Commentary


Debbie Jacob -
Debbie Jacob –

DEBBIE JACOB

EVEN IN my darkest moments of fighting covid19, I knew I should feel lucky I only had a mild case. I didn’t have breathing problems. My oxygen levels stayed at 95, and my heart rate was good, but that didn’t make fighting covid19 easy.

The unpredictability of this virus makes it scary, frustrating and puzzling.

In the beginning, when the sniffles and scratchy throat started, I thought, “This isn’t going to be so bad. I’ll just stay in bed and read.”

Day two brought a slight fever, chills, a pounding headache and burning eyes that felt like they would pop out of my head. My legs felt like jello.

My worst symptom was an excruciating stomach ache. Reading or listening to a book proved impossible. Every spoken word felt like a jackhammer pounding on my head.

Feeling weak and tired didn’t make it possible to sleep. Confusion and brain fog frightened me. I could get out of bed to do something – like get a glass of water – and forget who I was and what I got up to do. I’d wrack my brain for answers. The mushy brain felt scarier than the physical symptoms.

The pain became manageable with extra-strength Tylenol. I can’t remember if that’s what you’re supposed to take, but that is all I had in the house. A strange feeling of deja vu washed over me. This felt like a milder version of a virus I had in February of 2020, a month before we were looking for covid19 in Trinidad. It took me ten months to fully recover from that virus that had all these symptoms, just ten times worse.

By day four, symptoms began to disappear one at a time. I woke up with no headache on that day. On day five, the fever disappeared. The stomach ache persisted. The sore throat became an annoying, scratchy throat once again. Eating still proved difficult. That rattling cough and dripping nose never ceased.

The physical anguish became more and more bearable, but the emotional repercussions of the virus worried me. Frustrated that I couldn’t hold onto any pleasant thoughts for more than a fleeting minute, I wondered if I would ever be able to feel like myself again, and that didn’t feel melodramatic. Events from the past kept popping up, but I couldn’t concentrate on the present or the future.

Worry consumed me. Will my memory come back? Will I be able to concentrate like before? Will I be able to care about anything or work towards any goal? Will I be able to exercise like before? How long will I feel physically drained? My mood spiralled downward. I became increasingly depressed.

I fought debilitating fatigue. I tried walking in my driveway. Unable to manage a brisk walk, I just did the best I could with slow, measured steps. I had to push myself to move for ten minutes once a day. The rest of the time, I took a couple of steps at a time. My body felt like it moved through mud whenever I tried to walk.

On day 11, I finally tested negative, but I still had an awful, rattling cough, stuffy head and runny nose. I felt and sounded like I had a cold. Of course, keep in mind that no two people suffer from the same covid19 symptoms.

I get that we probably can’t avoid covid19 forever. Still, I would encourage everyone to be as careful as possible. Keep the vulnerable among us in mind. Don’t jeopardise the elderly and people with comorbidities. Even a mild case of covid19 is an awful experience for most of us.

I am fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca and I had one Pfizer booster shot. I missed my opportunity for the second booster shot because I got atypical pneumonia when I returned from a trip to Belgium to visit my daughter.

There is no doubt in my mind that being fully vaccinated saved me from a worse case of covid19. I don’t want to imagine anything worse than what I had. Even before I got covid19, I made up my mind I would continue following covid19 protocols of masking, washing and sanitising my hands before entering businesses – even if the Government lifted any of these precautions. Wearing a mask helped me to dodge covid19 abroad – even when I moved through big crowds and travelled on trains.

Let’s not forget that this pandemic is still with us. It’s still important to be careful and considerate. Do your best to avoid getting covid19.