My Covid Experience

September 12, 2022

I've had Covid twice.  

The first time was March of 2020.  I lived a lifestyle that essentially guaranteed I would catch it.  Every day I go to a different coffee shop  (mostly Starbucks) and spend 4-6 hours working.  Not for Starbucks, but programming.  It's a good deal, I get coffee, lunch, breakfast, bathrooms, power and they get paid for 3/5 of those things.  I tend to go to the most popular coffee shops, the more people, the more background noise, the more I can focus on programming.  After that I most days go to the gym, LA Fitness.  After that I will go to a bar or to a gaming event with 20-40 people or the symphony or a movie.  This ends up exposing me to somewhere around 500 people a day.  

One day I remember sitting in Starbucks next to this guy who kept coughing over and over.  I remember thinking, doesn't this guy know there is a new virus spreading around the world?  A respiratory virus?  I got what he got a couple days later.  I didn't think much of it but I went to CNN and saw the symptoms of Covid were exactly what I had.  I went to the doctor, I said I think I have Covid, and they said unless you have lung problems it's currently the policy to not test you for Covid.  I essentially begged her to test me but they wouldn't do it.  

For the next few days I was on a steady diet of Uber Eats, Ibuprofen and Flonase.  

One day I woke up, sprayed some cologne on my wrists and as always, smelled my cologne.  Today was weird, I didn't smell anything.  Five seconds from spraying it on my skin, and two inches away I smelled literally nothing at all.  That's weird.  I figured I must have fried my sinuses with all the Flonase I'd made snorting.  

Eventually I got better, got my energy back which took a while.  Then I heard one of the unusual symptoms they discovered with Covid was losing taste and smell, and then I knew I must have had it.  For those of you who have experienced this, it's not subtle.  

The next time I got Covid was around May of 2022.  

On a Thursday I had a bunch of work from clients backing up, so I decided to try to just put in an huge day and get in as many hours as possible.  On the way home I had a couple drinks and dinner and then started feeling a little crummy.  The next day I took it easy, and went out to an event on Friday with Ibuprofen and Sudafed.  I made it through okay and decided to just take it easy on Saturday, relax, I already made it through the worst of this and a day of rest would be all I needed.  

My friend called the next day and asked if I wanted to hang out, I told him I couldn't, that I wasn't feeling great, and was going to take it easy.  He said his mom just died recently.  Apparently she got bitten by a cat and got some kind of infection and died within the next 24 hours.  I felt like I should talk to him so I took some more Ibuprofen to get my fever down, walked around Green Lake which is about 3 miles long, and went to a restaurant, ordered a beer and a double scotch.  Then went home.

Within a short time I was feeling way worse, and I developed a sore throat.  As the night went on my throat got worse and worse, I would describe it like swallowing glass every time I swallowed but I don't think that would be as painful as what I was experiencing.  That night I only slept about an hour because of the pain.  I also developed a cough, every few minutes coughing up a lot of phlegm into a paper bag next to my bed.  

The next day I was still dealing with the throat, and the next night my temperature got to 102.8.  This was despite me taking acetaminophen and ibuprofen all day.   I read that if it reaches 103 or more you are supposed to go to the hospital, so I got a bunch of towels and soaked them in cold water and put them over my head and torso and I managed to keep my fever under 103, but my throat was still causing problems.  I looked in a mirror and saw it was full of white spots on the back of my throat a coating of blood.

Around 3am with ibuprofen not killing the pain, I went to the store looking for lozenges, chloraseptic spray, a few other things I never heard of, looking for some way to stop the pain in my throat for long enough to fall asleep.  I got back and nothing really worked.  I waited until 8am to go to the walk in clinic, as I had determined at this point things had gotten beyond resting in bed to fix. 

I didn't sleep at all, I just waiting all night for the walk in clinic to open, and having only slept an hour the night before, and being sick, I was feeling pretty terrible.  When I got called in after having to wait into my car due to Covid concerns I went in, they swabbed my throat and did a test for strep and Covid, and it came back positive for Covid, as I could have guessed from the extra heavy duty masks everyone in the room was wearing now.  I got a prescription for Tylenol 3 with Codeine, and upon my request, Lidocaine mouth rinse.  

The pharmacy is in the same complex as the walk in clinic so I walked next door, and put my prescription in, and it so happened to be the case I had appointment with the doctor the next day for something unrelated, so I figured I'd go over to the receptionist to cancel my appointment since I wouldn't be able to see her with Covid.  On the way there I stopped by the bathroom to cough some phlegm up, but under the bright lights of the hospital bathroom, what I saw in the sink was only half phlegm, the other half blood.  In my dark room I hadn't really been examining what I was coughing up.

I went to cancel my appointment, but after about a minute after giving her my information, I told her to hold on, I felt like I was about to pass out.  I sat down in the waiting room chair, and leaned over the arm into the other chair to get as horizontal as I could given the seating configuration.  

The receptionist started asking me something.  “I'm about to pass out.”  I said again, annoyed at this point.

A doctor was in front of me asking if I was all right.  I was aggravated no one would just let me lay down in peace, but at this point I realized I was no longer on the chair but on the floor, and it wasn't just the doctor but about 4 other people surrounding me.  I then became aware of a lot of pain in my head and my back.    I did pass out.  It's weird, no time passes for you when it happens, you're completely unaware there has been any interruption at all.  It turns out I had been unconscious on the floor for about 3 minutes.  During that time they called an ambulance, so I sat in a wheelchair for about 2 minutes before the ambulance got there and they put me on a gurney where I discovered I had pissed myself while I was out.  The paramedics said that was pretty common.

They gave me an EKG, blood glucose test, blood pressure, and I believe a couple other tests I don't recall, everything seemed OK.  I asked if someone could bring my meds from the pharmacy to me, then I got in the car and left.  I felt kind of strange driving home after all this occurred.

I got home, took the Tylenol with Codeine and the Lidocaine rinse, which is a miracle of a drug.  Getting to sleep was a lot easier after that, except that I had to lay down in a very specific position because my back hurt so bad now.   After getting some rest over the next 24 hours my symptoms improved dramatically, and after about another week I started feeling normal again.  Unfortunately apparently broke a rib when I fell, so sleeping was an issue, not to mention no gym, no running, no skating, swimming, etc for about 6 or 7 weeks.   

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