My Covid Journey Part 1: Lost and Found and the Ultimate Victory

My Covid Journey Part 1: Lost and Found and the Ultimate Victory

Author’s note:

I write and share about my journey with getting CoVid and recovering because I believe our stories heal the world and enrich the collective experience we share as humans.

I come from the intention that, should you feel troubled in navigating the ups and downs of life and business, I want you to know I get you.

Before contracting CoVid, I thought having a strong mindset, heart, and spirit was enough to change and create my reality. But as you read through this 2-part blog, you’ll see how I came to the realization that this thought was incomplete.

Day 0

I was exposed to CoVid-19 on May 21, 2021. In CoVid-19 lingo, the day of your exposure is your “Day 0.”

I knew exactly when it happened because right after the little rendezvous I had with my friends, we all showed some kind of discomfort. In their case, some had headaches and even fever. In my case, I was just a bit tired and needed a nap. I didn’t think too much about it because that week had been packed for me—I’d been working and socializing much more than the previous weeks, so being tired made sense.

Being sensitive to my physical body, I decided to take the weekend off and just slept a lot. Normally when fatigue seeps in, I’d be feeling completely renewed after I’ve had a chance to sleep and recharge.

This time though, I felt disjointed.

My mind was sharp . Crystal clear.
Yet my body felt wobbly.

On Day 3, I had a strong feeling that the virus had entered my system. When one of my friends mentioned she was getting a home service PCR+ test, I thought about getting one as well. I had a doctor come do a housecall. He came on Day 5.

Confirmation

The doctor confirmed I had CoVid and, since I wasn’t showing strong symptoms, he asked me to increase my vitamin intake and go on bed rest until Day 10, which I would hopefully pass with flying colors. He also requested I send him updates of my vitals (temperature, O2 saturation levels and heartbeat) every 4 hours.

I decided then to take it slow with work and only kept one client call that night. I thought it should be okay since the call wasn’t a brainstorm or strategy call. It was more like a check-in call, and wouldn’t require much energy.

But after that call, I had a fever.
And I knew then that my body couldn’t handle any kind of stress.

  • So I messaged my operations manager to coordinate with everyone (my clients, my collaborators, my team) and explain that I’d have to be on bed rest while observing how the virus would affect me.
  • I wrote to my inner circle about getting CoVid just so they wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t respond to messages.
  • Everything was put on hold: proposals that were in the last phases of negotiations, client service, projects with different collaborators, all of it.

As someone who tends to be more “on” than “off,” this was a new experience. I normally only take 1 day off a week, and even on holiday I still check my emails and inboxes once a day. But this time I decided to really unplug and let my body rest to fight off the virus.

I was thinking, “I should be okay after I pass Day 10.” I mean, it was already Day 5, so Day 10 was just 5 days away!

I was wrong.

An Ongoing Battle

Instead of “5 days and I was better,” it was more than a week of me waking up with 35°C (95°F) and then having a high fever come night time.

With the fever came breathlessness and extreme fatigue.

I still had my sense of taste and smell, but I had no appetite and no energy to do the most basic tasks like –

  • Drinking water
  • Taking meds
  • Washing my face
  • Going to the loo
  • Changing clothes

Even getting up off the couch took massive levels of effort and determination.
Everything was a struggle.

For the first time in my life, I felt so hopeless and helpless.

I was praying all the time but I couldn’t connect. I couldn’t hear God. I couldn’t ask Him why and I couldn’t hear Him answer.

My strong mindset, heart, and spirit slowly weakened with despair.

My dwindling energy and fever made breathing hard. It took a herculean effort to just take deep breaths. My oxygen saturation was at 80% and there were times it went down to 70%. My doctor wanted me admitted immediately… but my instincts told me it was not necessary.

As a compromise, I went to the ER to have all the tests my doctor wanted, and then I went back home.

My results came back almost totally clear, but my body still needed time. I knew it in my heart even though my mind wanted to believe otherwise

Trusting My Instincts

On Day 8 I had tried willing my fever away to no success. Instead I got a runny nose and more difficulty breathing. My sinuses cleared on Day 11, replaced by a cough that slowly worsened.

On Day 13, my body told me to stop taking Paracetamol which I was taking every 4 hours for my fever. There was this big, strong message of “enough.”

And though logic told me otherwise…
And though not one but two doctors insisted I take Paracetamol until I got better…

… I listened to my instinct and stopped taking paracetamol.

My fever broke on Day 14.

It was at this time I felt hope again. I honestly believed I was done with CoVid and life as I knew it would restart. I was wrong again. After being medicated with antibiotics and paracetamol, my body decided it was not safe.

No Rest for the Weary

I couldn’t go to sleep despite the fever going away.

My cough was worsening, and it was starting to give me some serious muscle pains and body aches.

Only sleep could relax my body, but my body was afraid to sleep!

