Thursday, February 25, 2021

I'm Talking to Myself At Night Because I Can't Forget

Roasted carrots and Green Beans with tomatoes
Even though I'm in it, in no way do I want to be defined by this Long Haul Covid Syndrome.  I fear I've become it's little bitch at this point.   Long COVID is like my abusive pimp that is bringing me Johns that beat me up and leave me bedridden and broken.   I must find a way out of this life.  It's difficult to talk about because I want to share this experience but not worry family or friends.  I must say, however, that I have come to a place of acceptance, that it is here and I need to deal with it.  From a scientific perspective, it's fascinating.  The way the virus struck the world and changed us forever.  I contracted COVID through my retail job, in March of last year.  I would say it was a medium extreme case.  Like many others we weren't hospitalized or tested right away because there was no room at the inn.  Plus hospitals were like roach motels, people checked in but they didn't check out.  We nursed each other back to enough health to return to work, after it opened back up.  But fairly quickly I learned it wasn't out of my body.  I would say the original virus aged us maybe 5 years and felt like we'd been in a bad car accident.  I still had many symptoms but they were more a topic of discussion rather than anything too debilitating.  I should mention though, we would from time to time admit our struggles in secret.   I couldn't ride the bike as long without getting extremely winded to name one.

Then in January of this year, I got the virus a second time and it hit my body like a freight train at first, the rest was a tolerable, but bedridden 3 to 4 weeks.  This time, instead of healing, it just keeps morphing into weird new things, like clusters of symptoms or flu storms. I would never believe this if it weren't happening to me.  I am my own lab experiment now.  It is getting to me and I need some release.  It may help me to get it all out there, like a good cry, just let it all out.  So, just look at the pretty pictures if you're not up for this. 
This is what the long haul has been for me:  My stomach has gone through a war and the nausea is debilitating.  I had a major infection that took forever to go away. My abdomen was super sore and I was on antibiotics as well as pain meds for weeks.  Now my bladder gives sudden deep aches for no reason.  Much of this is out of the blue by the way, so it's very easy to get sideswiped by a giant pain that can take you down.   I've had several doctor visits and went on Short Term Disability from work, something I NEVER thought I'd do.  Gremlins have inhabited my body.

I was to return to work in the beginning of March but instead I broke down at my doctors office.  I went in to get a release to travel to my father's funeral, he started asking questions and it all just came out like a drunk puke.  He asked me point blank, can you return to work and I realized then, I couldn't but that felt so crazy to me that I was stressing out big time.  I explained, yes I can walk 6 blocks but that's all I can do, pushing it seems to anger the demons.  He had been writing the words, Long COVID on my disability forms but only this time did we really talk about it as an actual thing.  He not only explained what they know, which is not much, but called it by it's new term, PASC, post acute sequelae Sars Cov2 infection.  This felt good and bad.  Bad because, this was becoming too real.  Good because when my doctor talks I calm the fuck down and can comprehend news, even when it's not good. 

But it is a long haul, as described.  I am just now beginning to go on walks, ride the stationary bike indoors with weights.  2 weeks ago I could not write or go for a walk because there was literally not enough energy to do anything but lay on the couch and pant, completely lethargic for days upon weeks.  I would make a meal every few days but it took all I had to do it and I couldn't taste anything but salt.  I slowly gave myself management projects, like cleaning a closet or fridge.  I'm not depressed, but I am nervous.  Like a flacid penis, most days the will is there to get going but nothing cooperates.  Fatigue stays steady but the rest is a true variety show.  I'll get fever blisters in my mouth when I feel my body start to battle with itself, like a little evil reminder saying, don't get feisty
Dinner with what is in the refrigerator.  
The scariest part is the chest pain.  All systems rush to protect the heart, and I just try to sit very still until it passes but sometimes it goes on for an hour or so, many times in the middle of the night, that's when the fear sets in.  It can't be good for your body to defend against that for too long.  I could have a stroke, my doctor reminds me or it could be damaging my kidneys because apparently, it has the ability to continue to wreak havoc, which I don't fully get but from what I understand it tricks your body into attacking itself.  My eyes burn all the time as does the top of my head and my hair at the crown is falling out.  My heart races always and skips beats, which is off putting.  Much of the time, I have shortness of breath, as if I'd just run up 10 flights of stairs.  For a couple of weeks I felt dumb as a rock, almost to the point of stuttering again as I did as a child, where I could not find my words or my mouth wouldn't move.  I go for a walk now and my legs get so tired, they start to feel like spaghetti.  I have a heaviness in my chest like with the flu that makes my voice sound like Marge Simpson. 
Patches of skin will dry up overnight and either develop a rash or extremely dry, peeling skin.  My ears and neck this week were the victims, but now suddenly, like magic,  the itchy rash is gone.  I've always had headaches but these new ones feel almost like there is something IN my head squeezing on things that shouldn't be touched.  My legs get extremely restless, like they need to grow into a werewolf.  My lips will get real red and burn as if with fever.  I feel that damp deep cold in my bones when you can't get warm and literally the very next second, I'm sweating bullets but it keeps on until my whole body overheats to a breaking point and then it finally subsides.  I had hot flashes previously but this is next level.   
Sister's Ice Storm in Colorado from 2/11/21
I read you do get better, or most people should and I aim to be one of them.  I believe with the right outlook and regimen, I will heal.  If I'm not a changed person who appreciates life to it's fullest at that time, then I give permission to shoot me dead on site.  For now, its day to day and a good one can bring such hope, whilst a bad one sends me into the fear that it's going to take an exorcism to get this outta me.  
Something to appreciate, the taste of tomatoes with green beans

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