So, over a month ago, I had a sinus infection. No big deal. Treated with antibiotics, right?
Except for COVID. The sly little fucker.
The seemingly innocuous sinus infection sent my body into a tailspin. And, this is not unusual for long-term COVID patients. Our bodies are having heightened immune responses, and until that response is fully contained, other bodily infections are initiating over-charged reactions.
I could not move for several days. I had the “COVID headache”; feeling like a cap was constantly tightening on my head, extreme nausea, fever, muscle aches, nerve pain, and brain fog. My ex actually came over to take care of me. I literally could barely move, so feeding myself or my cats was almost an impossibility. He kindly made me plain chicken and plain rice, which was all I could stomach for about two weeks. He also took care of all the other household tasks I could not manage. He cleaned cat boxes, cleaned the house, and rubbed my head and shoulders. I could barely check my email. After 5-15 minutes on a screen, my headache would rage to the point of vomiting, and I would retreat to the sofa. (Not the weight loss plan I would recommend, but I did lose 5 pounds of the 25 I have gained from inactivity and eating being my only comfort over the last 4 months.)
I am now realizing the long-term implications of this illness, as well. My vision has changed significantly. Thankfully, I have found an optometrist that does online screenings, and while it is not as good as in person, it will suffice for now. Also, I have night- time neuropathy and muscle pain, which is deeply affecting my sleep, and therefore my waking life. It feels like jumping beans are in my joints and they are pulling my arms and legs. I haven’t slept more than 5 hours a night for over 4 weeks. For an 8 hour a night girl, that is not ok.
As I am recuperating, with a week of feeling mostly good, I am finally posting again. My intention is to raise awareness that yes, this virus can kill, but it can also brutally maim. In fact, the estimate is that 1 in 10 that test positive for COVID will have long-term (over 30 day) symptoms. This has a huge effect on not only lives, but livelihoods. How do you work when you can’t think straight or breathe? How can you work when you are exhausted by walking across the room, or can’t get off the sofa? How do you answer your emails when you can’t look at your computer screen without blaring headaches and nausea?
And, even though my doctors have for the most part been amazing, (I’m in a study through UCLA), and thankfully I have not experienced the same gaslighting others have from the medical community, many in the medical community do not acknowledge the complexity, or even existence, of these long-term symptoms. How do we treat and code these medical “anomalies” for long-term healing and insurance realities? How do we treat the multi-organ issues that will occur in the future? I am deeply grateful I did not have to be in the hospital during this time. I know people that are emerging from this medical hell with hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical debt. Will this crisis be what finally leads us to fix our broken medical system in the US? The long-term medical implications, costs and the overall economic impact of this virus is affecting and will continue to affect us all.
And, please share this! The intent is to help people!
In addition to sharing my personal experience and thoughts surrounding Covid, I send a once a week musing about leadership, business, finance and life. You can subscribe at www.kimberlihudson.com/blog.