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For those of you who had confirmed coronavirus, what were your symptoms and how are you feeling now?
Note (3/29/20): It seems that my incomplete accounting of my illness has provoked questions and criticisms so I’m editing today to clarify some of those issues. If I’ve left something out, I’d be happy to respond as we move forward. This was never meant to be a scientific dissertation, simply a recounting of my experiences.
Thanks to everyone for the good wishes you sent my way. It is refreshing to see people supporting each other. We could use more of that in the world.
I’m writing this contemporaneously, as I’m still in recovery. My experience is similar to that of the others but I had some risk factors that may have exacerbated my symptoms.
My wife had to go on a business trip to San Francisco and returned 16 days ago on March 12. She didn’t feel well when she got home and my son, who is 12, and I developed a slight cough. My daughter, who is 10, has not fallen ill or exhibited any symptoms throughout this outbreak. That was on Friday, March 13th (seems like an ominous date).
On Monday, 3/16, I was preparing to begin a work project and that afternoon, a crushing fatigue descended on me. I couldn’t keep my head up and all I wanted was to lay down and sleep. My wife started feeling sick and had similar fatigue but not nearly as bad as mine. My cough wasn’t so bad and I had no shortness of breath, but I did have these crazy headaches and zero appetite. I also had a low grade fever throughout it all, never exceeding 101. Night sweats were common and at times I felt as if my body temperature couldn’t decide whether I was freezing or boiling.
By Wednesday, my wife felt better and had been working, albeit at a slower pace.
On Thursday, I woke feeling a bit better and thought that maybe I was on the rebound but by that afternoon, I was back under the covers again. It rared it’s ugly head again and this time it was worse.
By Sunday, I had developed shortness of breath, which elevated my concern. My cough had suddenly become much, much worse. At no point during all of this, did I have a sore throat though. Just a tingle in the very back.
On Wednesday, I had a virtual appointment with my pulmonologist and he was pretty concerned. I was told that I could not be tested unless I was admitted to the hospital and, at the very least, on oxygen. There were no outpatient lung x-rays to be had and no pulmonary function tests available. In other words, no diagnostics to be had. Now keep in mind that I live in a major metro area (I’d prefer to not say which one to protect my family’s privacy) with incredible medical facilities all around me. My doctor prescribed Levaquin, a powerful antibiotic, so that we could eliminate the possibility of bacterial pneumonia or a bronchial infection. He would have prescribed a Z-Pack, which is much easier on the colon, but he said that pharmacies were very low or out.
On Thursday, my breathing got more labored so my wife forced me to go to the hospital to get screened. It was a very eerie experience, with everyone in full protective gear and no one near anyone else. I was admitted with a temperature of 102 and my heart rate was around 120. My blood pressure was crazy high and I was dehydrated. They put me on an IV, took a chest x-ray and ran a bunch of bloodwork. My chest was clear and my oxygen levels were acceptable. They told me that I have COVID19 and that my symptoms were consistent with the hundreds of positives they had already tested. They were not going to do a COVID19 test or an influenza screen because those were reserved for the sickest of those they would admit, given the extreme shortages they were having. They brought my temperature down, pushed two bags of saline into me and discharged me.
On Friday, I felt the same but my wife was forcing me to eat.
On Saturday, and my wife, daughter and I, took a walk through the neighborhood. It was nice to get fresh air and the smell of rain from earlier today felt good. I could only walk about half a block before i was too winded to continue but I’ll try again tomorrow. To all who are wondering, I wore an N95 mask throughout the walk and the lone neighbor we encountered was no closer than 10 feet from me. Our suburban neighborhood is not so densely populated and there was a light drizzle as we walked. It’s odd to think that the very people you used to walk up to a chat with, are now at risk from those chats. These are the times we live in. If I keep forcing myself to eat, I hope to regain my strength. I’ve lost around 14 pounds throughout this ordeal.
Today is Sunday and I am beginning to feel as if the fog that’s been shrouded over me is beginning to lift. My wife has been making me smoothies during my time with coronavirus and today, it actually tasted like I think it’s supposed to taste. Food has not tasted good at any point during all of this. Even my whiskey, of which I would have one shot before bed to help me sleep better, tasted awful. My temperature is back to normal and my fatigue is minimal, so far. I can now tolerate a cool breeze without shivering. Yay.
I feel like I’m on the road to recovery. It’s just a feeling that things aren’t getting worse anymore. This has been very difficult and nothing like the flu. The flu hits you and you know you’ll be back in a few days. Yes, some will succumb to the flu but this is a very tenacious and crushing illness.
I’m 61 and have Sarcoidosis of the lungs which is an autoimmune disorder. I’ve had it for nearly thirty years and it has caused me problems, but nothing like this. The Sarcoidosis has been stable, or inactive for over twenty years so it’s never been a concern to me in the intervening years. What made me concerned the most about the Coronavirus was the progressive worsening of my breathing. I have never felt as if I would succumb to my lungs before, even having had lung disease, but this made me feel very uncertain about my future.
Yes, I was scared.
Anyone who tells you that this is nothing more than the flu is misleading you. This is very dangerous and can cause great damage to the body. It can cause a cytokine response () which will attack your body (similar to an autoimmune disease, which I have) and leave you helpless to fight it. It’s insidious and should be respected for what it can do to your body. It has the potential to be stronger than you.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and try to stay healthy. This is real stuff.
EDIT: On Monday, I was actually able to get up and move around without feeling as lethargic as I’d been feeling for the past two weeks. I’m still going through temperature swings but they seem less extreme. I’m tolerating cold better, less shivering, and the hot spells seem to make me sweat less. My cough has not improved so much but I am eating more. My family is relieved that it won’t be as serious as what they’re seeing in the news from others who’ve been infected.
Today is Tuesday and I feel pretty much like I did yesterday. The problem with my reporting early in the day is, that things seem to get worse as the day progresses. It’s still not so bad anymore so I’m not worried, but I remain vigilant. They said it could take a while to fully recover so I’ll only post future updates either once I’ve fully recovered or if things get worse, which seems unlikely at this point. Thanks again for your support. It means a lot to know that we live in a world where people care.