Noah Elliott is a member of the U.S. Paralympic Team who won gold and bronze medals at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Here, he writes from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where he is currently recovering from COVID-19.
We were doing a training camp at Mount Hood, Oregon, and one of our teammates tested positive for COVID. I took the COVID test and about two days later got the results. It was very weird because I found out Dec. 16 that I was positive, and I still had no symptoms at all.
We’d all quarantined to make sure in case we did have it that we weren’t spreading it anywhere else. Now I’ve got coronavirus. What am I going to do? I’m stuck in this hotel room. I’m not going to be moving for the next 10, 12 days.
That night after the test results, I actually had a little bit of wine that somebody gave me a couple days before. I remember drinking it and thinking that this is the smoothest-tasting wine I have ever had. It wasn’t bitter or anything. Later on, I found out that I was losing my sense of taste, and that’s why it was so smooth.
The next morning, Dec. 17, I couldn’t taste anything at all. It was really weird, too, because my sinuses started to act up, as well. It felt insanely dried out like I had been in the desert for weeks and weeks and I hadn’t had any water. But there was still mucous in there. It was definitely a weird mix.
It made eating food really boring. I didn’t really know what I was eating. I couldn’t taste it, but I could feel the texture. I was just trying these different types of food, just to figure out if I could actually taste anything. In the morning, I actually brushed my teeth with this minty toothpaste and then drank orange juice after. I figured I’d have to be able to taste that, but no, nothing, nothing at all.
On Dec. 18, my body ached so badly. I mostly felt it in my hips and my butt, so I thought it was just from sitting around so much. Especially when I first got up, just moving felt like my bones were going to break. It was bizarre.
I had gone through cancer in the past and had to go through some serious chemotherapy and different medicines, so I know how that feels. It almost reminded me of times when I was in the hospital going through treatments.
Also, with COVID I was sleeping way more than usual. If I went to bed at 9 p.m., I wouldn’t wake up until like 10 a.m. That’s a lot of sleep for me.
My body has experienced so much shock and trauma from the cancer that I had. My body is familiar with going through illness. I had already been through worse. To me, COVID was just kind of another bump in the road. If I wasn’t as well trained and as fit and healthy as I am today, that could have been a lot worse. I was definitely better prepared for it.
I felt better about Dec. 28 or 29, but I’m still very tired. I still sleep more than I did before. My sense of taste is thankfully back now.
I finally got back on the snow Jan. 5. I rode really, really hard. I mean, I rode all day. It was a powder day, so everything about it was just awesome.
COVID definitely set us back. We were quarantined for an extra 10 days that we could have been using for training. You can’t change the situation. You’ve been dealt cards, and you have to make the best out of the hand you have. I think I’ve been doing that.
Christmas with my daughter was put on hold. I had to figure out another way for my daughter to experience Christmas. It was tough. It was very tough. It worked out, but it definitely wasn’t fun.
Some people genuinely don’t take COVID seriously or don’t believe in it. And I think that right there is a problem. Wearing a mask is very, very important, and it’s not for you. It’s more so for other people. I would hate to be the person who goes to town and contaminates someone who has a grandma or a grandpa at home who is now going to face severe complications and could possibly pass away just because I didn’t wear a mask.
I think taking this virus seriously, taking the right precautions, being safe and knowing what to do is very important.