I squirted some “wicked apple” soap onto my hands as a steady stream of warming water flowed from the faucet.

While in quarantine, my daily routine changed considerably, and there were few reasons to make the switch from glasses to contact lenses. Sometimes, though, a pair of fresh contacts greeting my corneas can be quite refreshing. So, on Wednesday, I washed my hands in preparation of putting in contacts for a couple hours. 

That’s when it hit me: That “wicked apple” soap didn’t smell like “wicked apple.” In fact, it smelled like nothing at all. I pumped out some more, and shoved it up to my nostrils. Nada. I ripped the cap off my deodorant and placed it under my nose. Nope. I sprayed some cologne in front of my face. Zilch. 

I had jinxed myself, I thought, because not 30 minutes prior I told a friend of mine over the phone that my sense of smell was still firmly intact. Suddenly, it was zapped.

I had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Sept. 13, after the virus spread through our household and infected three out of us four — my wife appears to have dodged it. 

Our COVID journey was largely uneventful, thankfully, and I believe the vaccine played a significant role. But back to that in a few moments.

Our bout began on the night of Sept. 2, when we were informed by a teacher that our son might have been exposed. Local schools and their employees, by the way, are doing an excellent job of staying on top of contact-tracing.

Our children are 11 and 9, so they’re too young for the shot. We were concerned, but not overly fretful because he was showing no symptoms whatsoever.

We scheduled a test for him for Monday, Sept. 6. We managed to retrieve a rapid test, thanks to some family members, by Saturday morning in order to satisfy our curiosity. He tested negative. We knew it might have been a little early in the process — and that even if he had it, the viral load wasn’t enough to be detected — but we thought perhaps he evaded it.

Two days later and still asymptomatic, our 9-year-old son tested positive.

We were pretty shocked, but considering what I read and hear every day, I wasn’t completely stunned.

So, now we are all in quarantine, and the rest of us were set to test on Wednesday, Sept. 8. 

By that point, our daughter had begun to exhibit a few symptoms — cough, low-grade fever (hovering around 100) and overall congestion.

So we weren’t surprised in the least at her positive result that night. However, my wife and I were still negative.

We masked up in the house, but it was nearly impossible to stay separated, especially when our kids called on us to assist with schoolwork. And we obliged — that happened to be one of my son’s vocabulary words that week. I relearned all about Mesopotamia as my daughter needed the most help on social studies, and, thanks to my son, I now know the storyline to “Flora & Ulysses” — Flora was a cynic and Ulysses was a squirrel who got sucked into a vacuum cleaner before Flora saved him and he somehow bounced back with super strength.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, I detected a slight headache but didn’t think much of it. I took some Advil, drank water and moved on. Early Monday morning, though — around 3 o’clock — my throat burned. I managed to get a few more hours of shut-eye and woke up with a runny nose; but the throat soreness had pretty much subsided. So, I’m just working away on my laptop, but a pile of tissues is mounting — more than just an early-morning battle with seasonal allergies, I thought.

I ventured down to a nearby King’s Daughters Family Care Center, where self-conducted tests are available. It was simple. All of the contents are handed to you, and you can just go out to your car and perform the test. The directions are plainly stated and easy to follow. I returned a clear tube containing my nasal swab, and labeled it with my name and birthdate. 

Tom Petty sang it best: “The waiting is the hardest part.” In the back of my mind, I knew I had probably contracted COVID. By about 3 a.m. Tuesday, the result was posted: COVID-19 detected.

We got even more serious about isolating and masking in the house, and it seems to have worked. My wife tested negative on Wednesday, Sept. 15, and still has not displayed any symptoms.

I’m busting out of quarantine today — the health department granted my release via text message.

I realize we are fortunate. Our daughter and I had mild symptoms and our son had none. I’m the only one who lost smell, and let me tell you, that is one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. But — and I truly think this is because of the vaccine — I’m already regaining smell. The Caesar’s dog food I just put out for Jocie, our Yorkie, helped verify that.

I’m counting blessings, but I know there are so many who’ve had much more unpleasant encounters with this lethal virus.

I have immunocompromised loved ones who I am thankful are vaccinated because they’ve contracted it and have had mild cases. Otherwise, it might have been more severe. 

I know of some unvaccinated people who have been fortunate as well, and that’s great, but I’d love to see everyone do everything they possibly can to help thwart the spread.

There are a few exceptions, but for most people, that means doing the following (of which the local health departments remind us every day): Get your COVID vaccine. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Protect the ones you love.

Reach AARON SNYDER at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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