In December, after nearly three years of masking up, sanitizing my hands and limiting my social engagement, I finally caught COVID. In a lot of ways, I was lucky. By the time I came down with the virus, I’d received my two vaccine doses, my booster and my bivalent shot. My life was never in danger. However, it’s true what they’ve been saying: having COVID really sucks. I spent the better part of two weeks in bed with the worst cold- and flu-like symptoms I’ve experienced before I recovered.
But, the truth is, I haven’t really recovered.
As my cough and fever ebbed away, nagging symptoms lingered and new ones emerged. Some were minor. Respiratory irritations that I experienced years ago returned. The annoying wheezing and itch in my chest that perplexed my doctors five years ago, which I eventually addressed through lifestyle changes, came back overnight.
But others have been genuinely lifealtering. My already-disordered sleep has been turned completely upside down. A night with more than two hours of sleep is a good one. The cumulative effect of that lack of sleep wears on me, as do the ensuing migraines and brain fog. The fatigue is constant and often all-consuming.
I don’t know what the solution is. I’m not sure if or when I’ll get better. But I am sure that this pandemic isn’t over, no matter how much we pretend it is.
Published in Volume 77, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 26, 2023)