Taking a side trip from the usual nature diary to reflect on how life changed one year ago.
One year ago, all I smelled was that funky odor of old gym clothes. Everywhere. Home. Work. Car. I rewashed all my clean clothes. No change. A few days later I had a horrendous headache. It lasted for days. My lungs were getting full, as though I was having an asthma attack. And then I came down with a fever of 101F. Which is significant because my normal body temp runs from 97 – 97.5. I called in sick for just the second time in my life. I hadn’t been sick, not even a cold, for 15 years at least. And here I was just knocked to the ground. I remember in my sick haze going to the store for ibuprofen, because I didn’t even have that in the house. The shelves were empty and I remember thinking there must have been a recall or something. But all brands??? I was too sick to understand. I finally found a bottle to purchase. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I made the connection to pandemic hoarding. I stayed in bed for 2 days. Tried to eat but food had no flavor. By the third day in bed, I could barely breath, I couldn’t take a deep breath. My lungs hurt. Since it was a Sunday, I went to urgent care, hoping I could at least get a rescue inhaler. Again, I hadn’t been sick for years so I also no longer had an inhaler for asthma flare ups that occur when I get sick. I got a prescription for an inhaler and no diagnosis of anything and went home to sleep it off. A few days later the fever broke, I started feeling better and went back to work. The next weekend I made a pot roast that was the funkiest tasting pot roast I’d ever eaten. I froze half.
So, did I have C-19? I will never know because at the time so little was known and tests were scarce and you only were tested if you’d travelled internationally. I hadn’t. It was a good 6 months before antibody tests were available, so that wouldn’t have picked it up. But there’s reason to believe it is what I had. As we later learned, the virus was in the country in January. People in my office had been traveling all over the country for conferences and they came back sick. And shared it with the rest of us. About two months after I was sick my hair was falling out in handfuls. What I normally lost in a week I was losing every day. For like 6 weeks. It was horrible! And I was plagued by headaches, usually at night. The headaches continue a year later. I had a really difficult time focusing at work for several weeks after. I made dumb uncharacteristic mistakes. The brain fog continues on and off and lasts for days before receding again. I would be fatigued after walking 2 miles when I normally walked 4. Any part of my body that had a previous injury was again hurting– the sprained ankle, the twisted knee, the broken toe, the frozen shoulder. This went on into early summer.
And that pot roast I had frozen? It tasted perfectly normal a month later.