This isn’t pretty but it is what has been going on …Covid is no joke but we are all fine. My mother and my brother are fine but also haven’t had it. This may seem a bit low energy compared to my normal writing of my blog but I wanted you to know what it was like as I was living it.
We have a choice in how we face things. As my energy comes back so will my optimism. I am not pessimistic, but I will say my cancer was easier because it was mine. I wasn’t worried about everyone else in my family having it at the same time –that is a new circle of hell. Now we might have a super power, but no one is sure. The Red Cross is looking for our plasma though…And one more thing…
No matter what your state authorities say, the one way to avoid getting it is to stay away from others.
Note: When I mention my family in this blog it is my husband, myself and our 2 daughters. This first part was written before I got tested.
I am going to try to catch you all up on what has been going on at my house since late January. In late January with no covid on the horizon, but a little news coming out of China, my husband went to a guitar workshop in northern California. Within a few days of getting home he was sick. A cough and a fever, a little post nasal drip. For the first time that I can remember in 22 years he shared this with our younger daughter. I slept in our older daughter’s room in hopes I would not catch what seemed to be a nasty cold.
I got sick. We all had the same symptoms and didn’t really get over it. There were waves… 5 days of yuch and then a couple that felt like we were over it and then it would come back. We were lined up in a row. Him, then our younger daughter, then me. Symptoms hit all of us in that order. I took an antibiotic, seemed to help maybe, and he did too. Our youngest seemed to get over it. They both had fevers at the start, but I didn’t. Then the swollen glands began. Left side, right side, both sides. Then we would get past them and then they would start again. I had some intermittent GI issues, but since chemo that has been occasional anyway.
There was exhaustion for all of us, again in order, him, her, me. He went to bed at 7 pm every night for a week.
No one had answers.
One doctor said, “When your body sees a virus for the first time it takes about 3 weeks for it to identify it and begin to fight it. Or at least that is what I understood from that conversation.
(Side Note: This is not a 5 day cold this is a 8-14 day bout with a very strong illness that gives you a fever for 8-10 days. Our bodies are not used to that. We get a fever for a day or 2 with most modern illness. This is long enough that you ache like the blazes and you get dehydrated. That is the novel part–it is new and our bodies have never fought it before so they have no abilities at all. Instead they have to build that immunity, that fighting force, while we are sick. The thing that gets you well is…you. Your body’s ability to react will either heal or hurt at this time so slow down and sleep and try to drink and eat well.)
Now we are here–my family and I have either been fighting something since early Feb or we have had covid since then or we had something different and now have covid. I was doing better by March 16 (again thinking I was passing it by) but had a bad headache in the afternoon the next day, thought it was a migraine I wanted to get under the floor. Actually dropped to my knees to get under it. The pain behind the eyes began (and lasted for a week) and then that night, Tuesday, March 17, I had a pip of a fever, So cold I couldn’t imagine going to the kitchen for the thermometer. I was covered in goosebumps shaking wildly. ( Chris Cuomo chipped a tooth at this stage and that doesn’t surprise me) My husband was coughing again and also feverish again so I just hunkered down in bed–he got me a blanket so I could have more warmth and brought tylenol from his bathroom. In the morning I took my temp. I had 101.7. I have no idea what it was in the middle of the night, but at least 102 or 103 or ? I had a headache that hurt so badly. I guess it hadn’t been a migraine. The ache behind my eyes doesn’t leave. Wed morning march 18 my temp is 100.7 but I have to keep taking tylenol for that to be true. Without the Tylenol I am higher. I can breathe fine. My husband can breathe fine as can our youngest and our oldest. But I got tested so we will see. We are coughing.
March 19, 2020. I drove to my doctor’s office and she tested me in my car window. The test is no big deal and thankfully I got my results Friday March 20 in the evening. I thought results wouldn’t come until the following week.
Positive for Covid.
