Everyone has a COVID-19 story. We are all going through the global pandemic with varying degrees of success and failure. Either accepting the science and mitigating faithfully…. or succumbing to conspiracy theories and declaring war on personal freedoms. I just don’t see much in the way of anyone being on the fence with this. The intention is not to make this post a Debbie-downer about the situation we all find ourselves in. But in order to share my COVID story I need to set the scene so to speak, and it was fairly bleak.
It was March 18th, the last day I went into work in Central London, and the discussion at work and on everyone’s lips was that lockdown was coming. I’d like to point out that the management at my former place of work were firmly on the conspiracy side of the COVID fence. As batshit crazy as that sounds, it’s true. They believed it was a hoax, related to oil prices, that it was a way of controlling the world, the list of why it was a joke went on and on. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in the face of hard science (and anyone with half a brain) I found it unbearable to tolerate. Hard to let slide. I stewed at my desk wondering when we would no longer be the only office in the building still coming in when it was perfectly feasible to work from home. Finally, they announced I could work from home and that was the last I heard. Come Sunday March 22nd, they stopped communicating with a selection of staff. Lockdown was official on March 23rd in the UK, and I didn’t get paid my salary. I leave the work portion of this story here because that deserves its own post, enough said on that for now.
It was about a week later amidst all the work confusion (and exponentially growing anger on that subject) when I started to ache. I mean every joint and bone in my body. I felt lethargic and thought it must just be the beginning of a cold. After all I didn’t have the dry cough or the fever, the key hallmarks of the virus at that time. How little we knew back then, it almost seems quaint. I kept telling my husband I felt like crap and didn’t move off the sofa. Two days later the fever started accompanied by alternating sweats and chills. Marco made a swift trip to the pharmacy to get a digital thermometer, some paracetamol and we monitored. The dry cough started, I had some dizzy spells, and the paracetamol made the aches bearable but I didn’t want to move if I didn’t have to.
I had the fever for a week, and when it finally broke I still had the cough and would often feel funny at night falling asleep. I would feel like I needed to do some deep inhalations to get enough air, but never experienced that ‘crushing’ sensation in my chest others have expressed. I never felt like I couldn’t get enough air where it got to the point I’d have gone to the hospital. I guess I was lucky, because my best guess is anyone who has symptoms probably faces some invisible fork in the road at some point during their infection. They’re completely unaware of when that moment is…but your body either takes the high road to improve and heal, or the other dark road nobody wants or expects to happen. After that you’re in the hands of the medical professionals and the prayers of your loved ones.
Another week of aches, pains, and lethargy followed the fever break. Once the aches started to go, I could move around normally and begin to look like the living. I thought it was over. I could not have been more wrong.
I segued nicely into a horrific chest infection. I’m not the type of person who goes to the GP for a cold or the flu. I hadn’t taken antibiotics in years, many many years. After two weeks of the deepest rumbling my lungs have ever experienced and coughing up more shades of green in quantities I doubt I will ever replicate, my husband pushed me to call the GP. I had a phone consult, and despite my indicating that I was 100% sure I’d had the virus, she prescribed some narrow spectrum antibiotics. I picked them up, took them at the exact time frames told and waited. Nothing happened.
Yes, I am acutely aware that antibiotics don’t work on viral infections. I questioned this with the GP when she told me that was what she was going to try. She indicated the lowered immune system may have made me more susceptible to other bacterial invaders so it was worth trying. I finished the 7 day course, called them back and reported no change. They got me to try a broader spectrum antibiotic. Same result. So 14 days of AB’s later I was in the same boat, and the GP said there was nothing else they could do and I would have to ride it out.
Ride it out I am…I use the present tense because ever since mid April I have still been coughing up lung junk. It’s ever so gradually decreasing. I am also pleased to report that the green has been replaced by a straw-coloured yellow. This is progress people! *fist pump*
The media has reported much about COVID ‘long haulers’, those of us who have had it and had it overstay it’s welcome well beyond being a danger to others and it’s contagion period. I still get the occasional spins when I sit up in bed in the middle of the night or in the morning. I’m not as afraid of getting it again as surely the antibodies will mean a lighter go of it a second time around if it’s possible.
I guess the whole point of this post is to say: this shitty virus is very real. It is far from a hoax, a conspiracy, a worldwide government master plot to get us all eventually chipped for their manipulation pleasure. Respect mitigation processes and don’t think for a second that it can’t happen to you. Autumn is upon us and there is every indication a second wave may be worse than the first.
I want things to be normal too. But like any good ‘Notebook’ fan (damn you Noah and Allie), I keep telling myself it still isn’t over. And we have a long haul to go….