It’s now been almost two months since I finished my eight-week course of pulmonary rehab and was handed a certificate to prove it. At this point I’ve seen considerable improvement in my general physical condition and ability to breathe as a result.
On the whole my Covid Long-Haul recovery continues to be a story of two steps forward and one step back. I’m in far better condition that I was last year this time. I still have relapses with unpredictable timing and length, but I don’t seem to be getting as sick with each now. The coughing doesn’t tear me apart and the headaches and body aches are manageable with OTC medicines. Fatigue during the relapses is still an issue, but even that has improved.
Between relapses I feel mostly normal now, with one exception.
I’ve been walking with my husband almost every morning for many years, except for that interval six to ten weeks in March and April of 2020 when I had Covid and the initial part of the recovery. For quite a while post-Covid I could barely make it around a couple of blocks. But that gradually got better, until a relapse would drop me back almost to square one again. But after each relapse I’ve recovered a little faster and stretched my distance again.
I recently had a personal post-Covid best distance of 1.78 miles! I’ve managed to pick up the rate, but I still don’t walk at the same speed I did pre-C. I use a pedometer app on my phone to track time and distance when I walk. I used to shoot for a goal of .25 mile each five minutes and usually had no trouble making that. Today, my speed is generally more like .18 mile/five minutes. Decent, but not as zippy as I used to be.
At this point I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to my former speed. In addition to Covid damage, there’s the age factor. And there seems to be a ceiling on my speed that isn’t there for distance. As long as I keep to the standard pace, I seem to be able to push the distance a bit.
But if I try to push beyond the .18 mile/5 minute pace, I’m likely to experience breathing problems and a total loss of energy either before I finish or shortly after – the sort of collapse that will keep me in the recliner for the rest of the day and possibly a day or two after.
I’m not entirely back to what was normal, but I’m adjusting to a newer version that I can live with.