image via Drop the Label

Being Fat, Having Covid, and (To Take or Not To Take) Paxlovid

Savala Nolan
7 min readFeb 17, 2023

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Tuesday night was odd. My head felt wooshy when I turned it all the way left or right, but not when I did it just a bit. My shoulders ached. I found myself gazing at the kitchen sink, its stack of glasses and plates and the bits of food I’d scraped off them, the green ruffled heads of strawberries and a few olive pits, with zero will to clean, though, thinking of my future self, the one who will wake up to prepare yet another meal in this same kitchen, I almost always do. But Tuesday night I was too tired. I lay on the couch, eyes closed, and told my kiddo to read her book, mama needed to rest.

Wednesday morning’s workout was rough, my body feeling leaden and brittle as I swung a kettlebell around my head and then lowered into a squat for the battle ropes. I drained my water in the first fifteen minutes. I ran a towel over my face with the annoyed desperation that comes from being winded and fatigued and irritated by one’s own sweat. I told my trainer I might not have eaten enough breakfast.

But by Wednesday afternoon, when walking to the bathroom sent waves of pain through my body, and when my nose began to run and my throat began to ache, I finally thought to myself: oh, this might be Covid. I swirled the long swap inside my nostrils, counting to five and trying to ignore the electric tickle. I set the timer to…

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Savala Nolan

uc berkeley law professor and essayist @ vogue, time, harper’s, NYT, NPR, and more | Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins | she/her | IG @notquitebeyonce