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel sleepy. In fact, it was hard for me to keep my eyes open. But whenever my body was in that space between awake and asleep, it got jerked awake, gasping for air.

So there I was – post fever – post Day 14, and still feeling broken. I wanted to just give up and just disappear into a cave and just die.

Years of independence, ambitiousness, passion, and my inherent love for what life can offer me, all prevented me from giving up. So I read—and read, and read—about what others had experienced. I consumed countless articles and blogs. I joined FB groups on CoVid patients and survivors.

And what came up after all that reading was this:

On a deep psychological level, my body was avoiding going to sleep out of fear of not having enough oxygen, and not being awake to do anything about it.

I discussed this with my doctor and he told me that my body needed to “relearn” to sleep again, suggesting I let my body take the initiative.

Day 17 I went without sleep for 30 hours.

Then I decided to take 3 melatonin pills and antihistamine, and they were strong—I was dizzy and floating in La-La-Land. But my body was still afraid. In a span of 10 minutes I was jerked awake 5 times gasping for air.

I decided then to change rooms and stay on the couch as it was a more contained area, less spacious than my bedroom/bed. I tried sleeping sitting up, and found that when I did wake up / get up for the loo, it began to feel safe to fall back asleep. I’d change positions, and eventually even moved into the bed.

It took me another few days to regulate my sleep. I started practicing sleep hygiene, only using my bed for sleeping, and staying on the couch when I just needed to rest.

Coming Back to Life

That week I decided to also consistently work at least 1-2 hours a day:

I checked in with clients.
I started responding to calls from other family and close friends.
I started going through some of my emails and messages.

… but everything still took so much effort.

My body was re-learning posture, movement, and activities. I felt like a baby with all of this new all over again.

On Day 21, I decided to hold my weekly team meeting just to check in with everyone. It was the first time in three weeks that I’d sat in front of the computer for a Zoom meeting.

And after only 45 minutes, my body felt like it had climbed a mountain. My limbs were shaking, indicating how my body had been rewired while I was on bed rest. I decided to use my last week of quarantine—Days 22-28—as a sort of re-orientation with two objectives in mind:

1. Build up my basic movements / life skills:

  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Watering my plants
  • Communicating with the Divine
  • Sleeping and general self-care

2. Shine up my professional / business skills:

  • Admin work
  • Content creation
  • Talking and/or texting without feeling agitated

I took detailed records of my days and the activities I was doing. I only allowed myself 2-5 hours each for both my objectives, as my cough was still bad. And for the professional goals (which I thought I would overdo), I kept strictly to my office hours… primarily because the day I started content creation for myself I was having palpitations after only 20 minutes of writing.

I realized even more how our bodies have so many different types of muscles, and that creative “muscles” are a group of their own. They, too, need to warm up just like any other equipment or tool after lying dormant, even if only for a few short weeks.

The Cost of Cleaning

What surprised me was how I thought I would overdo Goal #2… but what I actually overdid was Goal #1. Especially the cleaning part.

On Day 27, a day prior to the end of my quarantine, I had a housekeeper come to help me with general cleaning. I just wanted to have my whole place washed from top to bottom, and all things to be sanitized. I wanted my house to have a fresh start again, and cleaning gives that sense of renewal.

Together we worked about 3-4 hours. And when she left, I continued for another 2.

The next day we cleaned together for another 2-3 hours, and I continued again for another 3.

And then the next day (the last day of general cleaning) and Day 29 of CoVid, I spent another 4 hours cleaning before she came and worked with me for another 2.

I didn’t realize how much a toll it took on my body until the last day. My place was sparkling clean and bright. Disinfected. Homey again. But bruises started appearing, indicating that my body had taken that endeavor harder than I’d expected. And when I ate a very heavy early dinner, I was shaking to my core.

Healing Requires More than Medication

My cough started going on and on, leaving me expectorating light phlegm for about an hour or so. My body was tired and it wanted more than rest and healthy food– it wanted a treat, a celebration!

And despite my mind echoing all the “shoulds”…
… I listened to my body’s message that a treat was necessary.
So I ordered junk food and my friend Eve sent over a bottle of beer.

I indulged for the first time after getting CoVid, savoring food once more. It had been a month of me just eating because I had to, eating in order to take meds, and having this appetite now awakened something in me. I think that “something” was Life.

My body felt relaxed.
My cough stopped (for the time being).
I slept well.
And I felt connected again.

The worst was well and truly over. I was on the up-swing, and nothing was going to hold me back! Not even my own strong (and stubborn) mindset… because it is now more than just “strong.” Through my CoVid experience, my mindset has also incorporated a deep awareness and a habit of daily self-monitoring, and those new traits can channel its strength toward whatever is truly most needed in the moment.

Related: My CoVid Journey Part 2: Fierce and Fortunate Beyond the Virus

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