Two days after I got home from the hospital, I began to feel sicker than usual.
My every day consists of fluctuating symptoms, making it harder to identify when something new arises. It is often confusing to know whether the pain is just part of “normal” pain, or something new. This time I was confident something else was at play; I thought I might be getting a cold so I warned my family to keep their distance. Then, I began coughing and lost my voice. The coughing was agonizing to my newly operated on GJ site. My abs contracted when I coughed, and it felt like someone was trying to rip out my tube.
The at-home Covid test was negative, but the next day my temperature began to climb. Every passing hour yielded a higher temperature until I held steady at 103 degrees. Severe aches and fatigue took over my body, and my temperature swings left me sweating and shaking. I swabbed my nose again the next day, and this time I was Covid positive.
It was terrifying. The last time I had gotten a cold, it resulted in two neurosurgeries and the loss of my ability to walk. If a simple head cold could take me down for months, what damage would Covid-19 bring? For the first five days, I was down for the count. A loud cough, extremely sore throat, worsening body aches, nausea, headaches, and vertigo attacked me. But the symptom that scared me the most? Increased neck pain.
Needless to say, I was miserable. It is hard enough to be in constant pain with a chronic illness, but Covid on top of that was a nightmare. Luckily, my immunologist was able to prescribe me Paxclovid, an investigational medicine used to help patients fight off the virus, and a bronchodilator through a nebulizer to help preserve my lung function. These tools helped my body fight the virus off.
To be on the safe side, my grandparents left shortly after I tested positive, and the rest of my family stayed far away from my room. Because my mom’s job requires her to interact with clients, in fairness to them, it made sense that she keep her distance. My dad is able to do some of his work by phone and so he stayed home from work and took care of me each day of my quarantine. He hardly ever gets sick and claims that he is “invincible” since he somehow managed not to catch Covid from me despite our close proximity. I am very blessed to have a selfless dad who is always there to take care of me. I also realized how fortunate I am to have had access to Paxclovid, amongst other medicines. The pharmaceutical companies often get lots of negative comments, but they do produce life-saving medications, and I am very grateful for that. In a different time period, with different parents, I would be dead by now. Despite the trials of this painful chronic illness, I hope to never take that for granted.
Fast forward two miserable weeks and my body returned back to “my normal,” with the exception of a persistent cough. This body of mine may be extremely weak, disjointed, and dysfunctional, but it fought off Covid-19. Let’s go!!