So I hang up and go to bed and try to relax with a good Netflix series!
Power food to eat during your covid self-care
On Day 7 the smell is still not there but somehow I keep myself busy by cooking some easy dishes such as veggie soups since I know my body needs vitamins and honestly it keeps me busy and positive to work in the kitchen!
During the whole day, I drink a lot! Absolutely recommend the turmeric tea from the brand Sonnentor made of the ingredients that support the immune system! (turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, fennel, liquorice, black pepper, vanilla pod, and cloves).
When it comes to the right food when at home with covid I made a little research online and found out that food rich in potassium sources could be considered a basic nutrition education strategy for self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more on this study here
The use of culinary herbs like oregano, sage and cinnamon as well as increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is encouraged to improve antioxidant levels in the body
Another food suggestion you shouldn’t miss: Eat raw garlic! Its regular consumption can help treat and manage lung disorders including cancer! Garlic contains a phytonutrient called allicin. This is what helps in attacking microbes causing infection.
My symptoms seem to be consistent with the no taste and smell, still no fever but the pressure and twinge in my chest are continuing. My sleep is deep and I wake up quite “normal” in this first week.
Recommended online food shopping to try when locked at home
I was very happy to find the online delivery shop Mahler & Co. for organic food. They were super fast (2 days of delivery) and have a wide selection of quality biological food including organic wines. This is where I placed my order of a red biodynamic Ripasso! Because you need to be ready when the taste starts to come back, right? No, I did not consume alcohol while being sick 🙂
This annoying smell of burn is still here after day 9
It seems as if a lot of symptoms are gone, the only thing that irritates me is the smell of burnt in my nose! While after day 9 the taste is nearly all back there is a little thing that keeps annoying me. I smell burnt in my nose! I read online, that the taste of burn is normal and that it is a sign that the senses are recovering from the virus. Well, at least it makes it easier to get along with that topic, and I know, patience will help also here!
Is all this coming soon to an end after 10 days?
Day 10 and I feel like all is nearly gone, wow, it’s an amazing experience, my body seems semi-normal, I still do not have 100% of my power back but all other symptoms seem to be gone. I realize when I do my yoga exercises, that the strength in my body is coming back, also the taste is back and no smell of burnt around! I notice only some little pressure in the chest but it doesn’t alarm me. Nevertheless, since I want to understand if it is ok to have this procedure of symptoms I decide to call again the Areztefon. The doctor assures me, that mostly they experience this kind of light second symptom wave after 10 days in a lot of patients. This calms me and I switch of my Netflix again to enjoy my evening!
Day 11 to Day 14 – YEY I have my power back – when can I go out?
The feeling of being healed is finally here! According to a lot of information on the web and guidance of the BAG after 10 days the body is healed. Now it’s important to be 48 hours symptom-free and the time to be able to leave the house is here.
Some people may think, that it’s too early to leave the house, you don’t know if you will still have symptoms and transmit the virus to someone. The thing is, once you have the virus in your body and you go through the whole illness you feel like your body is healed. And leaving the house after being symptom-free for 48 hours doesn’t mean you go to the next party or in spaces full of people. The use of common sense is a rule for plenty of other topics in life, no? It’s a delicate issue and since there is a lot of information I understand people being confused and especially scared. So don’t worry about what others say, go your own way!
If you can’t handle the unknown an option could be to make a second test and have it officially on paper, that the virus is gone. But here you find several opinions and theories, too. The doctors I asked were of the opinion that doing a PCR test can result still in positive since part of the virus remain in the blood for 2-3 month. Another piece of advice I got in a pharmacy was to do an antibody blood test after 1-2 months to see if the virus is still in the blood. Here I found several services online offering this test, but I did not try them personally.
For all the ones that want to know more about the available tests, read this official BAG information
or this very useful article from Harvard Medical School.
How my body and health changed after covid
I can say that after covid my body feels often dehydrated, I need to drink more water than before. My throat feels constantly dry with a dry cough (no pains). As a migraine patient over several years I also noticed much more headaches than before covid. My physical strength was back after 8 weeks approximately, and that feeling is amazing! An X-Ray of my chest confirmed, that luckily I had no damage to my lungs!
Ways of keeping yourself positive and busy during the time at home – working, cooking, painting & zoom
Being an experienced remote worker staying at home for me never meant boredom. Luckily there is always something to do and I admit, it was a good distraction to be able to work! Of course, the brain worked slow but hey, it’s okay! I have a wonderful team around me that supported me also in this!
An activity that always keeps me busy is cooking! Believe me, the first days were weird with the *nonsmell* and taste issue, but I ignored that fact and continued my cooking journey. I baked some bread and made some fresh spreads and the usual simple dishes such as oven veggies, soups, pasta, or risotto rice. I found a beautiful blog called The First Mess that I immediately fell in love with. Absolutely recommend it!
Paint it nice!
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”
– Vincent Van Gogh
Did you know, that painting is a secret passion of mine?
It’s amazing how my creativity flows once I have the brush and paint under my fingers. I had this idea to use food for my painting for a while so this was the time to do it and it was really a lot of fun! A spicy, colourful and drunk painting for the kitchen of my friend was born!
Meditate and keep your mind calm!
A lot of people say they try to meditate, which is a good start. My advice: practice it frequently in order to get to that status of mind, where everything around you is switched off.
Try this meditation and let me know, what you think about it! I love it, 15 minutes every day will clean your thoughts and keep you down to earth while others freak out 😉
Let your friends & family be part of your time at home
Being stuck at home means no social contact and we all know, that we need this kind of quality contact in our life. When I had the need to be in contact with my friends or family I just told them that I need some virtual attention! I personally think that it is very important to communicate your needs since sometimes people are just too busy with their own life and they don’t do it per purpose but they forget to call or send you a little text.
What else to say, stay healthy, follow your common sense, and hit me up if you have any questions!
If you’re in the mood to travel virtually get a read in my travel section!
Sending you love and good vibes! Marina