It was sometime after June 5th. I don’t know how we got it and at this point it doesn’t really matter to us, speculating on it is a waste of energy. All I know is that my husband started developing symptoms first, then I followed shortly thereafter. He knew in his gut it was COVID-19. I tried to hold on to the hope that is was the usual summer cold that we’ve both been known to come down with. Then the tests came back, I couldn’t have been more wrong, we both had it. The next three and a half weeks were going to be long and scary, we were going to find out the hard way just how badly our bodies could betray us.
My husband will get a fever even if he develops a mild cold. When he came home from work complaining that he didn’t feel good I took it in stride. This happens almost every summer. He took his temperature later that night and it was slightly elevated, nothing to write home about. Also, he’s been known to be somewhat of a hypochondriac over the years, so I didn’t rush right out and contact the CDC. The next day I started feeling “off.” My eye sockets started burning and my energy level was non-existent. Unlike my husband I am not prone to fevers. I’ve been known to be sick with the flu, sinus infections, or what have you. Rarely do I run a temp. When I saw that I was running a 102 fever I knew it could not be good. Unfortunately that was only the tip of the iceberg.
I’m 50 years old and to say that I’ve never been this sick in my entire life is telling. At one point I wanted to board our dogs and voluntarily go to the hospital, only to be told that they don’t want us. You only go to the hospital when you cannot breath and your turning blue. You basically only go there to get on a ventilator or die. The only other time in my life when I was so scared that actually being dead was a possibility was when I was the manager at a video store in the early 2000’s and two men came and put a gun to my head in a robbery.
We were so sick that nothing mattered anymore. Not my social media projects. Not the podcast that I produce and co-host. Not PRIDE month. Not my beloved video games. Not being at the beach on Sunday with our friends. Nothing. I didn’t talk to anyone other than my mother. I didn’t want my friends to know or anyone else to know what had happened to us. I didn’t want people stigmatizing us. I talk to my friend Cory as least every other day, finally after not hearing from me for three weeks I got a text asking if I were alive. Writing this blog is hard and uncomfortable for me. I wasn’t going to do it, but I’m trying to reach people. I’m trying to show you that this is not a hoax, stunt, or just some government conspiracy to try to take away your rights by making you wear a mask. I can’t believe I need to even say this, but if the government wanted to control you, they would NOT do it by trying to make you wear a surgical or any other kind of mask. First of all facial recognition software doesn’t work if your picked up on camera and you have a mask on. Isn’t facial recognition just one of the ways the government is trying to control us? The government would try to control us with microchip under our skin, tattooed bar codes or soldiers on every street corner brandishing a gun. NOT surgical masks. You might as just admit it, you don’t want to wear a mask simply because you don’t want to wear a mask. I mean I get it no one wants to wear one but on the other hand what happened to the times when we pulled together as a country in crisis? What happened to the times we all did something none of us wanted to do for the greater good of our community?
People who really know me know that I’m not an alarmist, I don’t panic and I’m not being overly dramatic for no reason. So many people, especially on social media say that they should not have to wear a mask just because other people are scared. Rightly so, I’m scared. I am not scared for me though, I’m scared for you. I’m scared for your kids. I’m scared for your family. I’m scared for your pets. If you go to the hospital and never come back they won’t know why. I’m no longer scared for me, I survived the most painful body aches I’ve ever had. The shortness of breath and the pain I felt in my kidneys and the fever. The intestinal pain. I even had swollen and bleeding gums. I’ve lost 30LBS because of lack of appetite. If anyone tells you that COVID-19 is just a bad flu they are dead wrong.
My husband has made a full and complete recovery, he’s back to work and we are trying to navigate the financial hardships that this has caused for us. For me though there are lingering effects. As a child I was prone to bouts of pneumonia and ended up in an oxygen tent more then once, so my lungs are already damaged. I continue to have a cough. It can be mild or it can be so violent that I hack to hard and dry heave and gag for minutes on end. Minutes do not sound like a long time, but they are when your coughing and can’t breath. I use an inhaler now because I’m short of breath. My appetite still hasn’t fully recovered and neither has my energy level. Cognitively my recall has suffered, sometimes it takes me a minute to think of a name or access the right words to describe a memory. Writing is something that usually comes easily to me, that’s now somewhat of a challenge. Since COVID I find myself to be irritable. The least little thing will set me off. I kind of got into an argument with my friends on social media over something stupid. These were not acquaintances or people I do not interact with on a regular basis, these are people we see and hang out with, people I consider friends. Needless to say I have not been myself.
I was scared that my life would not be back to normal, but I found an article by English journalist Richard Quest who also suffered from COVID. It turns out that he is still suffering from long and short term side effects of the disease as are a lot of people. For some people when the test comes back with a negative life goes on and gets back to normal, whatever that is. For other people COVID leaves side effects and scars. Those scars can be a lingering cough, cognitive issues, or financial stress from not being able to pay your bills or your rent. We found out the hard way that COVID-19 is no joke and it’s something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I’m putting myself “out there” by writing this, even more then I usually do. I have no doubt that I’ll be ridiculed by my more conservative friends. Like everyone else I wish this would just go away, but how can it when half of us are fighting to end it and the other half of us are enabling the disease and living with the illusion that we’re the ones in control.
Since this article was originally published I personally know someone who has died of COVID related complications and a friend has been hospitalized because of the disease.