Sharon Randall: Negative can be positive news

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 4, 2022

How should I describe this? Try to imagine, if you can, the way it might feel to wake up one morning and realize that, during the night while you slept curled up in your bed, you somehow got hit by an 18-wheeler pulling a double-wide mobile home.

I’d had sniffles for a few days, no fever or cough. Allergies, maybe. To be sure, I did a home test for Covid, waited and prayed for 15 minutes, and was very thankful to test negative. I wasn’t hit by a truck. It was just a cold. Remember the days when a cold was “just a cold”?

Since the start of the pandemic, even the slightest sniffle is enough to make me think maybe it’s time to put my affairs in order. In my case, that would mean cleaning my closet.

After so many months of face masks and social distancing, I can barely remember how it feels to have “just a cold.”

But I’ll never forget the day, about two years ago, when I phoned a friend who was hospitalized with Covid. She sounded so weak I wasn’t sure it was her. But when she heard my voice, she said, “Oh, I’m so glad you called! I am so sick!”

We’d been friends since we were little girls, through good times and bad, and I had never  heard her sound so ill.

Thankfully, she recovered, not quickly, but completely.

Since that day, I’ve often heard from readers who’ve lost loved ones to Covid. My heart goes out to them. It seems most everyone I know personally has had the virus, and fortunately survived it. My husband and I have tested on several occasions, and always been thankful for good results.

After testing negative a few days ago, I wanted to believe I had “just a cold.” But it kept getting worse. Then, when I woke up yesterday feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, I decided maybe the test had been wrong.

I’ve known several people — you probably have, too — who tested negative one day, then positive two days later. So I took another home test. Waited and prayed another 15 minutes. And once again, I was thankful and relieved to test negative.

Yet, the way I felt seemed to say it was not “just a cold.” It was a nasty bug I never wanted to give to anyone. To limit the risk to my husband, I’ve been keeping my distance, sleeping in the guest room, using a separate bathroom and covering my mouth when I cough.

But when he insists on bringing me water or coffee or chicken soup or brownies, I don’t argue. I just say, “Thanks.” He says, “You’re welcome,” and I’m pretty sure he means it.

This morning, I rolled over in the guest bed and reached for a pillow I was given years ago by a friend. One side of it is embroidered with these words: “I love you to the moon and back.” The other side has a pocket for her photo. I took out the photo and, despite how sick I felt, her beautiful smiling face lit me up like Christmas.

In a day or so, if I still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, I’ll probably get a lab test. And clean my closet. But today I’m feeling well cared for and trusting I’m on the mend.

It’s no fun to feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. But it helps to spend time waiting, praying, being well cared for and getting the glorious gift of good news.

I hope you will never for any reason get sick. If you do, I hope you’re blessed to have someone who loves you enough to bring you water and coffee and chicken soup and brownies.

I hope you take hope knowing countless others have recovered from the same illness you suffer.

Sick or well, I hope you’re surrounded by smiling faces that light you up like Christmas.

And if you or a loved one ever need to test for Covid, I surely hope you’ll get good results.

Negative can be positive news.

Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some.” She can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924 or