I had covid a couple weeks ago and can confirm that it sucks. It sucks really bad. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. There was one time that I got sick last year, and it was not confirmed to be covid because the omicron variant was new at the time and the symptoms not publicized, so I figured I had the flu, a bacterial infection, or something, and just stayed home and away from people without bothering to take a test, but after the fact I figured there was a good chance that it was covid. If not, then this recent experience was my first time being sick with covid, and it was much worse than what I had last year and somewhat worse than what I was expecting.
I don’t usually get sick. When I do, I do not usually experience very bad symptoms and I generally recover quickly. I am also not great at acknowledging that I am sick. With past illnesses, it was typical for me to go about my business as though I wasn’t sick, to work out, run, go to work, do all of my normal routine. Some people might think that that’s crazy or stupid. Some people have said as much. My thinking was that if I felt able to sprint up hills, then why shouldn’t I?
There wasn’t much thought given to sprinting with this bout with covid. The infection started off mild. I noticed that I had an odd throat feeling. Not painful or scratchy or coughy, just odd. Considering that my girlfriend had spent the week desperately ill with covid, however, I took a test, and was actually kind of surprised when I got a positive result. Considering how many days had passed since exposure, I thought I’d dodged the bullet. Then I thought, at least it probably won’t be bad. The weird throat feeling was probably going to be the extent of it. I’d had two vaccines and a booster, so maybe it wouldn’t develop into anything more. It would be lame to have to be isolated, but hey, I’d feel fine, so I could just read and play video games and enjoy the solitude.
As the day went on, the symptoms progressed. I started feeling sore and tired. Then I started feeling cold, like wearing three or four layers and a beanie on a 60-degree day and still feeling chilly, cold. By mid-late-afternoon, I was feeling lightheaded, weak, and in a generally pissy mood. By the evening, I was in terrible shape. It would take me multiple attempts to stand up. Standing for any prolonged period made me feel like I might faint. I took my dog for a short, shuffling walk and spent much of the time worried that I might collapse on the road. The only time I felt close to okay was when I was lying down, but then I also felt as though if I fell asleep I might not wake up. I didn’t really think I was going to die, but the thought entered my head.
I was fortunate enough to be able to start a round of antiviral medication pretty quickly. Thanks to them, I gradually recovered over the following week, feeling more like I had a manageable flu than a disease that made me barely functional. I was lucky to get sick at this time, rather than early in the pandemic, when a bad case could be a death sentence, and there were little or no treatment options available. I was also fortunate to be able to get the antiviral medication, after meeting virtually with a kind urgent care nurse practitioner, because according to the nosy and judgey pharmacist that my girlfriend dealt with when getting my meds, because we reasoned that I was the more aggressively contagious one at the time, they don’t normally give the drugs to people under fifty. But she can fuck right off. Everyone should be allowed to use that stuff. And also, fuck my primary doctor, which has no one, not even an emergency on-call physician, evidently, to answer the damn phone on the weekend.