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Down with the Sickness




In the interest of full disclosure…I've had Covid19.

Yep. I remember it well! January 28th. WAY before anyone in the United States was thinking about Covid.

I woke up sick in the middle of the night, a wave of nausea that drove me to the porcelain bus. The nausea didn't last, though. It was replaced by the worst stomach pain I've ever had. A pain that, over the course of a couplethree days, settled into a tight knot at the bottom of my stomach. That just wouldn't go away. At the end of February, I saw my PCP. I explained my symptoms, not all of which tallied with the usual symptoms of food poisoning—especially the freaky fatigue thang.

That's right, I'll call it fatigue, but it really was something else. I'd never had such a feeling before. It was like walking through neck high water while wearing body armor. I shit you not! I would try to stand up from the bed…and it would take a real effort to get up. That was incongruent with a food poisoning diagnosis.

I mentioned to my PCP that I thought it was odd that I'd broken fever. I'd had a night with waking multiple times drenched in sweat—classic signs of a breaking fever. This, too, was inconsistent with food poisoning.

I did not mention that I'd had a couple days where I'd had a distinct shortness of breath—believing at that time that the shortness of breath was due to overmedicating with marijuana. Definitely not the kind of thing you'd associate with food poisoning.

Even the fact that the symptoms had lingered for five weeks didn't sound right for run-of-the-mill food poisoning.

But.


Nobody knew. It was way too early for people to have any idea of what was actually going on. January 28th was way earlier than what the government admits to in terms of when the virus hit town. It would be weeks before the picture began to coalesce. And at first it was being viewed strictly as a respiratory illness. It would be additional weeks before it was understood that there was a gastrointestinal manifestation of symptoms that would eventually be identified as Covid related.

When it dawned on me that I'd had the dreaded disease, I asked my doc for an antibody test. At the end of March, I tested negative for antibodies. However, the doctor told me that the test was only 60% accurate and the guy that drew the blood samples for the test that day had to study documentation for how to perform the procedure for fifteen minutes before he put the needle in me. (As per my usual, he was unable to find a vein on my arm and had to use one on the back of my hand.)

So. Now you know.

It's freaky to listen to the symptoms and conditions that are associated with post Covid behavior. There're supposedly wide-ranging consequences, especially with respect to cardiac health. Yikes! Early in the pandemic I saw a couple of articles that said exercising is good. Now, I'm seeing ones that say stay away from heavy exercise. Oops. When I go out on the bike, I push myself. I'm not fanatical about training, I don't do any distance. But I do get going on my little five to six-mile loops.

Hey, my preferred way to die is on my bicycle! Don't threaten me with a good time. It's like my friend Black John used to say: "Whenever I feel chest pains, I get down and start doing pushups so my heart blows up." Whenever I feel chest pains, I get on the bike and pedal like a madman…

In addition to my initial bout of Covid…I had a second spell, in late April, where Covid like symptoms surfaced for a couple three days. At that time, science wasn't addressing re-infection. Now the science is suggesting that it is possible to re-infect.

I'm pretty sure we'll never know the true path this virus has taken, not my personal trajectory, nor the infinite number of vectors that have raged un-intercepted through the citizenry of this country.

And despite my apparent experience of the virus, I'm still maskin' up, and washin' up, and distancing up, operating as though I'm in a vulnerable group (which I am, a sexagenarian, among other categories).

I wish there was something more…informative. About my experience with the virus. Oddly, here, at the end, I'm not sure what my point is. Maybe there doesn't need to be one…except…it makes you think. About how I'm not one of the government's numbers. I wonder how many more people there are like me?


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