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My Corona journey - part 3 - some improvement

Day four (Tuesday) was different. I had to take heavy pain killers the last days already. I woke up early with hammering headache so another pain killer for me. What a breakfast. When I finally got up, I felt dizzy, weak and as if something was sitting in my forehead. Weird sensation. But better than the days before. Hence, I tried to work a bit. With my weird head that was not easy and not much was possible. Also, have I already mentioned that my neighbor is renovating? Usually, I would have escaped to the office, but no, no escape. At some point my head got so heavy that I immediately had to put by head on the couch next to me (I work sitting on the floor). That was when I decided to lay down for a bit. Apathy and light-headedness of its finest. Luckily it did not stay like this for too long. Later I found out that this is fatigue which seems to be a quite normal symptom for Corona patients. It is good to know that all is normal. But at that point I did not know and being that extremely tired out of a sudden was very unsettling.

On the same day I got my positive test result. From first symptoms to the official result 4 days had passed. I felt bad enough to not leave to house the last two days, but on Friday and Saturday I was outside of my flat (because I did not yet know what was going on).

The official notification for being tested positive is very interesting. It mostly focuses on the wellbeing of everyone else but the person who got ill. Again, I am wondering if that is the right approach. Or rather, if this is not a one-sided approach. One only gets the info to contact the emergency in case of serious health issues. But may that not already be too late? Honestly, by now we know that we have to stay at home etc. when we have Corona. What one does not know is how to deal with symptoms. Even more so if you do not find your symptoms in the symptoms list. It is one thing to have an illness that one has had already several times, or having an illness that is new. One is left worrying. Especially, if everyone has over the course of the last two years been bombarded with how deadly this illness is. Then you get it, and you are left alone… If you have symptoms the information to call the emergency in case of shortage of breath is not helpful… Why is not more information provided? What are observed symptoms so far. When to call the GP for sure. What if other illnesses are present… One is left with dr. Google.

Day five was finally much different. No pain killers and it mostly felt like having a normal cold. Talking to brother, he stated: “yes this sounds like flu symptoms.” I had the flue as a kid I believe, so I do not at all remember how that was. I got a call from officials today. They try to call everyone who got a positive test result to talk about the symptoms, quarantine, etc. Finally, I felt like I was getting the support I needed. It is a bit late, though. Anyhow, the person on the phone was very friendly and answered all questions. For a bit I was worried, because he stated that I may have to stay in quarantine longer than “normal” people, due to an auto-immune disease that I have. After checking with a doctor, I got the green light to being treated like “normal” people. We covered my symptoms (which ones and whether it is getting better), when I got the first symptoms, when I got tested, other illnesses, potential pregnancy, if I was at work before I got ill, what work I do, how long I have to stay in quarantine and what the infection means for the green pass.

Day six (Thursday) started off well. When I woke up only my nose felt blocked, and I thought that I may now get better. Though when I got up I realized how heavy my legs are and how tired my body feels. No wonder after lying or sitting around for five days. I love moving around and my body starts feeling bad whenever I do not move enough. Moving more is not yet really an option, so I took a cold shower to provide my system with a little kick. That felt good, but it did not really help. My appetite is much better again which is a very welcome improvement (I like eating). I tried to work, but my head feels somehow foggy again. Like the other day it feels as if something is sitting in my forehead. What is weird about it is that there are phases of clarity. I attempted to work a bit. That must have taken too much from my system, because after an hour, I felt so tired that I had to lie down. Like the other day, I was not moving at all for minutes. I almost could not feel my body anymore. It is a bit worrying to experience my condition to change so quickly.

I am afraid of long Covid. I refuse to get it. But I suppose I will have to accept it if I get it. Though, I will fight. I watched a webinar organized by BMJ and what they talked about reminded me of what I am experiencing already. Maybe it is naïve, but I will set up a plan to fight this. I will not accept doing less sport. I will not accept being a fatigued potato, with brain fog not able to think about complex matters. I am a systems thinker. Complexity is my thing. This is worrying and threatening to me on many levels. If I get long Covid, how do I deal with it in my work. What measures do I need to take? Will there be understanding? Will I be able to work as much as I did before? This is truly unsettling.

I never had this before; you kind of feel fine and out of a sudden you are fatigued. In the webinar they stated that one needs to learn to manage it. To understand what triggers it, to understand limitations, to accept that one is ill and thus not able to perform at 100%. It is unsettling that some report this to take a year. Again, I have a hard time accepting this. But what can you do when fatigue overcomes you and you feel like if you do not put your head down right now, you will just collapse. But I should not worry. Not even a whole week has passed. It is not the right time to think about long-Covid. Though, my worries show what all the negative information is doing to me.

I am also worried that I will be left alone with long Covid, in case I get it. The medical system in the Netherlands is not what I am used to. Where I come from prevention is understood to be crucial and thus it is normal to get checkups eve if you are healthy. If you do not do your checkups regularly your GP will give you some serious talk (I once had a doctor almost shout at me because I did go to my checkup). I am afraid that one will be left with doctors who anyway do not know what to do. And thus, I am not even sure if it is worthwhile searching for medical help if I should need it.

After the talk with the official the other day, I was informed that I can leave the house on Sunday, if I have no symptoms. I would love to go climbing with my buddy Wanda on Sunday. I would love to go back to normal, I want to bike to work, do yoga, go to the boulder gym, take a swim in the ocean. At this moment I am not sure if leaving the house on Sunday is not a bit illusionary.

For the webinar:

Long covid: How to define it and how to manage it BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 07 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3489

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