Today marks 3 months since I considered myself “recovered from Covid-19”. But I am still not fully recovered. And here’s the truth. I lied about it. I’ve come to terms with the lie, and I know why I did it.
Oh, I don’t mean that I lied about HAVING the virus. I mean I lied about how it affected me. Surprised? Well if you follow me, know me, or are related to me, you might be able to figure it out.
Let’s face it. I’m a survivor. I’ve survived two near death head on car collisions. Two failed marriages. A huge financial loss. An Auto Immune Disease. An almost catastrophic health crisis in 2016. A 3,000 mile, cross country solo move in 2017. I’m a self professed Warrior Woman. A Honey Badger. “I don’t give a shit”, right? Well I’m also a motivator, caretaker, and empath. When I took a career evaluating personality test 25 years ago, the analyzer told me that I required multiple outlets of significance. That’s me! “Squirrel!” Where’s the next humungous challenge?
People applaud my strength, my tenacity, bravery, adventurous spirit, and fearlessness. I do too. I wear my accomplishments like badges. They hold me up and I can look to them when I feel vulnerable and weak, and they help me face another day.
But I lied about Covid. To my family. To my friends. To myself. I wanted so badly NOT to be a weak, vulnerable, sick person, that I downplayed it. I posted videos on social media, pretending all was well. I brushed it off as being allergies, or a sinus infection. I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. I didn’t want the attention. I wanted to be inspirational and motivating during the self quarantine. It worked for a while. People liked my videos and message. I felt a responsibility to hold my followers and family up while everyone was scared, bored, frustrated, and lonely. Until I couldn’t.
But the truth is, I was more sick than I admitted. And that made me angry, frustrated, and very frightened. I just didn’t want to admit it.
I’m the only one that I know of in my entire extended family that contracted the virus. My family is spread out in over 7 states. Each state has its own Covid numbers and stages of infection. Nobody knows where this thing is going and I’m concerned about losing a loved one.
I downplayed my illness because I have to be the rock. I’m the one that holds everything together. I can’t let anyone see the cracks. Let me tell you the truth and you will know why I will continue to lobby for masks, social distancing, and yes, even closures when it is necessary.
I wouldn’t wish this virus on another human being. I have children and grandchildren that give my life meaning, and if any of them got this virus, I actually don’t know what I would do. I was lucky. I was never hospitalized. Had I driven the 40 or so miles to the nearest hospital, however, I have no doubt that they would have admitted me. While I told my kids and siblings that I was miserable but fine, I was really terrified that I was going to die. During the throws of the high fever days-about a week, the misery I experienced caused me not to care whether I lived or died. I’m talking abut losing the will to live because the pain was so intense. With all I have been through, this was the first time I have experienced this sensation. I DIDN’T CARE IF I DIED.
Of course, the thing that kept those thoughts from fully surfacing was the all consuming love I have for my family. I truly credit them for giving me the strength to overcome this beast. I spent 17 days in Hell before there was any steady relief. Almost 10 of them were mostly in bed, except for the fact that I had 3 dogs that needed to be taken outside. The effort it took to get out of bed and walk out the door resulted in collapsing in bed for 3-4 hours of painful sleep. I was in so much pain, it felt like my bones were breaking. Breaking over and over again for almost a week. That kind of pain, where the skin on your abdomen screams for the mere fact that your shirt happens to be touching it, is indescribable. My cough was dry, constant, and rib rattling. It lasted a month. I pulled muscles from coughing. Each cough set my headache through the roof.
I experienced confusion to the point that I couldn’t watch TV, eat, read, or function. I was alone and didn’t eat for 5 days. I lost all desire to eat or drink anything, all the while experiencing incredible thirst. There was a metallic taste in my mouth and I was nauseous to the point of vomiting several times. The severe lower GI stress lasted 5 days. The headache and fever were fierce and relentless. I’d put the blanket over my eyes and stay as still as possible, hoping that would give me some relief. No amount of rest or Tylenol helped. In the midst of this, I also developed a sinus infection. My doctor called in a prescription, which took 8 days to give me relief. I forced myself to eat broth when I started taking the antibiotics, so that I wouldn’t have the side effects that are common with those meds.
The recovery began at day 17. It was slow. The cough lingered for another 2 weeks. The confusion- a little longer. My lungs are still not operating at capacity. I’m a multi marathon runner, Ironman, and distance swimmer. I can still barely run 4-5 miles or swim more than around 900 yards. I’m gasping for air after each 100 yard easy swim. THREE MONTHS LATER. I’m taking great care of myself these days and getting as much sleep as I can.
The lesson for me is that my ego is not bigger than this virus. It defeated me for while, even though I denied it the whole time. I lied about it. I’m not lying now. I was scared and afraid to go to sleep at night. I pray no one in my family gets this monster. When people talk about the relative low percentage of deaths, I wonder, what the heck is wrong with them? Are they forgetting about the one’s that have to live through it? Do people like me, or God forbid the unfortunate one’s that are put on ventilators, lose limbs, need dialysis, go blind, or any of the myriad other horrible effects matter? This is not an “all or nothing” virus. It is a cruel, ugly bastard that can take a healthy human being of any age, and completely ruin their life.
So when you mock me on social media and call me a “sheep” because I wear a mask in public, I don’t care. When I anger you because I push for mass testing, social distancing, and smart practices, now you know my motivation. Call me any name you want. I actually care about your health. I care about mine and my family’s. Wear the damned mask. Stop arguing with business owners who ask you to wear one. You have no idea who is vulnerable-and it could be YOU.