COVID… damn.


I remember hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep. I was struggling to breathe, and I was only laying down. Motionless. Could I stop breathing in my sleep? The thought terrified me. so I forced myself to stay awake.
I found out I was exposed to COVID-19 from a good friend. The encounter was brief, but it was just long enough. My friend and I drove to the park, but this time, we drove together. Two days later, Parker called to say he wasn’t feeling well. Two hours later, he texted to say his roommate was feeling sick too. I panicked and said, “Not me.”
I live at home, so I told my parents and said I thought it would be a good idea if I stayed upstairs that evening. I thought immediately of our friend Henry, whose wife was ready to give birth any day. Although he wasn’t around Parker long, it was enough to cause a panic.
I couldn’t imagine him not being able to be there for his child’s birth; it saddened me. We let him know, and he was out of his mind. He had to stay at a hotel until he tested negative indefinitely. He then routinely tested himself from that day on. The scare was enough for him.
The sequence of events over a few days unfolded gradually. We all made appointments to get tested. But the eye-opening reality hit us all when Parker tested positive, and his roommate one hour later. Then, within a 2-hour timeframe, I felt dizzy and hot.
I told my parents and said, “I’m positive, I know it.” They held out hope, but my rapid test came back positive within 45 minutes. Henry’s at-home tests–he took two–were both negative. Such a feeling of relief.
Chris, my other friend, got his test back by evening, and it was positive. So somehow Henry escaped. That’s how I feel it goes–it chases you, but it doesn’t always get everyone. We may never know why.
After knowing we were positive, we decided the best action we could take was to get away. Chris’s mother went to the store for us and left the groceries in the driveway. We then hit the road, not knowing what to expect. Misery loves company they say.
Thankfully, my family owns a condo in northeast Pennsylvania, and it was a logical place to go. Chris’s mom packed us up with food, and off we went. By that time, I could not drive. I asked Chris to. He said it was the most challenging road trip he’s ever taken.
Again, his most profound symptom was fatigue, but I had such a bad headache and dizziness, there was no way I could. I hid that fact from my parents because I just felt it would worry them too much. When we arrived at the condo, we were zombies, and we retreated to our bedrooms to crash.
I woke up the next morning worse. The irony is I am a recovering chronic Lyme disease patient. I had just got tested, because in recent weeks before this all happened, I wasn’t feeling myself physically. I felt a relapse. My tests revealed my Epstein Barr was over the normal level.
Unfortunately for me, it’s known that spirochete bacteria, Lyme, remain dormant even after years of successful treatment. Epstein Barr, or mono, is considered by Lyme-literate doctors as a co-infection. It’s activated when the immune system gets low, so Covid would not likely be kind to me.
I feel blessed that although the headaches, respiratory distress, vertigo, and balls-out anxiety I experienced, I fell short of having to go to the hospital. I slept when my body just took me away. I wanted to get up and feel normal again. That was my goal.
Small steps. I forced myself out of bed after two days and tried walking the grounds of our condo complex. All good until 10 minutes in. I couldn’t breathe well. And I was still fuzzy and dizzy. It was like walking underwater with no air tank. Chris slept until 3 p.m. each day.
Ten days later, we had some hope but still didn’t feel ourselves. Chris was getting up earlier, and I no longer felt hot or as dizzy. I still get really tired and fatigued really easily and I wonder when the feeling will go away. As someone who has very active days as a soccer coach, I wonder when I will feel well enough to return.
I had a heavy heart thinking I may have passed the virus on to my parents. They both tested negative. Waiting for the results was brutal. I was beyond happy their tests were all negative. I couldn’t help but think my decision to stay upstairs when I found out about Parker may have been why.
My advice to everyone is to just be as safe as you can. It can happen to anybody, and I wish it upon no one. The unknown of the virus weighs on me every day. We simply don’t know enough about to it know. Be safe, wash your hands and wear your mask, for you could be saving someone’s life.