My Bizarre “Not Covid” Covid Experience

Stella Guan
9 min readJul 7, 2022

I never tested positive, until an antibody test

After coming back from a three-week trip to Europe recently, I thought I developed severe jet lag.

My head was heavy for half of a day. I was falling sleep as early as 7:00 pm.

Classic jet lag symptoms that should disappear in a few days and perhaps a major sign of aging. Yikes — I thought to myself.

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

By the next day, my tiredness had not improved and I started to see signs of a new symptom — my throat had become scratchy. I had been suffering from GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), also more common known as acid reflux, for years, after suffering from an excruciating, life-changing stomach inflammation. It must be because of that — after all, I did break my “no tomato and no coffee” rule while I was in Italy that I abide by normally to avoid producing too much acid. Italy is truly a magical place that can easily break the strictest dietary restrictions.

The next morning, I developed a fever. Uh oh, this is not good.

The next couple of days were a blur. I developed classic textbook symptoms of Omicron — fever, chills, body ache, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, cough, congestion and night sweat. I think almost the entire “catalog” of symptoms got to me. Interestingly, not all symptoms happened at the same time. Some went away after a few days, and others persisted.

I think almost the entire “catalog” of symptoms got to me.

I Tested Negative For A Total of 7 Times

My immediate reaction was to go get a Covid test. I initially tested with the widely-used home test kit that the U.S. government gave out for free.

Negative. Just one line came up when I was fully expecting two.

I wasn’t convinced. A quick Google search yielded a testing center only 10 minutes by foot away from my home. I could even get a PCR test for free with insurance coverage. It seems like a no brainer.

A few hours later, the rapid PCR test came back from the testing center. Negative, again.

I was perplexed, but not entirely lost.