Dr. Mark Courtepeter has studied how to identify and contain infectious diseases for decades. Two and a half years into the pandemic, he suffered from Covid-19 firsthand.
In early 2020, I experienced prolonged undiagnosed fatigue, which I attributed to contracting Covid-19 after traveling to New York and New Jersey. My tests were always negative, but I assumed I had the infection and recovered before better lab tests arrived. Thus, when I was able to “dodge the bullet” of infection for the past two and a half years, I assumed it was because I had super-immunity. That arrogance and delusion have shattered this past week. In the past, I was very good at following my general health precautions and avoiding exposure.
Two of my sons recently had Covid – both took the base dose and the booster. As an adult over 50, I was eligible for a fourth dose, but I haven’t had it yet. The reason I wasn’t was a combination of simple inertia and the inappropriate assumption that as an active and healthy adult I would probably be fine if I had an injury. Both of my sons were sick for about 36 hours. I thought if I got infected I would probably have been sick for two days. I was wrong – being nearly three times their age had a much greater impact than I could have imagined.
At around 5:00 p.m. last Friday, I had muscle and joint aches that were different from my usual post-workout pain. I also remembered that for the past couple of days I had noticed a very mild cough and nasal congestion that I attributed to seasonal allergies. Does this sound familiar? I wonder how many people with ‘allergies’ are actually spreading the covid virus. I decided to get a Covid test at home. I was shocked to see the speed and power of the thin line under the letter “T” on the test set. Covid got me.
There appears to be a widespread belief that Covid is now simply causing “Catch cold. This may be true of a lot of people, but not me. At first, I didn’t feel bad. I went out for an evening walk around the neighborhood, keeping my distance from others. When I got home, the whole family started wearing masks, and I moved into My son’s recently vacated bedroom. Everything went downhill from there. In another non-forced error, I probably should have gone to see a doctor and may have received baxlovid, but I’ve read reports and talked to colleagues who have experienced the same type of reflux, or recurring symptoms “I didn’t want to risk that,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently testified.
Tonight 1: The temperature is 101.5° F
This was a night from hell. I was in pain everywhere. My sinuses were so stuffed up that I couldn’t breathe, causing migraines and nausea. But the worst thing was that when I was able to drift off to sleep, the muscles in my feet would suddenly spasm along the arches without warning and wake me up.
My heartbeat lasted over 100 throughout the night (my normal heartbeat is in the 60’s). I was so exhausted, I could barely move, and couldn’t eat or drink anything. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I started to fear that my kidneys would stop working due to a lack of fluid intake. It still took me two hours to gather the energy to get out of bed, stumble into the kitchen and pour a glass of water.
Tonight 2: The temperature is 101.5° F
Things were a little better. I think the water helped reduce the frequency of foot cramps, and despite the constant fever, my heart rate went down to the 90’s. Nasal congestion improves. I gave up and took some acetaminophen so I could wake up long enough to pay some bills.
Tonight 3: The temperature is 101.5° F
Now I thought my temperature would drop, but it continued relentlessly for another night. My heart rate dropped to 86, but my heart was pounding whenever he lied, which kept me awake. The nasal congestion seemed a little better, but tonight I had a sore throat. Every time I swallowed it felt like someone was burning the back of my throat with hot poker.
Tonight 4: The temperature is 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Finally, the temperature began to drop. Despite the drop, my heart rate remained steady at 86. Sore throat was a little better, but the congestion persisted. When will this end?
After four days and nights of constant fever, my temperature finally fell back to normal. I managed to get out of my “cave”, but I wasn’t even close to it. I was left exhausted and exhausted, and my legs felt like rubber for another five days. I sweated through the slightest effort. Although I hardly coughed during the acute phase of the illness, I now had an annoying cough that came on without warning and felt like I was cutting into my lungs.
One of the most common symptoms you hear about is loss taste or smell, but I never noticed that. However, the smell of food or brewing coffee causes nausea. All I could stomach was the occasional piece of fruit, and I lost interest in my daily cup of coffee. You also read about people with ‘brain fog’. What I found was a complete lack of energy or the ability to motivate myself to do anything other than lie in bed. About an hour of time elapsed between each time I thought of something I needed to do, like going to the bathroom or drinking a glass of water, and when I was finally able to get up and do it.
I lay in bed for four days in a row thinking about all the things I should do, but I just stared at the ceiling fan as it turned. Remember Martin Sheen in the opening scene of the movie “The end of the world now!” When he emerges from a drunken stupor he stares at the ceiling fan while hearing the helicopter’s blades bang in his head. Even for the smallest things I wanted to do, I couldn’t muster up the energy:
– read the newspaper? No thank you
– Watch the next episode of “Stranger Things?” Not tonight
– Write my next article Forbes? You will have to wait
– Wordle today? I can not focus
Now, over a week later, I still tire easily, I still sweat at the slightest activity, I’m still congested, and I still cough. The sore throat finally went away, but the swollen lymph nodes in my neck persisted.
The true toll of covid
We recently had good news with Covid – despite the ups and downs casesWe didn’t see a subsequent rise in hospitalizations or deaths. There’s one thing the good news really isn’t, though it’s personal Covid tally, in those who survive and beyond focus on mortality and hospitalization. Absenteeism and loss of productivity may be less realistic or quantifiable. I basically lost a full five days of productivity, and I still haven’t finished it – hopefully I won’t end up among the growing numbers covid long. I try to take it slow.
In the end, this “just” wasn’t a bad cold for me. With a high fever and a high pulse, it’s easy to see how someone with heart or lung disease can be pushed over the edge. I’m in good physical shape and I exercise regularly, but it still affects me a lot. I expect there will be plenty of other people who find themselves in a similar midst – not a mild case, but also non-hospital residents. In the past, I wish I had a fourth dose of the vaccine, because I’ve crossed the six-month mark since the third shot. I also wish I could go see someone – maybe they would give me a baxiloid.
There was one positive side – it turned out that this was an unexpected program for losing weight. Within four days, I was able to lose two and a half pounds! But I would caution against trying this at home.
Full coverage and live updates of coronavirus