No exaggeration. I thought Covid-19 would kill me. It all started out so innocently, as so many little seasonal colds and flus do. I went skiing on a Wednesday, but by Thursday evening, I was enjoying a beer in one of my locals after a day of writing, and I started feeling not quite myself. Rather, I could feel a fever coming on, and get this, my lungs ached right down to the ribs. I knew something was wrong, but I pretty much shrugged it off and said to my friend, "Think I'll grab some NyQuil at the supermarket before I head home." Every year I get a little something, and usually all it takes to kill it is a couple good night's rest with the help of some night time cough medicine. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my grandmother liked to say.
But I suffered through that first night while the fever not only intensified, my entire body went into some kind of toxic shock that took the form of aching joints, muscle, and bones. It was a chore just heading the few feet to the bathroom, and all the while I was there, I was shivering with fever. The next morning, I called my doc and she told me to get tested, pronto. Since that would take a few days, she suggested I isolate myself anyway, and take plenty of fluids. I did as she told me. This wasn't an easy thing for me. Even though I work at a desk in my bedroom, I run and lift heavy weights day in and day out, and simply staying still in my bedroom all day was going to prove more difficult than it seemed, even being sick. Still, I did as I was told.
The next day, I was tested and the day after that, the results came back in the form of a text message all in big red letters. Positive for Covid-19. Naturally, I tried to figure out where I could have contracted it. So did New York State who promptly called me, gave me my beginning and end dates for quarantine, and then proceeded to trace my movements. Like I said, I'd been skiing, I'd been to a couple locals that had been practicing safety precautions, and of course, the local mega-mart. Other than that, I'd been to the dentist, and a physical therapy session for my lower back. In the end, we never really could figure out where I got the dreaded bat disease. All I knew is I had it and had it bad.
Now, I know of handful of men and women about my age who have had Covid. None of them were necessarily in good shape, and one of them in particular had been using a cane for severe lower back problems and was even in the hospital for bad kidney stones. Yet, his Covid case was a mild one. His symptoms were like a cold. That's it. Yet, what I contracted, kept getting worse and worse, almost like I had underlying medical conditions. Case and point: after around day 4, I started developing a severe bronchial cough. It felt like I was tearing my ribs out with every gut wrenching cough.
Around day 5 or 6, I started coughing up blood. As I watched my blood circling the toilet drain, I pictured myself being dragged to the ER and immediately transferred to ICU. A nurse would turn to a co-worker and tell her to "Get a priest." That's the stuff that was swimming through my mind while I felt like I was dying. I called my doctor and she took charge, putting me on a steroid for the lungs plus a heavy duty cough medicine with codeine. It seemed to help.
Other little things occurred. I didn't lose my sense of taste or smell, so much as food tasted like salt, and liquids like orange juice tasted flat and old. And boy did I sleep. Even though I did my best to keep up with my work schedule, I slept pretty much from 8PM to 8AM, and then again, 1-3PM. And even then, I had to tear myself from my mattress. But like the doc said, the only real cure for the disease is constant rest, and the inner hope that the virus doesn't start winning the war being waged inside your body.
Now it's been well over two full weeks, and I am happy to report I'm definitely on the road to recovery. I'm even back to light workouts and short jogs. It's important to build up the strength in my lungs again. But it's sad knowing there are people out there who are getting this awful disease who will not make it. It will be too strong for them. It will attack their organs and make their lungs into so much toast, and it will kill them. As for me, I might have dodged a bullet with this one, but I've also learned a lesson. Life isn't cheap, but it can be fleeting. Despite Covid restrictions I made immediate plans for an adventure to the Middle East in late May, and I will make plans to be in Italy for most of the Fall. After that, I will finally make the move to a place that suits me and my work perfectly. Or who knows, maybe I will just keep traveling the world since I can work from where I want, when I want.
I'm immune to this thing now, so they say. For how long, I don't know. But I will be vaccinated as soon as possible. I don't want a rematch with it. Facing a grim reaper in the form of a manufactured foreign born virus once in a lifetime was enough for me.
I hope you stay safe, and avoid Covid-19 like the plague.
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