Two weeks ago, I exhibited the first symptoms of Covid-19–fever and chills. I did not know then that I caught the virus. In fact, since it would be the first workday of the year the next day, I brushed my health concern off thinking that a good night’s sleep would cure me.
However, I was awakened at past 4AM, with a fever reaching almost 39 degrees Celsius. My whole body ached. I sent a message to my supervisor and our Admin Officer requesting to work from home on the first work day. I also messaged our workplace health coordinator. I was thinking, darn! I even had a new haircut to be ready for the new challenges of the new year yet I couldn’t go to work.
By midmorning, my fever did not subside. The flu medicine that I took seemed not to have an effect. Also, I had an online meeting at 2PM. I washed my face, wore an office dress, propped myself up with a pillow and still attended, all the while feeling extremely awful. Then I fell asleep. It was evening when I woke up.
In the next two to three days, I felt terribly sick. My fever subsided for an hour only to come back again and again. I was aware of my every movement as I felt my bones and muscles aching. In fact, I became too aware of every bone of my spinal cord and my ribs as I felt them ache when I moved.
Then the cough came on the second day. I had to take a sip of lukewarm to warm water almost every few minutes when I was awake just to make my throat feel better. I applied menthol balms on my temples and my throat.
During my third night, I could barely sleep because of continuous coughing. It was exhausting. I finally fell asleep at past 2AM only to have a troubled dream about natural disasters (landslide, cracked earth, electric poles toppling, etc.) In my dream, I was not sick. I was a passive observer of the terrible phenomena as I moved agilely from one scene to the next, from a store in Paris, to a busy street in Manila, to a grassy lot in rural Philippines.
By Thursday, I felt that I had stayed in bed too long. My scalp felt hot; my body felt hot such that I thought I would get sicker if I could not take a bath. I did freshen up but I realized how much my energy was depleted. I heated water and put it in a basin. Then I sat on the toilet bowl pouring water ever so slowly on my head and body and washing my body with a soapy wash cloth. It was because I felt too weak to be able to stand under the shower. Bathing took too long and it left me exhausted, but I at least felt fresh. I also tried to check some work emails and managed to respond to a few but then, I got a headache.
I took the RT-PCR test on a Friday and the results were delayed by a day, but when I saw the word “positive”, I wasn’t surprised. It was obvious that what I had was worse than the flu. My fever came and went, my muscles ached, my taste buds were awry, and I had the constant feeling of fatigue. Going up and down the stairs at home took effort as I felt that my kneecaps had become wobbly and unstable.
During week 2, I was a bit better. I started working. I managed to prepare and send communications but my head throbbed. Same story for the second day but I was on a roll. I attended an online meeting, I prepared several Memoranda, etc. So when I woke up Wednesday, I felt a bit unwell again. But I had an online meeting and another two days after, and some urgent communications had to be sent out. I am a person who rarely took naps but this week, I really needed to sleep briefly after an hour-long meeting as I felt so exhausted and sleepy. It seemed that the virus drained my energy reserves.
I am able to write this now since I have more or less recovered. I am thankful that my ordeal did not last too long. I have recently read that for some who caught the virus, the effects last for months. I could not imagine being sick and helpless on bed for even a month. My two house companions also tested positive almost in the same period that I was. The virus is airborne so using different rooms and restrooms and limiting movement at home were not too helpful in preventing the spread of the virus. But I am glad, they’re well now too.
I pray for the healing of those who are sick. Please continue to take care of your health. Sleep well and eat nutritious food. Drink lots of liquids. Take vitamins. Get vaccinated against the virus. Be hopeful that the difficult period will eventually be over.