What It's Felt Like to Have COVID-19

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I’m eight days out from my COVID diagnosis, & I’ve come a long way. Those first few days were absolutely miserable — “mild,” technically, but miserable nonetheless. 

I first went to the ER with a rapid heartbeat that, at one point, surpassed 140 BPM. I didn't have any other symptoms of illness yet, but I was jittery & panicked, too afraid to move much for fear of overwhelming my heart. That, it turned out, was likely the result of thyroiditis, which the endocrinologist says sometimes happen in cases of illness — your thyroid freaks out & dumps all of its thyroid hormone, which can cause an array of issues.

My other symptoms, which kicked in slightly later, were debilitating. 

I couldn’t stay awake, I was in too much pain to think straight, & I couldn't consume anything but Gatorade. On top of the standard flu-like symptoms, I had weird ones like skin pain, mouth sores, & eye irritation. I lost my sense of smell. One night, I had such bad nights sweats that I considered returning to the ER; the next day I was so dehydrated that I could barely walk. 

The exhaustion, too, has been beyond comprehension. 

One day, I thought I was feeling well enough to do a contactless pickup from Target, which is less than a two-mile drive away. I didn't have to get out of my car or anything — but by the time I arrived back home, I felt as if I'd climbed a mountain. I was so tired that I nearly collapsed in the doorway on my way back in. Since the night after that especially sweaty night, I've been waking up feeling better, but by about 5p.m., I'm completely & existentially exhausted, going to bed around 7p.m.

Through it all, though, I’ve been able to breathe, which is the most important thing — & on Monday, the combo of my asthma & my BMI (quick reminder that BMI is bullshit!) qualified me for a COVID antibody infusion. I headed to the Cleveland Clinic for a few hours, where they loaded me up on antibodies through a simple IV (photo up top). I started feeling better within hours. 

Now all that’s left is a cold (I think I have a sinus infection?) & some serious exhaustion. Oh, & I still can’t smell. But I am otherwise feeling so, so much better than I was last week & even as recently as Monday. I was off work for an entire week, but I'm back now, working as much as I can while still taking it easy so I don't overdo it & relapse.

Mike, too, is feeling notably better, with just some lingering coughing & the same exhaustion I'm experiencing. But his sense of smell even returned (& I am extremely jealous).

In all, we feel extraordinary lucky to have good health care, strong lungs, supportive loved ones, & a mild case of the bug, miserable as we've been. We are looking forward to being fully recovered soon... & when we are, we'll have immunities until we can get vaccinated! 

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