COVID has changed most of our lives in one way or another. It changed our world in what seemed as though overnight. I know that there has been so much loss, pain, heartache and a mix of emotions some of us have never experienced before. I know I have experienced all these seasons in my life in just the past year. My heart hurts for all of us right now. I wanted to write a really raw piece to let you know my personal experience with COVID as a 26-year-old living in the United States.
It’s got to be COVID!
I can remember waking up and not feeling right. I had a rush of emotions going through my head. Did I work out too much? Did I not get enough sleep? I started making coping mechanisms for myself and trying to run through every logical thought I could think of. After talking to myself in bed for a good 30 minutes and trying to comfort my unknown emotions I started to get up and attempt my normal routine. I was home for the day (luckily) which I was so grateful for. Do you ever feel like sometimes our routines and bodies already are preparing us for something before we even know what’s going on? I sure do, I was going to be going into a battle and I was fortunate to be at home when it started.
I progressed quickly. That day, I slept in until 8:00 a.m. Again, I was sure in my head that my body was taking care of what it needed to do and I needed that extra sleep for some unknown reason. I started to become horribly, horribly sick within a matter of hours. Let me tell you from my own experience it would normally take a few days for me to move far enough through a sickness to be at this point.
Lunchtime. Time to panic.
It was lunchtime and I just knew I had COVID. My body aches were not just body aches. The pain was so intense I was immediately in tears. I had not ever experienced a pain so real and sharp all over my body. I quickly checked my temperature. Yep, I knew it. A fever. My body was preparing far in advance and my mind didn’t get the notice yet.
I woke up with a cough, fatigue, and the worst headache I have ever experienced. I am migraine prone, but this was different. It was like my entire head hurt all the way down to my neck. Like I had slept on a brick all night. Again, I was rationalizing with myself. Trying to tell myself that there was no way I could have, COVID. I wanted to be respectful of those around me and do the right thing, so I got tested. It was uncomfortable.
I woke up early in the morning to a ding on my phone. It was my test results. I tested positive. My heart sunk. In big bold red letters that was all I could read about this battle I was already fighting but wasn’t sure how to win.
The days became a blur.
The next few days I kept waking up worse and worse. My lungs felt like I had bronchitis, but I couldn’t cough anything up. I was frustrated because there was no relief from my pain. Nothing worked. I had too much pain in my body to sleep and wondered if there would ever be a day that I might feel better – to ease just one symptom. I lost hope around day 8. There was an overwhelming feeling of worry.
Two weeks in and somewhat better.
I had some symptoms reside. My high fever of 102.4 for five days straight was finally going down. I was still miserably tired (like pulling an all-nighter in college tired without any caffeine). My head still felt like someone with a jackhammer was trying to break through a never-ending wall of concrete. What day is it? What time is it? It was all a blur. I had some hope, that I could have some relief and be grateful for the number of symptoms that were improving. Do I still have COVID? I am not sure. Maybe I will always feel like this.
Long hauler, who? COVID that’s who.
Do you know what a long-hauler is? I had heard the term, but getting diagnosed as one is something I was not anticipating. It means symptoms can last weeks or months for some people. These patients are given the name “long haulers” because, in theory, have recovered from the worst impacts of COVID. There seems to be no consistent reason for this to happen.
Brain fog is a real thing. For several days I could not even remember the word for milk. For me, it was not one of those times where something was on the tip of my tongue. The word was completely gone. I knew that there should be a word for the white liquid you put on your cereal, but I had no idea what it was called. The on and off again headaches and I have become mortal enemies. I have stopped trying to anticipate when I might get one or how to fight it off. This is a war that I don’t know how to fight.
I don’t feel discouraged. We have all adapted in this last year and look how strong we are now. Long haulers, we will get through this. Know that you are not alone.
Still sick with COVID.
I have hopes that one day I might feel normal again, whatever that might be. We can do this; we will do this. Let’s get through this.
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