Jealousy and anger starts regarding my having gotten tested. And fear. A neighbor is scared, another offers to help as does my best friend. An acquaintance thinks I shouldn’t have gotten tested that it should be saved for those who “really need it”. Here is the thing–by the time you really “need it” you are in the ER having trouble breathing and they are treating you anyway. We are not having trouble breathing. Our experiences are highly individual. Our oldest had two days of 99 degree fever the weekend before my test. She has been fine since. The test is informative and, in my case, may allow me to help my family and friends who may get sick. One less thing for me to worry about. (We still wonder if we can get it again or have immunity.)
We are good now--3 days no fever–my husband and I still cough-he worse than me–People are telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. I have spoken to three different people at LA County health–they called me–so I know what their rules are. I was sent 4 different pdfs of what the rules are.
I am still tired. I tire easily, but I feel better. My goal here is to let you know what it is like when you are in it and not bad enough to go to the ER so you can prepare with some helpful hints. They would call what I had mild illness. It wasn’t mild. 8-10 days of fever is a whopping blow to a human of any age. In China they considered pneumonia to be mild illness-I don’t consider that mild, do you?
Here is an email I wrote before I was well: Dated March 26 2020
Wish I felt like I could be helpful with my story-Not sure I want to be public -not sure how long I can keep from being public. We are isolating. Not inflicting ourselves upon others.
We walk our street —it’s a dead end -turn around and go back in the house. My 13 year old dog likes it because I’m not walking very far or very fast.
Mon and Tues (march 23 and 24)were miserable for both Christopher and me. he’s feeling -maybe- better this morning -his fever was normal just now but he’s still productively coughing.
I’m a little better because it finally occurred to me that the reason I hurt so much may be Dehydration —so some electrolytes later I’m feeling a bit better. It took 2 bottles of gatoraid, 2 liters of water and 24 oz of ultima. But it’s been 9 days of fever. Shows no sign of stopping. I see some info that says fever lasts 2 weeks or so.
The only thing is I don’t know if we’ve been sick since mid February or a been sick for nine days. Because we actually have been sick since he came home from his guitar workshop that had people come from all over the world. China, Italy, Canada, Seattle.
People are avoiding us which is fine —people are scared of us and there is prejudice beginning. I’m sure it’s based on fear.
One neighbor was scared and told me that we should tell everyone. I don’t know exactly how – are we supposed to wear a sign “Covid keep back” We’re already staying away. There are so many different versions of this virus -there are so many different levels of symptoms. Here’s my thought from the inside— it’s like a cold in that people get colds that affect them differently from other people —some people have more nose and some people have more sore throat. This is kind of the same except it’s way worse and it lasts longer.
And It can kill you.
The common denominator is fever, dry cough, Exhaustion, loss of smell, loss of taste, pain behind your eyes, headache. But at the same time you could get all or none or only one. Because California is not testing that many people I can’t believe that I’m the only person who actually has covid in my area. I just think I’m the only one that knows. people are saying “I don’t know anybody else who is sick with it,” and I’m saying “well do you know anybody else who is sick, because chances are they have it.”
And to be honest I’m still worried that we’re going to have to take the drive to the hospital in the middle of the night or in the middle of the day. We’re still breathing fine but I don’t know when we’re out of the woods except for maybe three days after the fevers stop. Nearest hospitals are 35-45 minutes depending on traffic. Wish I could say that LA traffic is less-it wasn’t a few days ago, but it could be now.
He’s been worse off -coughing more-And it’s a productive cough, and he has a higher temp. And he is over 70. The people who are my friends say “can I get you anything? can I drop it on your front steps?” One lovely neighbor went and got my dog’s medicine and because the vet will not treat my dog. I’m going to be giving him his allergy shot this week. I have never done that before—seems like a little thing, but he has in the past rubbed his eye so hard he scratched it.
I’m so jealous of people who haven’t had it because they’re doing all these amazing things- they’re working out every day -they’re writing their books – reading and what I’m doing is cooking and cleaning and it’s exhausting.
