Wednesday, April 22, 2020

My Covid-19 Story

Though I still don't "know" if I had Covid-19 because I would have had to drive 3 hours round trip to get the only test in the area that they will give you if you have zero symptoms (and at no point during was I up for that), what I had tracked with CV-19 symptom stories that I'd read (the onset, the fever, the cough, the remission and recurrence). I probably would test negative at this point regardless as it has been something like two weeks since I had a full-blown symptom. Now I have to wait for an antibodies test and maybe I will be shocked or maybe I will say “Yep. Thought so.”

My experience was "mild" compared to the things I've read and some of the horror stories. But as the continuum seems to go from "asymptomatic" to “fatal,” that's not really saying much. I want to stress that even though it was milder than most of the stories I'd read about, and I was better by day seven instead of having to go the full two weeks, it was not MILD mild. It was not objectively mild. I wouldn't call it "mild" compared to other times I've been sick.

And it was nothing like the flu.

And if it WERE, I would characterize it as the second WORST flu I've ever had. (I got influenza about four years ago that went on for like five days of really bad symptoms, and I couldn't keep down water and was starting to get dehydrated, and that was the closest I've ever come to calling an ambulance.) I was bedridden most of the time

I started taking antipyretics (Tylenol mostly) when my fever reached 103.5. I run about 98 on average (not 98.7) so that's FIVE AND A HALF DEGREES. That was the length of time it took me to drive home from the first moment I realized I was sick in Oakland to Richmond 15 minutes away. Or to break it down for you, my temperature was going up by a degree every three or four minutes.
Even with Tylenol, I only got it down to 100 on the first day.

After that, any time I woke up (from spiking fever) after my meds had lapsed, it would already be at LEAST 101. I would immediately take something, but in the 20 minutes before it kicked in, it could go up as much as two degrees.

Everything ached those first couple of days––deep and painful. I tried not to move much.

At first, the cough came with the fever, and I thought I might have had something else. As long as I kept the fever down, my cough was okay. But on the third day the fever broke and the cough made its own visit. It was not like a chest cold. It was not like the flu. It was like something was living in me and it had to get out. Coughing jags would be so long and terrible that I would lose my balance or throw up. I used something like two or three huge packages of cough drops.

When I would breathe deep, it HURT. It felt like burning. And an uncontrollable cough would ALWAYS be proceeded by a deep hitching breath. So all my coughing included a deep, spike of pain.

Around day five the cough faded. I was left with a lingering hack to get the crap out. I'd read enough to know the worst was coming, so I didn’t relax or let my guard up. Fortunately, for me, I never did get the day 6-9 "boss fight." From what I understand, most people have their fever return and a much worse relapse.

I was lucky.

By the end of the sixth day, even the persistent little hack to get the gunk out had begun to fade. (My cough actually faded faster than most chest colds I ever have.) I waited for a couple of days, sure I was not yet out of the woods, but nothing more happened.

This thing moved. It was fast. It came back after going away. (And all sickness does this a little but this was more like "I'm better! Maybe I never ever had–– OH MY GOD NO I'M NOT!") And the symptoms kept changing.

It was NOTHING like the flu. Please take care of yourselves and take the steps you need to make sure that people who are vulnerable don't get this.


  1. Chris, please take care of yourself. I missed your FB presence. Keep well

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