Well, it happened. I came down with a formidable illness and a week later I tested positive for COVID-19. I had taken a few risks since March of last year and skated through. I mostly followed quarantine protocols, though. Christmas presented a couple significant exposures, but it’s really unknown how I got it. I was definitely sick in a way that was different from anything I’d ever experienced before, so the positive test result wasn’t really a surprise, but it was nonetheless a shock. I thought I might have it, but the actual confirmation of being in the throes of the dreaded virus was a surreal development I could not easily accept.
It All Started When…
On or about New Year’s Day, I noticed I had chills. I was also coughing more than usual. The fact is, I’d been struggling for months with a mostly morning routine of having to clear my throat a lot and it usually culminated with a less than satisfying cough. So, the increased coughing and dry tendency of it didn’t mean that much. The fever got my attention, though. I had hardly developed a temperature in my life, so that seemed significant. I started taking my temperature at home, but for the first few days it was mainly in the 99-100 degree range. Unfortunately, it persisted and climbed up to 100.7 at one point. I started feeling pretty miserable with very low energy. It felt like influenza, but I have had the flu only a few times and I had received a flu shot as a precaution in November.
I called the NurseLine provided by my health insurance carrier. I hadn’t really sunk into the depths yet and after a thorough conversation about my condition, the nurse didn’t think I needed further evaluation yet. My temperature was still in the 90s, the cough was still light and no other symptoms had surfaced. After a couple more days, however, my worsening condition prompted another NurseLine call. Now they recommended contacting my primary care physician’s office, who then set me up for a virtual examination the next day. The nurse practitioner there interviewed me and suggested a Covid test. I went in that day, January 8th. On the 10th, a Sunday, the nurse practitioner called me with the results. I was infected.
Moanin’ and Groanin’
By that time, my sickness was peaking. I didn’t know that, though. I was feeling plenty bad–that I did know. The fever was over 100. Chills and occasional sweating made me keep wrapped up almost constantly. I was moving slow and with tremendous effort, as extreme fatigue had set in. Sitting down and getting up or sometimes just changing position elicited a moan or groan. My muscles and joints ached. On top of that, my skin felt overly sensitive to the touch. It was as though the nerve endings were inflamed and touch might set my body on fire. A touch of diarrhea, a runny nose and a lack of appetite made my misery complete. Oh, and one more thing. Intermittently, I had bluish-colored hands up to the middle of my fingers.
What I Didn’t Have
There was good news in this ordeal. Shortness of breath never became an issue. I was worried that it would be, considering I’ve had some minor shortness of breath occasionally due to atrial fibrillation. My heart and lungs performed admirably while the virus was taking up residence in my body. I never lost my senses of taste and smell either. I was fortunate to be spared a sore throat and headaches as well.
The Creative Well Went Dry
Not surprisingly, my daily writing and guitar practice fell by the wayside. I had no energy for it. I gave myself permission to leave the creative work alone. My hopes to finish the first draft of my current novel by the end of January were dashed. Oh well. I did facilitate a memoir writers group zoom meeting the first weekend, but I bowed out of the one the following weekend. I was back on the job the third weekend, though.
Our country’s death toll has surpassed 400,000 now and worldwide the related deaths are calculated in excess of 2,000,000. The numbers may be rising faster than ever. We may just now be peaking, so there is still much suffering ahead. Hopefully, vaccines will stem the tide this year.
I count myself truly fortunate to have survived this virus as well as I did. Considering I am in a high-risk category due to age and prior conditions, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Approximately 20 days out since my first symptoms, I feel pretty much 100% recovered. May I be forever immune going forward! And may all of you in this orbit be the same. Now that would be an ideal outcome.