“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
“If you get sick during a pandemic and no one is around to test it, is it really COVID?”
I don’t know whether what I have had is COVID-19. What I do know that in a lifetime of illness, disease, broken bones and hospital visits there were days when it was the worst I have ever felt…and certainly the most worried I’ve been.
This blogpost by a professor of infectious diseases at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is almost exactly what I went through – but I am only about 18 days in so far.
I started to feel off in the last days on April but it was hard to tell whether it was just a combination of my always horrific hayfever and a general lockdown malaise so I shrugged it off to be honest. Then Sunday May 3rd I basically found myself entirely fatigued from the moment I woke up with a headache and general feeling of meh-ness. Also my cough (which has been present throughout my hayfever – as usual) felt like it stepped up a notch.
On the Monday I tried to work but felt fatigued and foggy headed and started to get wheezy with my breathing.
Tuesday 5th I realised I was properly ill –>
By the end of Tuesday I felt like I’d been caught at the bottom of a ruck in the Rugby World Cup. Everything ached, I couldn’t stand without needing to catch my breath, I was so weak lifting a cup of tea was an effort. The fever was getting up there as well.
Tuesday night was bad – I slept very little and when I did I had weird vivid dreams that woke me up feeling even more out of sorts. It was unpleasant. The next 24 hours were essentially a repeat and the worst of it by far. The addition of the sleep deprivation and with all the other symptoms kicking up a level meant I genuinely freaked out a bit – I couldn’t distract myself at all as trying to read, watch TV or anything was impossible to concentrate on for long. So I basically just lay in bed listening to Spotify worrying.
At 02.30 Thursday morning I was sat in my back yard trying to cool down.
Sometime on Thursday the fever started to ease and so did my panic but nothing else really shifted. I was still weak, coughing and my breathing was laboured. Oh I guess I did feel a little less beat up. I spent the weekend barely moving but with the fog clearing a little I became more aware of just how little I was able to do or concentrate on and I just started feeling more sorry for myself.
Last week I aimed to go back to work – just for half days (spread over the day). I just needed to get back into a routine and break up the days which were feeling frustrating and long. Honestly it was probably a mistake – Monday to Wednesday are a blur and while Thursday I felt more up for it I was wiped out on Friday (and yesterday). I also had a bunch of random symptoms that aren’t usually associated with COVID including an upset stomach, headaches and dizziness throughout the week. Though they are all things mentioned in the blogpost from that professor.
Today I left the confines of my property for the first time in 15 days. I didn’t go very far and it was a bit of a struggle to be honest but it was nice to escape for a bit. I have an antibodies test – £90 to find out if I was the right type of ill – which I’ll take later in the week and see what it says. I also got one of those little blood oxygen widgets and mine has been improving from a low but not dangerous level (by the time I received it).
I am still pretty weak and very easily tired but my breathing is definitely improved and the cough has calmed down so unless it gets a second wind I suspect I am – as they say – past the peak!
There were some weird things – I had this crazy spell of blogging during the worst of it…I had these lucid moments everyday and my brain just wanted to write. My appetite didn’t go but my tastebuds definitely vanished – one night I woke up with a taste in my mouth that was just awful – I was cleaning my teeth and swilling mouth wash at 3am. I’ve been incredibly emotional – songs, ads, sitcoms had me sobbing.
How did I get it? Well I have been in lockdown since the 14th March but I definitely started to get complacent with the mountain of deliveries I have had and my trips to the little Tesco Metro I use so one of those seems to be the culprit.
Here is the thing. I still don’t know if I had it for sure and if I did I suspect it was relatively mild. There still isn’t any real evidence having it gives you immunity anyway and with so many people with diabetes succumbing to it I just can’t see my moving from a stay home by default approach for a long time.