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Inside Sanpete: I Licked a Bar of Soap

By Merrill Ogden - | Aug 25, 2021

I had several ideas for the title of this column. Here are some of the title ideas which were runners-up: a) Bullet-Proof, Maybe Not, b) It Won’t Happen to Me, c) Vaccination Schmackshanation, d) Class Reunion, Bike Race, Church Meeting: Will the Real Culprit Please Stand Up? e) Isolation — Not Just for Unruly Prison Inmates. I could go on with this, but, thankfully for you, I won’t.

Many of you, by now, are catching the drift of my topic here today. I won’t beat around the bush. I tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday. Yep, I’ve got “the Rona.”

Let me be quick to say that I seem to be doing well and expect to come out the other side of my isolation in a few days as healthy as I was before this virus hit me. That may not be saying much, given that I’ve been recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, getting over a strained lower back, and am awaiting a procedure for a torn meniscus ligament in my knee.

I realize that many readers may be totally bored with what looks like a continuing and impending rundown of my personal health problems. But, just so you know, I don’t intend to talk about blood pressure, cholesterol, or any other ailment that I may, or may not, take medication for.

I don’t blame you if you bail-out now on the reading of this piece. However, if you stop now, you’ll miss the part of the story where I was naked and had an epiphany that motivated me to get tested for COVID-19.

I also want to hasten to say, at this point, that I seriously realize that the COVID-19 situation is not a joke. Some of us may be a little lighthearted about some aspects of the pandemic, but underlying it all is the stark reality that many have had serious struggles with the virus. And some, including Sanpete friends of mine and yours, have lost their struggles.

As for me, a fully vaccinated person as of last March (Moderna), I thought I had a “man-cold.” (“I think I’m getting sick.” The most dreaded words a wife can hear from her husband.)

My runny nose and sinus congestion escalated into a fever and a general “I feel crappy” kind of feeling. I self-isolated, not wanting to pass my “cold” on to anyone.

Friday morning, while showering (this is the naked part), I noticed that I wasn’t smelling the normal fragrances I was used to smelling while showering. My shampoo, soap, and body wash weren’t “tickling my nose” as usual. How odd.

I put the body wash container under my nose and pumped some puffs of air – nothing registered in my nose. I put the bar of soap under my nose and took a strong whiff — nothing.

I would now refer you to the title of today’s column. Go ahead. Look at it. Yes, that’s what I did. It was a little tentative lick for the first try. The second time, I mimicked a mother cow licking her new born calf with a full tongued serious effort. Lick! And, what did my taste buds perceive? Nothing! No “ick” from the lick!

It was confirmed. I’d lost my sense of smell and taste. Further tests in the kitchen with horseradish, minced garlic and spicy mustard added further verification.

There was no question that I needed to be tested. As it turned out, I was one of 1,116 new cases reported in Utah that day. Of those cases, I was one of 265 which were “breakthrough cases.” A fully vaccinated person who tests positive is known as a breakthrough case.

As of last Friday, there have been 8,022 breakthrough cases in Utah with 464 of those requiring hospitalization, and with 35 deaths. The death rate of fully vaccinated coronavirus patients is at 0.00233%

The Health Department reported, that “in the last 28 days, people who are unvaccinated have been at 5.8 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19, 6.4 times greater risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 4.9 times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19.

I can only guess as to how my illness may have been different, had I not been vaccinated. I know that there are varying opinions about all of this out there. I, for one, don’t regret having chosen to take the advice of trusted medical professionals when it has related to my recent health choice decisions.

As an un-official last word, and I don’t really recommend this, you might keep a bar of soap handy for self-testing. My son sent me a video of him licking a bar of soap. The result? “Yuckkk! – COVID Negative!” — Merrills

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