Surviving COVID-19 in California

November 24, 2021 Updated: November 27, 2021


I came down with COVID-19. It’s been mild so far. I thought readers might like to know what it’s like getting through it in California.

I’m only going to mention briefly that I didn’t get the vaccine. I have my reasons. I understand the science. I never discouraged anyone from getting it. Several of my friends have gotten it and have done fine, avoiding COVID. Maybe I’m just an ornery American who doesn’t like government dictates. Use your own judgment. It’s still a free country.

Day 1. Nov. 17, Wednesday

In the afternoon I started feeling a little weird. I’ve taking my temperature almost daily since the pandemic started in March 2020, using a hand-held device like they have in hospitals.

Temperature: 97.9, normal. It would stay there throughout the ordeal, with one exception on Day 2.

Symptoms: dizziness, chills, coughing, wheezing, exhaustion. Sort of like a mild cold—which I knew it was not. I did not lose my sense of taste, as some of my friends have, but did lose 90 percent of my appetite. A convenient excuse for weight loss.

I used one of those store-bought test kits, $26. I waited 10 anxious minutes as the test strip rested in the little vial of liquid. I pulled it out. Result: a blue stripe and a pink stripe. Positive.

I called my personal physician of 20 years. The last time I saw him for a checkup was a couple months ago. He reiterated his advice from then: Go to Hoag Hospital, get tested. If positive, get monoclonal antibodies—Regeneron. It was late at night, so he said go at 7:00 am the next morning.

I have gone to Hoag for decades, but recently switched insurance. I asked if I should go to another hospital where my new Medicare insurance is good. He said, No. The government pays for the test, Regeneron, etc.

I’ve had good experience with Hoag Emergency. They treated me for diverticulitis in 2010 and a separated left shoulder in 2017. That was the Newport Beach hospital.

Day 2. Nov. 18, Thursday

This time I chose Hoag Irvine, because it’s a little closer and there’s less traffic from where I now live. I got there at 8:00 am. They checked me in and took me back to a single room and closed the door to seal me in. I was masked through all this.

The nurses and other medical people all were fantastic. They were nice and understanding. I wish I had gotten their names, but wasn’t at my peak during my time there. Usually I would read their name tags and remember them. But everyone was wearing those billowing yellow antiseptic gowns over their medic outfits.

They gave me the PCR test, more accurate than the home test. Positive.

The doctor gave me the news through the PA system. Alone in the sealed room, a patient un-etherized upon a table. Her voice seemed disembodied, beaming down from the ceiling.

“John, this is doctor …” didn’t catch her name. “You tested positive for COVID. We are going to give you Regeneron. Any questions?”

“No. Thank you.”

“They’ll be in soon.”

Although my case has been mild, it was and is worrisome because I have several co-morbidities: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, age 66. Any one of them qualified me for Regeneron. I asked if four qualifiers would mean four doses.

The nice nurse gave me one. She put in an IV device, only slightly painful. Shortly after, through the IV she infused me with the Regeneron, which took 15 minutes. She said it was not a cure, but should help with the symptoms. And they would keep me there another hour to see if there were any adverse reactions to the treatment. She said she had applied many doses and never seen any reaction.

My oxygen level through that device they put on your finger held steady at a strong 95 percent. This is the one time when my temperature spiked a little, to 99 degrees.

Also, my pulse was racing this whole day, at more than 100 bpm, even resting. But that ended the next day, returning to normal, as registered on my Apple Watch.

The great medical people checked me out and I went home. I was really fatigued, wondering about what would happen. I went to sleep and didn’t get up for 10 hours, at 2:00 am. I read for a couple of hours about COVID progression, etc. Then I slept another 5 hours. Total: 15 hours.

Usually I sleep 6-7 hours a night, 8 on the weekends. Sometimes an afternoon nap. So it was double sleep.

Day 3. Nov. 19, Friday

I got up around 10:00 am feeling not too bad. The symptoms were there: wheezing, coughing, a lot of aches, little appetite. Temperature: normal. Pulse had returned to normal.

I was strictly quarantining. So there wasn’t much to do. I don’t binge watch, but do watch movies or television shows now and then. I figured I might as well work, doing some reading and writing. If you’re a freelance writer, the rule is: no words, no bucks.

About 2:00 pm I was fatigued and slept for three hours. I got up and wrote some more. Watched a video and went back to sleep.

Appetite almost nil. I ate about 600 calories.

Throughout this ordeal, friends and relatives have been praying for me, offering to bring me food and leave it at my doorstep. I have been texting and phoning them. My thanks to all.

Day 4. Nov. 20, Saturday

About the same. Vitals still good. Just felt crummy, fatigued. A friend dropped off some great chicken noodle soup from Mother’s Market. We followed strict social distancing. That was about all I ate that day, but fortunately my taste still was okay.

Some work and writing. It’s funny, because I still can write, but have to be extra methodical. I’ve been doing this now for 46 years, so it’s automatic. But with COVID-19 clogging my brain a little, as I also write this, it’s a little bit like going in slow motion.

Amazon delivered a Wellue Pulse Oximeter. Blood oxygen then and since: 93-97 percent.

Also took naps and went to bed early.

Day 5. Nov. 21, Sunday

I missed going to Mass, but it couldn’t be helped. I read the Bible, read some other stuff. No writing. Mostly rested. Watched a movie.

Day 6. Nov. 22, Monday

Felt a little better. Vitals still good. Wrote a lot. The main thing that remains is fatigue, foggy brain. Appetite started to return, a good sign. A friend brought me a favorite: buffalo wings from Watson’s on the Orange Circle.

Early in the day, it seemed some symptoms were getting worse. I took a nap and felt a lot better.

Tired, so I went to be early. Nine hours of straight sleep. I could tell because there were zero steps recorded on my Apple Watch.

By the way, that’s a great device. When my iPhone conked out in July and I got a new one at T-Mobile, the girl suggested I also get an Apple Watch at a special price of $200. I figured I could try it, and if I didn’t like it, take it back. The health features alone are worth it.

Although I’m a little apprehensive about ending up as a robot.

It’s Nov. 22, so I was remembering JFK 1963. I was in 3rd grade at Elliott Elementary School in Michigan when a teacher from another class came in—Mrs. Churchill—exclaiming, “He’s been shot! He’s been shot!” They sent us all home.

Day 7. Nov. 23, Tuesday

Woke up feeling somewhat better. Still a little clogged in the head, which my enemies say is chronic anyway. Oddly, some of the aches and pains of old age—such as residual pain from my 2017 separated shoulder—receded during the earlier COVID days, but are back.

Appetite mostly returned. I ordered breakfast and coffee through GrubHub, which for some reason I had never done these past couple of years. It arrived fast, and the driver dropped it off on my doorstep.

I’ve been thinking of friends and relatives who got COVID and ended up really sick. One went to the hospital for a week. One back in Michigan might have died of it, although she was 93 and frail already.

I’m still not sure how this will end for me. A friend who got over it last spring still has some delayed memory problems.

I like working, so if I can keep writing like this, despite a slightly cloudy head, I’ll be okay. I also can read fine, although I’m a little slow. I’ve been reading Hegel’s lectures on history almost as well as before. Reading thick German idealism might actually be easier with a slightly fuzzy head.

Starting to get some cabin fever, but I’ll keep self-isolating. The doctor at Hoag said do so for 10 days, so a couple more to go.

A little tired. Time for a nap.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary to California State Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at