Well, I've just been through hell and I don't think it's a coicidence.
Prior to any of the serious sh1t going down, I was a bit iffy for about 3-4 days. Nothing to stop you from working; sore throat, a very mild headache and a runny nose. I was getting a bit of nausea in the mornings, but thought nothing of it. With all the hysteria around and knowing my family could worry, I'd text them that week and told them I would do their shopping for them. I would run the errands. I'm a fairly fit, capable young man and I don't want them exposed to whatever this virus was or is. That was my primary concern... it haunted my thoughts.
A mild cold. Sniffles. A strange headache. I can go on, I'm only about 75% but I can function, I thought.
That was until around 2pm last Wednesday, when all of a sudden all the energy just drained out of me. The most notable feeling I had was if I had a sack of rocks on my back that I was carrying around. I was developing a fever and by the time I got home from work, my entire body felt as if it was on fire. Every muscle, every joint hurt. Within 3 hours, I was completely wiped out.
Rationally, in my mind, I knew something was sinister, something was wrong but I tried to tell myself it wasn't and that I could sleep it off.
Well, sleeping it off didn't work. I awoke, shaking, shivering but unable to move because of the pain and fatigue. Every sinew was aching, every muscle felt as if it was on fire - yet my entire body was shaking, uncontrollably, with extreme cold.
I stayed up the remainder of the night torturing myself over Google with 'Coronavirus vs Flu vs Cold' symptoms spreadsheets, none of which shed any light as to what I was suffering with. I prayed for flu, obviously.
Eventually, as I lurched into day 2 I fell into a fitful sleep. And that's where I remained all day, sipping water, shivering, trembling and sporadically responding to my work colleagues. The exhaustion was unreal. I managed to make myself some soup and toast in the evening, then straight back to bed.
Day 3, I felt ever so slightly better. I had a shower, pottered around and despite the aches, pains and general fatigue, I could get about. I turned off all news notifications on mobile so I wouldn't hear anything about the Coronavirus. I muted most of my Whatsapp conversations. I felt better, but I didn't want to read about covid-19 or talk to anyone. Messages were mounting up and as I went to bed, a new symptom had appeared; nasal congestion...
2am, Day 4. I'd not slept long before I was up with the worst chills and burning up I'd ever experienced. Then, a rush to the toilet.... great, the sh1ts as well now. After peeling myself from the toilet, I went to the lounge. I writhed on the sofa, my finger hovering over dialling 111. "Nah" I thought "I don't want to overburden them and I haven't coughed of felt a shortness of breath yet". The rest of the day was another write-off though. Napping, water, minimal food. Friends and family dropped rounds supplies. One of my friends commented on how white I looked, which was alarming. I continued to put a brave face and tell them 'Ah, it's probably just the flu". They were unconvinced, as was I.
Day 5. This is when I first noticed the intermittent gasps for air. Not frequent or uncomfortable enough to worry about - they were just there. In my mind though, I started to panic. My sore throat had returned. Nausea was prevelant. The fatigue was still all-encompassing and now I would try and grab air through my mouth. I reasoned with myself that it was probably just anxiety and I tried some breathing exercises; it appered to work for a bit and then it was either getting worse, or I was forgetting to breathe properly. I spent the entire evening and early morning trying breathing exercises, opening the window to gasp some air and walking around to stave off the dizziness and fear. Brain fog. Urrrrghhhhhh.
Day 6. Exhausted after the 'anxiety' attack, I napped and tried to watch tv. Diarrohrea had returned. I couldn't lie down properly without gulping and gasping for air and by now, my laboured breathing was starting to affect my muscles around the top half of my body. They were aching and made breathing painful. I held off on 111, I'll be ok. I'm eating a bit better, but I reckon I've been doing at least 5l of water day. Whenever I feel the fever kicking in again, I'd pop another paracetomol which seemed to stave it off. Trying to sleep now was a complete chore; I'd literally have to wait around reading news articles on my phone until I fell asleep exhausted as breathing felt so difficult. I woke up through the night consistently, often trying to suck some air in. I got up, I walked around, literally stumbling and bouncing off walls until I the dizziness went away. Then back to bed. Then up again. This was awful. I'm wondering how my parents would cope with this again, especially as they are in the vulnerable category.
Day 7, yesterday. Finally, with my breathing worse than it ever was and barely able to choke a few words out, I called 111. The kind voiced chap on the other hand listened to my story through my pauses for air. My voice was trembling and I was asking him what I should do next. "Well, you haven't had a cough" he reasoned. Not very comforted, I pressed on "Yes, but I can't breathe, I've tried breathing exercises, I tried to tell myself it was anxiety but I don't think it is..."
"Ride it out, take some paracetomol and see how you are in 48 hours" was the response. All hope died then, but thankfully, I didn't. I got off the phone and paced about. I opened all the windows. I laid down and tried breathing exercises. I hunched over, I leaned on my side, I put my arms in the air... I tried everything until finally, I collapsed onto the bed and just gave up. I fell asleep, once again, through exhaustion. My whole chest and midriff hurt. If I die, I die...
Day 8. Gaaaaaasp as I woke up .. but I feel ok. I'm tired, but I feel ok. Gasp. OK, that's still there but I'm feeling a bit better. I get up, shower. Tidy up the enitrety of the house. I still stop and grab a half gallon of air every now and then, but I feel.... 70% normal.
I turn on the computer which was on standby. The previous evening, I'd made a list of things I needed to remember and few things to look forward to, kinda like a gratitude list I suppose. It's stupid - but it I'll post what I wrote down anyway;
you cant not breathe - brain stem
this will pass - and soon
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
a clear head
fresh air walk
seeing friends and family
being able to help others
ozark fri 27
stid wed 1
So silly it would seem. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the past few days have been nothing but exhausting, terrifying and most of all, priority re-aligning.
I'm on day 8 and I'm struggling to breathe a bit but it is abating. The thing is, I don't know if I've got it but apart from the cough (which started about day 5, but was not hacking or continuous or pronounced- just a slight tickle in the morning once or twice), this has been f()cking hell to live through.
Not just has it been physically torturing but mentally as well. You have to do it on your own. My friends and family have been fantastic but for over a week, this has been something I wouldn't wish upon a mortal enemy.
I'm staying in for another few days just to be sure. The thing is with this is that it seems to get better before it gets worse again. I seemed to have 1-2 false dawns where I'd perk up, only for my hlealth to completely nosedive off a cliff again.
It's hard to emphasise how much I appreciate just the simple things like being able to breathe in fresh air or simply do household chores. When I've considered myself 'tired' before I've never truly been that tired compared to this. I will get a test once they are available but whatever I've just had, it has made living or simply existing a f()cking chore.
I'm feeling alot better than I was but I'm keeping my guard up as this virus, if that's what it is, does like to spring surpises.
I hope you all stay safe and healthy. I'm not one for hashtags but #F()CKCOVID19