It has been a month since I was diagnosed with COVID-19 and I still am not entirely well. Before I continue, let me state clearly that I know how lucky I am to have only had a moderate case. Given what I’ve read about people with the health issues I have, I am grateful that my case turned out to not be as severe as it has for many others in my position.
I still have no idea how we caught this. Because everyone in my house got sick at the same time, we assume we all were exposed together. Prior to the day we got sick, we had not left our apartment complex in over two weeks. By a weird coincidence, the day my son first showed symptoms, was the first time we had been out. He has a recurring health condition and when it showed up that day, we went to the nearby urgent care for a prescription, then went to the pharmacy to fill it. We were out for approximately an hour. He started coughing and feeling congested that night. My sister and I started experiencing those symptoms when we woke the next morning.
We know we did not catch it at the urgent care or pharmacy since the timeframe is outside the incubation period.
Prior to that time, we had only gone downstairs to the dumpster, mailbox, or laundry room. And I do laundry early in the morning before anyone else is out and about. I can’t even remember the last time there was someone else in the laundry room with me.
We get all of our supplies and meals delivered.
In any case, we mask up when we leave the apartment or retrieve deliveries from the doorstep. There is no glaringly obvious source of infection.
Those first couple of days felt like a very mild cold. At first, I thought it was just allergies. Our weather had warmed up after some rain and our cat was shedding his winter coat. When it became clear it was not allergies, we wondered where the heck we caught a cold from given that there were no obvious transmission sources.
Because we wanted to be responsible, we went and got a COVID test out of an abundance of caution. We were all shocked when they came back positive.
The county told us to quarantine and since we had already been having everything delivered, it really just meant we could not do laundry or take the trash out.
The day after the positive test was when everything changed. I felt like I had been run over by a truck. My body ached and I was beyond exhausted. For about a week I slept around 18 hours a day and when I was awake, I just laid in bed.
I didn’t eat. At some point I lost my sense of taste and smell, but since I wasn’t eating I didn’t really notice at first. I was forcing myself to sip water when I was awake but ended up very dehydrated because I was not getting enough liquid in. I only dragged myself out of the bed to feed my cat, go to the bathroom, and check on my son.
Recovery has been much slower than I would like. After that horrible week. I was able to slowly start eating again. The muscle aches went away and I stopped having to sleep as much, but I was still tired all the time and very weak. My sense of taste and smell slowly returned.
My son recovered after about a week of feeling crummy with headaches and coughing. Once quarantine ended he picked up the slack and caught us up on laundry and all the cleaning since I was still barely able to function. He is fine now with no lingering effects.
In the last week, I’ve been able to return to some level of normal. Maybe 60–70 percent. I still get out of breath ridiculously easily and by midafternoon I am tired and wishing for a nap every day. I do my best to not nap because it messes up my nighttime sleep.
The shortness of breath is the only symptom that worries me because there is a clearly defined difference in how I feel some days. Sometimes I think it is just a matter of building my stamina back up after having barely moved for three weeks. But other days I can feel something in my chest. It’s not pain and I would not call it pressure exactly. It is as if something is blocking me from taking a deep breath. When I try, it feels like there is resistance there. On those days the shortness of breath is significantly worse than on days when I don’t feel that sensation.
To be honest, I have a lot of frustration over having caught this disease because I followed all the rules. It’s been nearly a year now of staying home and only going out when I absolutely have to. I see all these selfish people doing parties and vacations and weddings and family gatherings and not getting sick.
The best I can say is that I survived it and I probably have enough immunity time until I can get vaccinated, so I won’t get it again. Now if my body would just go ahead and heal so I can breathe and I could stop being exhausted so easily, that would be great.