I can kill people with my breath, pretty sure this makes me a supervillain, my new name is Dragon Lady
Cape but no mask of course
I have been sick with the novel coronavirus for two weeks now. I was exposed 29 days ago. I am definitely still ill and contagious and it’s been a month.
A friend asked what I did to avoid getting my husband sick, and the answer is: Nothing. He did get sick. Please take a moment to imagine the feeling of knowing you have infected your very favorite person in this world
Who is it, for the record?
Your child? One of your parents? Your spiritual leader? Best friend?
It’s one thing to risk death; some of us can shrug off that kind of risk. It’s another to know you might be desperately ill for three weeks, maybe go broke on hospital bills
In my opinion, knowing you might survive while the person you exposed dies is the absolute worst, no idea how I would cope for the next 40 years carrying that weight
This is how it happened.
We thought we were already exposed on March 1. Person with extremely bad cough came off cruise ship and visited us. Since he had previously had pneumonia and had a respiratory condition we thought we were okay, but then my husband started coughing
He stayed home and missed the week he would have been exposed, three of his colleagues wound up testing positive, but we didn’t know that yet
By 3/15, we had been home self-isolating for two weeks, cruise ship our friend was on had no cases, thought we dodged a bullet!
We were reading the news obsessively, already prepped with weeks of groceries, cleansers, and TP
I had a brunch invite
We debated back and forth, small group, we knew we were clear, decided I would go and then cancel anything else that came up for the next few weeks to be safe
Seven people in a large high-ceilinged room, huge refectory table bigger than my balcony
None of us touched each other, we put on hand sanitizer at the table and drank vitamin C packets
Little did I know that 2/7 guests ALREADY HAD SORE THROATS
They were both talking across the table about how everyone was overreacting
I sat at the opposite end of the table 10 feet away, at least one person between us
Five of the seven wound up sick, infected additional five people that I know of
One tested positive, none of the other nine could get tests, do the math
One of the sick people got on a flight the next day from LAX to O’Hare
Do the math
No contact tracing was done
I didn’t find out I had been exposed for two weeks
Did anyone else at the restaurant get infected, no idea, either airport, don’t know, they also rode the Metro around LA
They didn’t take it seriously
I didn’t realize I had symptoms until I looked back at the calendar because I had a similar problem, thought I was being paranoid
On the 5th day after I was exposed we rode our bikes to Whole Foods
When we got home my heart started pounding in an alarming way
Got upstairs, lay on the floor face down for 20 minutes with my helmet still on
Thought I was just out of shape
All I did for two weeks, when I wasn’t on calls, was sit around on the couch, thought I was just depressed and stressed out, my team was working long hours to deal with the pandemic transition
At one point I didn’t even change my pajamas for two days, “didn’t feel like it”
On the morning of the 13th day I woke up feeling sick, “Babe I think I’ve got something”
We looked at the calendar, haven’t been anywhere in 2 weeks, we’ve been isolating and social distancing
Decided it had to be “just allergies” because the symptoms were wrong
I felt sick but I was sneezing and had itchy eyes, NO FEVER, NO COUGH, NO VOMITING OR DIARRHEA
never did, I have barely coughed 5x the whole time I’ve had coronavirus
Felt totally fine the next day, went on grocery run
Was telling myself for weeks, Quit feeling sorry for yourself, so lazy, you’re just out of shape
On the 15th day after I was exposed I WENT FOR A RUN
Previous night, I had night terrors, had the most awful nightmare that COVID-19 was being air dropped over all our electronics, when it finished DLing in the dream I threw myself out of bed, woke up on the floor because my husband finally got my attention
Felt so out of sorts I decided I needed to do some cardio
There were at least 5x more people out walking, jogging, or riding bikes in my neighborhood than there were cars on the road, looked like a city fun run, I ran in the street when I needed to avoid people
Only took a few minutes before I started feeling very very bad, stitches in sides, felt like my sports bra was made of iron (“new bra, quit complaining”), wow I’m really out of shape, but I was committed to 20 minutes to calibrate my fitness tracker
Turned around and walked last half mile back to apartment
Had to sit on floor, heart palpitations, weeks later I checked and my heart rate apparently hit 186 bpm at 12:48 mile pace
Hard for me to believe this looking back, but according to my text threads I found out THAT SAME MORNING that I had been exposed. Word was my friend had been very sick, that confirmed it in my mind, it’s been two weeks, check me out in my Lycra I’m obviously fine!!!
Three hours after my run (and three phone meetings) I found out not just one friend but 7 other people had gotten sick
It wasn’t until the next night that I started feeling ill
I believe I was mostly asymptomatic until I went on that run and the exertion was too much for my system, have read hints that others had more intense symptoms after workout
I never did get the fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, or digestive problems that were being reported as the most common symptoms at the time
But the “shortness of breath” made me think I was going to die a few times
Lost my sense of taste for two weeks, couldn’t even taste taco sauce or mouthwash
Still can’t smell almost anything, including baking bread, bleach, black pepper
My symptoms included extreme vertigo, dizziness, hand tremors, headache, heart palpitations, chest tightness, chills, THE RIGORS lord help me, one day of stomach ache, and the few times I did cough felt like I was choking on spiders
When I talked to my doctor he didn’t believe I had COVID-19 because it had “been too long” since I was exposed, a week later I sent him a list of my symptoms and he apologized
I took Mucinex DM and acetaminophen twice a day, made huge effort to sit upright 14 hours a day, started doing 20 minutes or so prone every day, that feels good
My husband had three days of mild cough and some digestive issues
BTW I’m 44, he is 52
People in at least 20 cities were praying for us, thank you all, we are still here
Also still in quarantine
Next questions, how long will we be contagious? Will we be immune? Can we be reinfected or pick up a different strain? Can we donate convalescent plasma? No idea on any of these counts
I genuinely thought I would die. If my husband had gotten sicker we probably both would have. Neither of us has any underlying conditions so we are fortunate.
Still feel like a sack of wet garbage, might still have another week to go before I feel better, still a mortal danger to others
I went out ONE TIME four days before our stay-at-home order. They’re discussing gradual re-entry and I’m still too ill and tired to make a sandwich for myself.
I sure hope they know what they’re doing
Be well my friends
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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