More than a month after his first symptoms of COVID-19, the singer-songwriter is isolating in "a House of Pain"
Singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson revealed over the weekend that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a post to his Instagram account, the 41-year-old musician discussed the fact that he had experienced symptoms of the disease a month earlier, including "chest pains, fever, and pre-stroke blood pressure levels." But when he sought out testing at the time, he was rebuffed by a doctor he described as "highly condescending," because—according to that doctor—Simpson didn't meet the criteria for testing, and was unlikely to have contracted the virus during his February tour of Western Europe.
As it turns out, that doctor was wrong about the prevalence of the virus in Europe at that time—and about Simpson's case in particular. When drive-thru testing finally became available in their area, Simpson and his wife got checked, and he came back positive. The news came just a few days after the death of Simpson's friend and fellow country singer-songwriter, John Prine, as a result of the novel coronavirus. Simpson memorialized Prine in a post that featured an image of them sitting on a motorcycle along with a heartfelt description of Prine's impact on him, closing with, "So long old man. You will always be loved."
Fortunately Simpson managed not to pass his infection on to his wife, but now that he has tested positive, he has moved into quarantine "in the dojo until April 19th." The dojo in question appeared in a previous post as a free-standing structure that Simpson referred to as "a House of Pain." His peculiar sense of humor makes it hard to discern whether this "dojo" actually functions as a martial arts studio—where combatants will face "a solid oak handshake" in lieu of mats. But it seems likely that whatever purpose the structure actually serves (possibly a rehearsal space or a recording studio), Simpson is telling the truth when he says he's "really wishing Id [sic] taken my wife's advice and put a bathroom in the floor plans..live and learn."
It's unclear what will happen on April 19th that will suddenly make it safe for him to return to the house he shares with his wife and three children in western Tennessee—perhaps another test is planned for that day—but in the meantime Simpson will have to find an alternative to indoor plumbing. Judging from various posts espousing his survival expertise and love of minimalist camping with the hashtag #ddss (Dick Daddy Survival School), he's likely to be digging some kind of latrine hole in the great outdoors, or possibly using a simple camping toilet for the next week.
Some of Simpson's commenters argue that he's unlikely to be contagious a month after his first symptoms and may be testing positive due to the presence of some non-viable remnants of the virus that his antibodies have already destroyed. But seeing as COVID-19 is still not well understood and is likely to operate differently in different hosts, Simpson is playing it safe by separating himself from his loved ones, and he's lucky enough to have a space where he can isolate—regardless of its lack of bathroom.
So the next time you flush a toilet, sing 20 seconds of "Life of Sin" while you wash your hands, and be thankful for running water.
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