Obviously I hope I’m being paranoid, but it’s better to share the information. One of the many lingering effects of this disease is that... it has lingering effects. It hangs on. Going through COVID-19 changed my life and I will never think the same way again.
What’s going on? Why do I think I might be sick again?
It crossed my mind to worry a few days ago. I’ve been cold a lot lately even though our temperatures here have been in the high 70s. On Wednesday night, I got out my winter pajamas again because I’d been chilly the last few nights and felt even colder.
I woke up in the middle of the night so cold I was shaking all over. Under a duvet, wearing pajamas. The nighttime low was 68F. I had to turn on the heated mattress pad.
I told my husband and he looked at me intently. “I was broiling all night.” He spent the same night three feet away from me, wearing shorts with just a sheet over him.
I coughed a bit that day. One of the effects of COVID is that if anyone, anywhere, coughs or sneezes - even in a movie - you freak out a little and start looking from side to side. I froze and thought, Uhoh, why am I coughing?
Then I was fine. We work a 9/80 schedule, and we get a lot of three-day weekends. I was pretty tired on Thursday, but I got through the day and did my workout. I did wonder why I’m still having all these problems regulating my temperature, but I figured maybe it was my thyroid. I basically spent two months lying around, and while I’ve been rebuilding my base fitness level, it does take time to get the system back to normal.
When I woke up Sunday morning, I felt cruddy and ill. Tired. Distinct feeling of chest congestion. Now it’s evening and I still feel that way, even after taking Mucinex and Tylenol and having a two-hour nap.
Yesterday we were supposed to go on a bike ride, and instead I... had a two-hour nap. Same time of day. I felt low energy all day and didn’t work out.
Friday I procrastinated on my workout for half the day. Just not feeling it.
As I look back, with this feeling in my lungs that can really only be described as a mild burning and ache, I can recognize the clear pattern. For the past four days I have been experiencing mild symptoms including chills, lethargy, malaise, and some respiratory stuff.
Something a bit more alarming caught my attention as well. Heart palpitations. They’re back.
Last week we went out together, masks on of course, and walked four miles. A few hours after we got home, we were hanging out on the couch when suddenly my heart started pounding. Just a few hard beats, but enough to catch my attention.
It happened again yesterday. I got up off the couch to get my bird out of her crate. This involves walking into the other room and back, carrying her to her perch, getting her fresh water and filling her food bowl, and coming back again. Takes about two minutes. Shortly after I sat back down, my heart started palpitating again.
I thought I was in the clear on this. After getting better from COVID, I started working out on the elliptical. I was back up to an hour at a time, five miles a day, an average of five days a week. I hadn’t had heart palpitations in months.
Now I can add: light hand tremors and... was that... a bit of vertigo? Ugh
When I first got COVID, I didn’t know I had been exposed for 15 days. Looking back, I could tell which suspicious symptoms I’d had and when, but I didn’t really start feeling sick until after I went out for a run. I think I might have beat the virus without realizing I had it if I had just continued to sit around thinking I was “stressed out” and “paranoid.”
Now I have no reason to push my limits and every reason to trust my “paranoia.” I’m not doing anything that counts as a workout until I can describe myself as feeling “perky” and “energetic.”
There’s another reason I think I might have COVID-19 again, and that’s: news reports.
But, what about herd immunity?? I hear people wailing. Yeah, what about it? There were never any guarantees with this novel coronavirus, just as there is no herd immunity for the common cold. People can get chicken pox twice, even though it’s rare. We don’t know much about this thing. All we really know is that it’s worse than we thought it was back in March.
When I was first exposed, we thought it only really killed elderly people. Now we know that it can kill babies, children, teenagers, and adults of every age. Medical authorities didn’t think it was airborne, although I did as soon as I knew I had it, because that’s how I got it, from someone talking to me from over eight feet away. When I was exposed, nothing was shut down and nobody was wearing masks. A lot has changed since then.
How do I think I got it, if I do have it again?
The last time we saw our quaranteam buddy was exactly two weeks ago. It’s plausible we were exposed then, even though she feels fine, because last time I made it sixteen days without feeling sick. We had two meal deliveries and a grocery drop-off that day at her place. I don’t think it was then, though.
Ten days ago, I went to the periodontist. I had to take my mask off, obviously, so they could look in my mouth. That is a very sanitary place (their office, not my mouth), but it’s possible I could have been exposed in the lobby while they were taking my temperature? Or in one of the rideshare vehicles?
The day after that, we rode the city bus. This is the most likely exposure point. We were masked up, but due to passenger load we were sitting within two feet of a few other people for 20 minutes, both directions. I’d like to believe that N95 mask + face shield is pretty solid protection, but.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I need to stay inside and avoid exposing other people. I’m going to continue to try to get a test, although the place we went last time now only serves people over age 65. I’m going to be very physically cautious and pace myself.
Most of all, I’m going to hope that my husband stays safe from me and that I really do get a birthday this year in spite of it all.
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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