Covid Day 57 – Week 9
**This was posted on my Facebook on Friday 8, May 2020.
The photo in the featured image is from Tuesday before I went on a ‘big outing’ to the hospital for x-rays. It was my first time out, except for a nearby doctor visit, since 13 March. Of course, my sweet hubby made a great chauffeur despite his constant ‘Don’t touch anything!’ precautions (so I don’t catch anything else) as I left the car.
Yesterday I had an interesting follow-up call with my doctor here in the UK after getting back ‘normal lung x-ray’ results. The good news is that ‘normal’ means no scarring or further infection, but the disheartening news is that they are seeing more and more patients with prolonged, unexplainable lingering symptoms.
I have continued chest tightness, lung debris, hoarseness, shortness of breath and constricted lungs with any exertion, though week by week this has improved slightly. I don’t go ‘day by day’ anymore as I can have bad and mediocre days. And there is also post-viral syndrome issues such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches.
If you have lingering symptoms beyond a month, they are telling people to be more realistic with recovery. The doctor told me ‘2-4 weeks from now would be optimistic but really give yourself at least 6-8 more weeks’. That would be 3-4 months overall for recovery, not counting returning to normal fitness levels.
I joined a ‘long haul’ Covid group for those with symptoms over 30 days, though most are 45+ up to 80 days as this illness has not been around for very long. I’ve been in a general Covid one but it’s overwhelming how many people join each day (almost 1000 this week), and most are in day 5+ with understandable anxiety. This group is a good support for those who have just come down with the illness.
Many in the long haul group have wondered how they got to be ‘the lucky ones’ whose symptoms drag on and on.
A few observations that you may find interesting as it may apply to some in the future:
**This wasn’t really a group (at this point) for those on ventilators, vulnerable or high risk, but most fell in the category of generally healthy with no significant underlying health issues.
**Individuals are tired of the flu comparison. Many had gone through the flu or even pneumonia and said this was much worse, especially for those who went past 14 days of the virus. As a side note, there is a very good article just released on Med Page Today by an emergency doctor who is seeing the virus up close and personal but has also treated many flu patients and lays out the differences.
**For those with access to tests, many had received false ‘negative’ test results. FYI—more and more reports are coming out that test results can’t be fully relied upon.
**This is not a purely respiratory virus though SOB (shortness of breath) and chest constriction are often common denominators. Fevers, coughs, rashes, GI issues, muscle pains/twitching, swollen glands, sore throats, hoarseness, and the list goes on can continue for weeks but no one has the same symptoms.
**In referring to the above point, Covid offers a bespoke menu of quite damaging symptoms that is not based on your health or age. If you fall in the high or moderate risk groups you have a much greater chance of a severe case. Moderate risk includes things like pregnancy, diabetes, non-severe lung conditions, obesity, etc. I encourage you to look up these lists that can be found under the British NHS or US CDC sites.
Like myself, many fell in almost none (or few) of those categories and have had a very challenging time with the virus. When the question was asked in the group about any previous health conditions, it was a huge mix of allergies, rheumatoid arthritis or typical health issues one can have that are not ‘major underlying health issues’. But what surprised me most were the same amounts of ‘Nope, no idea.’, ‘I teach HiiT and am incredibly healthy.’ ‘I cannot even guess why I got this, I’m in such good shape.’
As they say in the UK, ‘Anyone can get it and anyone can spread it.’ This virus cannot be predicted so please don’t fall in that trap. I saw this up close when my 15-year-old athletic son suffered, yet my 17-year-old daughter was asymptomatic. Normally, when it comes to a cold, flu or virus, our family loves to share with each other. This virus makes little sense and doesn’t follow predictable patterns.
**Many had ‘normal’ x-rays, CT scans, and blood work in the later weeks of the virus despite chest tightness, lung debris, and shortness of breath among other symptoms. These lingering symptoms are from Covid and doctors do not have an accurate recovery timetable as of yet.
**I’ve had multiple discussions with ‘health freaks’ like myself who eat clean and take supplements and natural remedies. They dropped most of them (like myself) in the worst of the virus and are only now picking them back up in the later recovery stage. This virus does not act like anything we know.
**In the group, others have heard in recent weeks from many health professionals WORKING WITH Covid patients who use the rhetoric ‘We are shooting in the dark’, ‘It’s a guessing game’, or ‘We don’t have the research because this is so new.’
**Controversial posts of any kind, but especially like the recent ones flooding timelines mostly from the US like ‘Plandemic’, are in no way allowed in this group. In a Covid survivor group, you are just that, someone who has made it to the other side of a hellish experience and just needs to recover in peace.
These posts have been hurtful for numerous reasons to not just Covid survivours. I’ve heard too many: ‘Crazy people!,’ ‘Those religious conservatives—who do they think they are?’, ‘I’m unfriending a few people’, or ’I’ve lost all respect.’ These posts aren’t just hurtful to Covid survivors.
As an American/Brit originally from Texas, it also applies to a ‘US women in the UK’ group of almost 4000 members. One woman in the group said yesterday, ‘I feel like Oprah. Block you, block you and block you. And over here, block you, block you and block you.’ Another one said, ‘I swear, I will swim back to America and beat the next person who posts a conspiracy theory about this. We just lost my uncle last night.’
If you post these kinds of things I implore you to examine the fruit and realise that there are many who never respond, like or comment, but read every word. The world is full of deep levels of pain right now.
In the Covid group yesterday, an American individual wrote out some of their current concerns and gave me permission to quote:
“Normally, I’m in the gym 6x per week. I fly/travel for work multiple times a month. I wonder if there will be fear or some form of PTSD-like symptoms for those of us who have been fighting this. I’ve often thought about the lasting effects of this virus on our economy, education system, healthcare system and everything else in between. This…this….in between. Where those in conspiracy land will never understand this virus. Where there are those who were blessed/lucky not to have this fight. Where there are those of us who have been fighting for our lives in private. This ‘in between’ . . is us.”
I’m believing for 100 % recovery but I am in the ‘in between’. And this pandemic unfortunately has only seen its first wave. We do not know what tomorrow or three months from now holds.
On a very personal note, though the rest of the family is doing OK despite all our struggles, I have had a few emotional wobbles this week. This has happened when my lungs felt extra constricted from simple tasks like trying to unload the dishwasher. And I have had to turn down voiceover work a few times which drives home the pain of income loss and wondering when I will have strong vocal cords again.
Our family has chosen to practice consistent gratitude in the smallest things and it makes a huge difference even in our ‘wobbles’. We are deeply thankful for your concern, encouragements, kind thoughts and especially prayers which have meant so much and continue to do so in this very long haul journey.
I hope you have found this helpful, if you have questions please contact me on my website on the contact page.