“Pneumonia is a treat compared to COVID,” I said. My husband pointed at me and said, “You should write about that.”
I thought I had COVID-19 a second time, but it turned out just to be bacterial pneumonia. The main difference is that pneumonia hurts, while I didn’t find COVID to be physically painful. It’s a Krav Maga-level pain in the chest and upper back.
Other than that? Not a big deal.
I mean, sure, I was so short of breath that I had to lie down after reaching up to open a cupboard in the kitchen. But at this point I’m used to that sort of thing.
The best part about pneumonia, besides the fact that it’s treatable, is that... people know what it is! They believe it’s actually real!
I feel like there are a lot of people who would be more likely to believe me if I told them I saw a ghost, or that Sasquatch came and shook my tent in the woods one night, than the fact that I was sick for a month with COVID-19.
In that sense, it’s a relief to have something familiar and old-fashioned like pneumonia.
Maybe people who are scoffing at COVID, even though it’s killed hundreds of thousands of people, will sit up and start paying attention when they start hearing more about the after-effects.
Yeah, I lived? But I’ve also needed antibiotics for two separate follow-up respiratory infections in three months. In the summer.
Me, a 45-year-old multi-sport athlete and marathon runner.
At least, I used to be. Now I’m just happy to be able to walk across the room without leaning on anything.
That’s one of the other great things about pneumonia.
No vertigo! No dizzy spells! No headaches!
I can taste and smell my food!
Only a couple heart palpitations once a day or so! And my heart rate hasn’t even doubled!
Man, this stuff is great.
I can actually read and follow the plot of a movie!
Okay, there are a few things that COVID-19 and bacterial pneumonia have in common. With both, I coughed so hard I fell over. With both, I nearly passed out at least once. Both have made me too tired and ill to make my own lunch. Both make it really hard to sleep; on the night of my birthday I could only sleep four hours before the neighbor’s dog finally woke me up at 9 am.
This time, though, I haven’t even been sick for two weeks and I’m already starting to get better! I mean, hooray!
My doctor’s office got on the phone with me within a day, and I managed to get prescriptions for antibiotics, an inhaler, and non-drowsy cough medicine. That’s the all-time number-one reason that pneumonia is better than COVID: treatments! When I got COVID they didn’t offer me a darn thing other than an apology.
By this point in my bout with COVID, I felt that my life force was draining away. With pneumonia I already feel like I could probably drag myself through a day at work (since I have the luxury of working at home, off-camera). I’ll try, anyway. I hate feeling like an invalid and I always feel very guilty taking sick leave while other people cover my tasks.
This is what I wish people would remember. There are a lot of contagious things out there that are not fun, do not feel good, and are spread from person to person through the air. I was saying not that long ago that I didn’t want anything, not even the common cold, for as long as I could get away with it. I’ll probably wear a mask in public for several years, if not the rest of my life - assuming I live several more years, she said darkly...
You know what? Nobody can stop me from wearing a mask. If I want to wear a plastic face shield on top of it, I’m darn well going to. If someone tries to refuse me service while I wear my masks, I’ll take action. I’ll wear a mask anywhere I want. It’s my right. If I happen to think it brings out my eyes and covers my incipient jowls, that’s my opinion. If I find that wearing a mask and sunglasses makes me look ten years younger, I’m going with it.
That’s my fantasy, anyway. I haven’t been well enough to go anywhere but the pharmacy in over a week.
Another great thing about pneumonia! I was able to go to the local pharmacy in person - I didn’t have to choose between paying someone to go for me or going to the COVID hospital 15 miles away. Pneumonia is so convenient!
I have to say, I was pretty mean about giving COVID-19 only one star and telling everyone I didn’t recommend it. But I can go so far as to give pneumonia two stars. Much better experience all around.
I’m learning a lot from this experience. I did a little exploring online and discovered that there are devices available for purchase to the average consumer that can help train the lungs back to better function. “Incentive spirometer” is one. I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival. I have a special box now, where I keep my pulse ox and my thermometer and all my pills, and there’s plenty of room. So many medical devices, how fun, they’re so collectible! I’m almost like my own amateur nurse now!
Okay everybody, gotta go, the NyQuil is kicking in. Wish me luck that I can get back to work soon. There’s a lot to do and I need to read up on respiratory therapy!
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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