I feel like I’m missing out on this wonderful opportunity, but it’s all I can do to just get through the day. It’s kind of like back when you were a little kid and you could hear everybody having a good time in the living room, but you had to go to bed.
I feel better today but my main job right now is to take care of my family. Grocery shopping is a full-time job– laundry is a full-time job —the girls are helping more and more which is good but they’re also both still in class and have things to do for that.
Our younger daughter needs to decide on her college in the next month without visiting. I don’t know how you do that but we’re going to try. She is visiting the schools on line. Prom is cancelled and we don’t know about graduation or grad night. She turns 18 shortly and we need to make that festive. Somehow.
One person tried to tell me how bad it was to have to work online and face restrictions in what they could do. I didn’t really feel charitable at that moment. I thought “well at least you’re not taking a deep breath a couple of times a day checking to see if you have any constriction in your chest or listening to your husband breathe at night making sure it’s not fast and shallow.” It’s in the background of my mind. I bought a pulse oximeter so we would know. Living 30-40 minutes from an ER makes you do those things.
The other thing that’s in the back of my mind? The fact that I had lung surgery in 2011. I had pneumonia caused by valley fever and I remember that feeling. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t walk far. But the day before I saw my doctor I crawled through the mall sitting on every available bench to buy our daughter a shirt for color day at school. Couldn’t believe I felt that bad. The next day I drove to the oncologists and said “I am staying until you figure out what’s wrong with me.“ They put me in a room by myself and I curled up on the exam bed and waited. They did figure it out, but it took a year to get it all resolved. I don’t want that again.
We are not taking ibuprofen or any anti inflammatory.
California doesn’t seem to be testing very many people so we have no idea who’s got it and there’s no way that among the 600 people in my neighborhood we are the only ones. I am not the only person my neighbors know. I am just the only one they know that got tested.
I got tested —does it make me lucky? It makes me a mark. people get mad because they are scared. The vet won’t see my dog Unless somebody else brings him.
End of email.
I am not a doctor.
So ask yours before taking anything. Oh, and I wish I had more Gatoraid at the start but my friend dropped some off to me.
- Gatoraid, Ultima electrolyte powder-the pain I was in, possibly from dehydration, was intense(and I have had two c-sections and a double mastectomy so I am not a wimp!)
- Thermometer that works
- Mucinex DM depending on your doctor’s advice
- Tylenol depending on your doctor’s advice
- Nasaline – a nasal irrigation system that is awesome, easy and buy extra salt. I irrigate my nose regularly as I have allergies and I do think it helped. Ask your doctor, some people shouldn’t irrigate.
- easy things to eat–frozen or quick as you will be tired.
- Imodium(if you have gi issues you want to have it in the house) ask your doctor
- gloves–rubber gloves for cleaning –helps to keep your hands from splitting from washing
- Weleda Skin food–to repair hands
- Cleaning supplies but by now you know this. If you get a positive test you cannot leave your house at all
I am still battling the dehydration issues. I can tell by looking at my fingers–they look pruney like I have been in the pool all day. I am tired today. Tried to do some yoga–gave up at the first Downward Dog. I did do a reformer work out day before yesterday. Not today though. Need more rest. I need to listen to my body.
You can get through this–it is crappy but you can do it. If you lost your smell or taste or both that is a sign–go to bed. And then get up and chop an onion it is amazingly easy! See there is a bright side(hope it holds through making dinner tonight–have to chop an onion)
Take care all. I am sorry this seems heavy but it is heavy, you know? We will get through it because we must. The hard part is that we are being asked to be passive. Stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands.
Americans like to DO things. We like to come in with massive amounts of help. Storm the beaches of Normandy. Save the world. We like to do. Right now though, do not do. Just stay home so the hospitals can handle it without us adding to it with traffic accidents, or more cases than they can handle of covid.
Stay home, hug your kids and let me know how you are doing.