My Stint with Covid-19

May 15, 2020

 

Thursday,

I wake up in my bed, sweating. It must have been because I didn't turn on the AC. From my room, I can spy the clock on my oven display. It reads 2:47 am. I pop a couple joints, sway my hips, stretch my arms, and assess that I'm feeling ill. I dismiss this notion on the grounds that believing I'm ill will make it manifest. Call it superstitious or stubborn, but I account for this feeling by noting that I had 3 workouts sessions the prior day.

I move to my couch, put on a Netflix documentary. The idea was to surrender to slumber but the documentary was about World War II, so it caught my attention. I probably slept around 7 am, and woke up at 10, feeling like shit. Two oatmeal packets later, I return to the couch and acquiesce to the notion of a lazy day.  An inner voice prompts me to check my temperature. 99.3 degrees. Alright, not great but not terrible. As the hours flew by, I started having body aches, then chills. I put on the heat in my apartment. Then I wore a hoodie and lay under a blanket. I wanted to get up to eat, but the toll was too hefty. Around 7 pm, I gathered some strength to sit up. It felt like moving a mid-sized mountain. If I could just stand up, I could walk to the refrigerator for some food. I manage to stand up. It cost the energy equivalent of thrusting a rocket into sub-orbit. The floor oscillates to hell and back as I gain my bearings. I waddle to the refrigerator, my hands akimbo. My stride reminiscent of a zombie.
I open my refrigerator and decide on some watermelon. After that, I got some energy back. With that as motivation, I inhaled some salmon and potatoes, much to the chagrin of my taste buds. Energized by that, I strap on my mask and Bluetooth headphones and go for a walk. At this point, I feel less than good, but better than ill.

I return home in anticipation of an ensuing battle with Rona.

Friday
I wake up to the usual suspects, fever (102.7), chills, fatigue, weakness - nothing new here. But a novel symptom grabs my attention. A head splitting headache!!!  It felt as if all the aches in my body from the previous day had merged, and migrated to the left and right hemispheres of my brain.  What is this sick tag team of aches colluding to invade my body? This headache was so crippling that I couldn't stand up until 3 pm that day. Think of the sensation of your brain being deep fried. Sprinkle bits of water on it for good measure ; A recipe concocted by the chef virus. The headache was awful, it was as consistent as a heartbeat; Each pulse pumping battery acid into my head.


Saturday,
You know the leading cause of death in the Civil War?... Diarrhea. No, I'm not shitting you, google it. Anyways, that was my newest symptom. It came to trade away a little bit of everything. A little less fever, a little less fatigue. It didn't address the headache though.
I recall seeing this guy from my balcony, happily playing with his dog. I don't know how the thought surfaced, but I wondered whether drinking bleach would end this episode, and make me as happy and free as that guy.  What pisses me off is that I actually weighed that option for a fraction of a second.
My good friend Kimberly, brings me some food and some medicine. She is an angel. Saturday was a better day in comparison to the previous days. I laid down all day but I felt a little better.

Sunday
I woke up to nights sweats, just as I had the previous nights. Unable to go back to sleep, I did a body scan. It's a habit I've picked up from meditation. Afraid to confront the headache, I begin scanning from my feet. All is good up to my neck. As I enter my head, headache!! Splitting Migraine. FUCK! LET IT STOP! What started as a mindfulness drill to align my chakras, had turned into madness.
No fever, no other symptoms, just a crippling headache. Think of the motion your hand makes when you cut the tough part of a steak. OK now replace my brain with the steak. That's how the headache felt: an incessant sawing of my brain.
I'm able to get up after 2 hours of laying down. Surprisingly, I have a bit of an appetite. I eat some oatmeal, drink some coconut water and eat some strawberries.
I make an appointment with the urgent care near my house to get tested. To make a long story short, that visit was incredibly disappointing:

1.They said I don't meet the criteria for a test because I'm young, with no medical history and no chest pains or other severe symptoms.


2. My symptoms are consistent with Covid-19.


3. If they deemed it necessary to administer the test, my visit would have been free.


4.Because they didn't administer the test, I owe them $200.

What??? These statements are logically inconsistent. Also known as STUPID!!
As with any of my duels with Covid, I lose something and then I gain something. The nurse practitioner who saw me, gave me ibuprofen for the headache. She added the caveat that it had worsened conditions for some people in some inconclusive clinical research. Look, Mrs. Practitioner, if I contemplated bleach, ibuprofen is a no brainer.

Ibuprofen did the trick. It subsided the headache. Well, it did do for the following 6 hours. Sunday night, brought the most beautiful yet scariest symptom of all. I had 3 separate bouts of hallucinations. In this alternate world, my apartment was the most beautiful place I had ever been. It had beautiful chandeliers and decorations. Ultimately, the sane part of my mind recognized the conflict and brought me back to reality. I really wasn't asking for reality in that moment. I was pretty content. In another episode of hallucinations, I was able to conjoin my country, Ghana, with DC. 

 

I vividly recall being in Ghana, then recognizing that I live in the U.S and deciding to recreate DC. So I had the Washington Monument and Capitol Hill, and all that's in between, to my left, and my family house and the city that I'm from, Kumasi, to my right. I knew this experience wasn't a dream because I had a very difficult time sleeping that night. Also everything was so crystal clear, it was so 4K. It was an experience I had never had before


Monday was a good day, minor headaches, but it was Covid's swan song. By Tuesday and Wednesday, I could recognize myself again.

Though I don't have the assurance of a test, that it was Covid, I deduced by elimination that it had to be. Strangely, some part of me wanted to get Covid (with the guarantee that I would survive of course). I was being very protective of myself and others, but I fancied how it would be to get it. It's an historical event that is contemporaneous with our lifetimes and I partially envied first hand experience. Secondly, our immune symptoms protects us from all sorts of craziness that we can't perceive. But it's safe to say that for a relatively healthy person, it's hard to appreciate this defense mechanism. In the book/movie "fight club", Tyler Durden asks "how much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight"?  Well, Herr Durden, I don't know too much about myself, but I know a little more than I used to! 

 

 

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