One Year after the Pandemic Started

Late February, 2021, I was reflecting on how thankful I was that nobody in my immediate family caught COVID-19. A whole year and we all managed to not be a statistic, until I noticed my daughter was coughing a lot. I kept fussing at her, to cover her mouth, get out the kitchen, and stay away from me. I even urged her to get a COVID test. A couple days later, I start coughing, and then progressively declined. I immediately scheduled a test and got my results back the next day on March 4. Ironically, my vaccine appointment was scheduled the same day. I contemplated going if I did not get my test results back in time.

Thinking back, I believe now the symptoms started 5-7 days before. I normally go to the gym in the morning, and didn’t have the energy to go, not even for my normal walks. I decided to honor my body with rest and didn’t feel guilty about not exercising because I was truly fatigued. Hindsight, it was good I made that decision, to reduce the spread of COVID to others at the gym. I had body aches, and the fatigue was subtle. I did notice my upper back and shoulders were aching, but I thought it was work induced.

Once, I found out I was positive, fear was trying to set in. The logical part of my mind told me, many people survive COVID-19; however, it was hard to not think about the “what ifs.” What if I become a death statistic? I kept surfing the internet to see if my symptoms were normal. Nowhere does it mention symptoms about, having excruciating pain. My pain was severe.

On March 5, I noticed I have lost my sense of smell/taste. This is a few days after and not at the onset. These symptoms were far from “mild.” Having COVID was excruciating.

My Symptoms

I don’t know about what you’ve heard, but no one tells you about the excruciating systemic nerve pain. There were nights, I cried myself to sleep because the pain was so intense. I tossed and turned all night long because I was very uncomfortable, almost unbearable. My lips were chapped from inhaling and exhaling, thinking deep breathing would help ease the pain. I was suffering. If I had to describe COVID, I would say, it was as if I had a continuous migraine with a lodged kidney stone, nerve pain from a bulging and herniated disk coupled with labor pain and without relief in the middle of a cold forest. I have never been this sick in my life. I could feel the disease attack my spinal discs, joints and kidneys. My options for pain OTC pain relief was limited. I am severely allergic to ibuprofen.

Lessons Learned

I let my guard down and have children who bounce back and forth from my house to their dad’s house. Unfortunately, we failed to make a plan if someone was experiencing symptoms. The whole family had COVID, 2 households.

I struggled with deciding if I should take time off the first week and did not want to leave work with so much to do. I managed to get through the first week, but then took off the second week. It was my manager’s gentle prompting, that helped me make the decision. I think the COVID fog, made it more difficult to make simple decisions about what was best for me. The second week was worse.

Propel to Action

Look out for those who are single, have young children, or elderly. They may not have the strength to cook, or order food online, nor the support system to ask someone to pick up prescriptions or groceries for them. Experiencing COVID-19 can be very isolating and can make one feel as if their on a planet all by your yourself. One of my Deputy Director’s sent me a gift card via email. It was such a kind gesture, and needed. I was unable to do anything for my family.

Two weeks after I “recovered” from COVID, I received my 1st Moderna shot. Some people thought I should’ve waited, but I was so anxious because I thought we might run out of vaccine and didn’t want to experience COVID again. After the shot, I was ill for the weekend, the pains came back, but not as intense- thankfully. I’m due for my 2nd shot on Friday, April 16. I am so grateful for Governor Newsom and the administration! Our state has the lowest COVID positive rates! I’ve always had a conservative view on vaccines, and appreciate both perspectives. There is value in vaccines, this I do know.

Lingering Effects are Real

My symptoms range from headaches, runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest/heart pain- not sure which is it, heart flutters, and increased feelings of anxiousness. I tried going back to the gym and resuming walking the beginning of April, but I have not been consistent due to my energy levels and prioritizing my time.

COVID Thriver & Survivor

Today, I have a renewed appreciation and gratitude for my health. I am so thankful none of my family members had to be hospitalized or worse – expire. Surviving COVID should be celebrated!! Over a half million people have passed away from COVID in the United States, young and old.

Remember: Wash your hands. Wear a Mask. Watch your distance.

Keep Looking Up,

Chana

3 thoughts on “One Year after the Pandemic Started

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