Day 10, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, final report: This is my last entry about this illness. Although I am still experiencing residual symptoms, especially nasal and chest congestion, I believe I am through it. It’s been days since I had any fever.
I had a worse case than many of those around me, and there is no telling why that might be the case. On the other hand, I never felt that my life was in danger, nor did I ever feel compelled to go to the emergency room.
My case is an excellent argument for the use of masks in public, since I was probably contagious for several days before I was aware I was ill, but I masked the entire time.
How does the vaccine fit into all this? I was vaccinated before the omicron variant appeared, and was probably protected from the previous variants.
Day 9, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022: I managed to sleep until 10:30 this morning, all on the living room couch, which, for unknown reasons, seemed to accommodate me better than the bed right now.
No fever today, and I am eating, but I still have that nagging cough, and I still can barely speak.
For the first time all week it was nice out, so I walked the dogs, and that went fine. While I was out I saw Mike next door. I kept my distance. He told me he was about to take his daughter Jen to the emergency room in Shawnee because of “some kind of crud.”
When I am legitimately better, I am going to clean, clean, clean. The reason I can’t do it now is 1. Cleaning send clouds of filth into the air and into my nose and lungs, and 2. The head-down posture required for things like scrubbing a sink causes a mucus shift in my chest and sinuses, which often triggers a coughing fit.
Day 8, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022: I slept the whole night, only interrupted by a couple of coughing fits, after which I was able to go right back to sleep. I was also able to eat a real meal today. I weighed 150 pounds this morning, compared to 139 pounds two years ago when I had the flu. Directly comparing them isn’t very useful, but at least in terms of “how I felt,” I was legitimately sicker when I had the flu.
My cough is mostly productive, and my voice has returned about 5%.
I think today was a step in the right direction.
Day 7, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022: As the day turned to night yesterday, it seemed like my cough was getting more productive and, despite the 100-yard walk to the mailbox that made me a little woozy, I hoped to get to sleep earlier and try to make up for a very sleepless period.
By about 1:30 this morning, I started having very intense dreams about being congested. To my surprise, with no warning or even nausea, I found myself running to the bathroom to throw up, which I did three times, and I was such a mess. I also had to clean up the mess in the hall where I hadn’t been quite fast enough to make it to the bathroom. It’s not like me at all to have gastrointestinal symptoms. I guess this is another thing we are finding with this pandemic; it is a very complex and dangerous disease.
Day 6, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022: It was very hard to sleep last night, despite taking a bunch of Benadryl, which makes me drowsy. The trouble both nights was that if a lied down and actually went sleep, not long after that a hugely uncomfortable coughing fit hit me hard, over and over. I ended up kind of propping myself in the corner of the couch and dozing off. If I wasn’t in a hard sleep, I could feel the coughing attack coming on and could either chase it out of my chest with a big glass of water, or by coughing it up before it got too terrible. Either way, I was up and down in a half-sleep doing that about every 20 to 30 minutes all night.
Day 5 supplemental: At around 4 p.m. while trying to talk to the dogs, I discovered that I have lost my voice. I also discovered that my throat was getting sore, and the mucus was looser. I don’t know if that’s a stage of the disease, random chance, or me doubling-down on the expectorants, but it is nice that I have a more-productive cough, which hopefully keeps me out away from any kind of pneumonia.
Day 5, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022: My recovery seems to be on hold. I don’t have any fever today, and I have yet to experience body aches many of my friends have described. But it seems to have settled in my chest. I am breathing fine, but I have a nagging, frustrating cough, such that despite medicating myself with tons of OTC meds, woke me up repeatedly last night. By about 4 a.m., I gave up and turned on some Netflix. I got a grand total of maybe three hours of actual sleep.
Once last night and once this morning, I coughed so hard I actually did blarf, but it wasn’t from nausea or GI, but that the muscles of my diaphragm slammed so hard it actually forced a little bit of food up.
Exactly zero appetite.
Day 4, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022: My symptoms are hanging on tight as a tick. Several people who had the omicron variant recently said they had a nearly identical set of symptoms, and they all said it was “like the worst head cold you ever had.”
I can still taste and smell. I woke up in coughing fits a couple of times last night and nearly blarfed from coughing so hard. My ribs hurt from coughing.
Since I have no appetite, I made a deal with myself that I’ve made with Abby a bunch over the years: even though it doesn’t sound good, what if I put some scrambled eggs in front of me? Turns out, they were great.
I had a very rough cold that was just like this in 2005, the week my dad died, and I felt so apologetic that I couldn’t stop coughing on the plane when Abby and I flew to Florida for his funeral.
It’s still early in my isolation, but except that I can’t visit Abby right now, I am enjoying it. The dogs are great company, and I use whatever energy I have to take on little projects around the house. I am also immersed in entertainment.
Day 3, later in the morning Monday, Jan. 17, 2022: Jamie called to ask me if I needed anything. For some reason, her genuine concern sort of shook off a layer of denial for me. After thanking her and hanging up, I worked myself into a legitimate panic attack which, in my current state, I mistook for shortness of breath. I laid down and put a fan on myself and tried to sleep, with Summer the Chihuahua on my lap. A minute or two later I thought I should call Abby and tell her I love her incase I died right then. I talked to her and she sounded good, so I was able to calm myself. As of 1:15 this afternoon, I am not dead.
Day 3, early morning, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022: I seemed to sleep all night long, but woke up feeling weirdly weak and dizzy. I am still coughing. No fever. If there is a bright spot, it’s that tooth paste and coffee smell and taste like toothpaste and coffee.
Day 2, evening, Sunday Jan. 16. 2022: A friend on social media saw that I couldn’t find a test kit and dropped one in our mailbox for me this evening. I took the test and it was positive. I have COVID-19.
Day 2, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022: I was able to sleep in, and slept well. First temp was 98.5ºF. Cough sounds and feels ugly, but not very different from a cough that might have with a cold.
Day 1, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022: I felt fine for much of the day, but by afternoon, I started thinking my chest congestion was becoming more significant. By around 5 p.m., I was running a fever hovering around 99.2º F, but no additional symptoms. My nose was less runny, but my chest remained congested in just about the same way it does once or twice a year when I catch the crud. It is a nagging nuisance, but I don’t feel any difficulty breathing, and I don’t feel any rattling like I did two years ago when I had the flu. Update late Saturday night: I still have my sense of taste and smell.
Prior to day 1, I felt fine except for a runny, itchy nose completely consistent with hay fever for about three days. It was very windy some of those days, and I covered several grass fires for my newspaper and got into the smoke. I masked the entire time.
At a photo/interview op Friday, the Ada Police Chief Carl Allen told me, “Don’t have a stroke, don’t have a heart attack, don’t get in a car crash, don’t fall out of a tree. There is no room for you in any hospital.”
I am not currently in possession of a COVID-19 home test kit, so I may go to town for one tomorrow.
COVID-19 numbers nationwide have been soaring, with a seven-day new case average of nearly 800,000, but fewer people than ever seem concerned or wear masks. The current dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2 is the Omicron, which is reportedly much more contagious than previous versions, but also notably less severe.
I got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 24 and March 26, and a booster vaccination on Aug. 23.
I have been in a hospital setting most of the time for the last six months, since my wife Abby was critically ill, then in long-term care. I have always masked in those settings, but I am certain that my risk was elevated by this.
My overall health situation is that I am 58, physically active at home and on the job, am not diabetic or obese, and tend to eat very healthy foods. My blood pressure is well-controlled, and I don’t have any important underlying medical conditions.
Sadly, I will not be able to visit my wife until I am fully well.