There are so many ironies and quirks to the story. Irony one: if my trip to visit family had been scheduled for just a week later, I wouldn’t have gone. And I wouldn’t have gotten the disease that has dominated my life for the past few weeks. Irony two: Until they develop a test for antibodies, I won’t get a formal diagnosis. My one goal and hope throughout has been to stay out of the hospital. I succeeded, and because of that I haven’t been tested, so it may never be official. But I know that I’ve had Covid19.
I don’t know exactly where or how I got it. I flew to visit family on March 5, returning on March 13. Given the timing of symptoms, I likely picked up the germ on the trip out or shortly after I arrived. Did I get it from the very large man in the next seat on one flight who wheezed throughout? Or in the crowded, bustling Atlanta airport? Or maybe on the also crowded playground where we took the children a couple of days after my arrival? Someone else or somewhere else entirely? That’s one answer I’ll never have.
Almost a week into the visit I started to have symptoms that I realize in retrospect pointed to what was about to happen. For a couple of days I had mild headaches I attributed to the change in routine which meant I didn’t always have as much caffeine as I was used to.
I thought I felt fine on the trip home. That night, though, the anvil dropped—on my lungs. At least that’s what it felt like. My chest got very constricted, feeling like someone had tied a band around it and was pulling it tighter and tighter. I couldn’t draw in a deep breath. I started coughing a deep, dry cough that raked my throat raw.
The three weeks since then have been an up and down time. Like most people with the disease, fatigue has been a huge issue. As far as I know, I haven’t had a fever, but I don’t generally run fevers no matter how sick I am. We don’t even own a thermometer.
I’ve had better and worse days and the contrast can be dramatic. Several times I actually thought I was getting better, and then the next day I’d wake up the with anvil on my chest again and the fatigue pinning me down to the recliner. On bad days my chest hurt, I coughed so hard my throat was raw, and it was all I could do to walk from one end of the house to the other. I simply felt miserable.
I’m in the vulnerable age group and have a few continuing health issues. I couldn’t help worrying that I might take a turn for the worse and end up in the hospital, possibly dying. I’ve done quite a bit of meditating on that, but it’s a different essay. I did consult with my doctor’s office and also with a good friend who is a nurse. Both believed I had Covid19, but my symptoms weren’t severe enough to require further medical intervention. At some of the worst times I teetered on the brink of calling for help. But then I’d improve just enough.
The good news is that finally, after three weeks, the tension in my chest has abated and the coughing is diminishing. I think I’m on the way to recovery. But this virus is tricky. I’ve thought that before. I hope it’s true this time.
More to come…