The good news is, my COVID-19 test came back negative. Hooray!
The bad news is, something is still wrong with me and now I don’t know what.
I’ve been feeling worse every day for a week, starting with chills that woke me out of a sound sleep. Whatever is going on, I’m short of breath, my chest and upper back hurt constantly, and I have heart palpitations after walking across the room. I also had a weird episode of mysterious symptoms which I am not sure were neurological or circulatory.
Was I infected with something, or not?
Is this related to my experience with COVID back in April, or is it something else?
If I got infected with something, like influenza or the common cold, then who did I get it from? How did I get it through both a mask and a face shield? Why did I get it and my husband apparently didn’t? (We both got the flu after I took him to the ER in February, and we literally started coughing the same minute).
Worse, if this is the common cold, then why does my chest hurt so bad? Is it just a really gnarly version of the cold, or do I have lung damage?
If I didn’t get exposed to anything contagious, then what is wrong with me?
Why did it creep up on me gradually?
If this is related to COVID, but it doesn’t show up on a test, then what’s going on? What kind of damage did it do? How long will it last? Why did it take two months to start up? How do I get rid of it? Or if I can’t get rid of it, how do I treat it?
I’m so frustrated right now - I know it’s because I’m sick and illness always makes me weepy and emotional - but it’s really annoying that now I show up in the statistics as nothing more than two negative tests. A month of illness, feeling like I was dying, all the uncertainty and misery, now this relapse or whatever - and it doesn’t officially count for anything?
How many other people out there are like me, who were sick as can be but weren’t able to get a test at the right time? How many of us are now living a medical mystery?
My birthday is on Friday and I’m really happy about that. Back in April I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it this long. I have more reason to celebrate this year than I ever have. My family are all, as far as I know, safe and sound. (Hopefully my story is making them be that extra little bit careful - right??) My husband never got sick. We both have jobs and we’re financially in the best shape of our marriage.
How can I complain when several of my friends have lost someone to COVID?
How can I complain when I have relatives and friends who’ve lost their jobs, or whose educations are on pause?
I talk so much about being in the Place of Uncertainty, and how it’s supposed to be good for building character. I talk about overcoming chronic health problems. Now is the time to draw on that.
I just started a new job. I’m so new I’m still on probation, haven’t even had my first one-on-one yet. We’re supposed to do a whole on-boarding interview where we set up our goals for our first annual performance review. It’s pretty heavy on my mind right now. The elephant in the room. Is this... going to happen a lot?
I had to notify my boss and two separate departments that I had COVID symptoms. It’s a security incident. Everyone in my entire subdivision knows. Which is great! I’m for it! It’s really important to me for my experience to serve others in some way, mostly so that they can avoid what befell me and keep their families safe. Tell everyone, take a video clip and play it in the lobby, put me on a billboard.
Still. I’d rather that if I had a reputation in my first two months on a new job, it was for solving a problem or really showing up for someone in a big way.
Next week I’m supposed to give a presentation. I’m super excited about it. In so many ways it’s what I’ve been preparing for for the last four years, developing my speaking skills and getting over my stage fright. Now all I can think is, at least my face won’t be on camera so I can mute myself coughing.
That is, assuming I’m well enough to finish my slides between now and then.
You know what I was going to be doing this week? I was going to be calling the four grad schools on my list, getting details about application dates and admissions requirements.
Now I wonder if it’s really wise to be making plans for over a year from now. Grad school is a very expensive proposition to be making commitments on a timeline.
My best guess for what’s going on with me right now is a bacterial infection in my lungs. This is how my experience ended in April - I tested negative for COVID just in time to pick up a secondary infection. I’ve learned to associate ‘burning’ with bacteria. If this is what happened, then it wouldn’t necessarily be something I got from another person. There can be a bunch of different kinds of bacteria that cause lung infections, but at least one of them just loiters around in the respiratory tract full-time without incident. If that’s it, then why did it suddenly activate?
Why does anything happen? Ever? To anyone?
Answer: who knows
What I want people to know is that COVID-19 is a serious bummer even for the mild and moderate cases. When I found out I was exposed, I thought I’d have a rough five days and be done with it. Here I am, four months to the day after I was exposed, and it’s still causing me pain, stress, confusion, annoyance, and distraction from things I’d rather be doing. Also weight gain and acne like I haven’t had in 25 years - I include that for the young ones - you say you’re not scared of coronavirus, but are you scared of breakouts?? Are you??
The upshot is that I emailed my doctor, because I still have symptoms that they say to watch out for. I am guessing he will order more antibiotics, maybe a chest x-ray. If I’m right that it’s a bacterial infection, then I should be fine within a week. If not?
I tested negative, but alas, my character is still positive. I’ll keep believing I can beat this thing and go on with my life. Maybe I just won’t put candles on my birthday cake this year.
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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