Illness During a Pandemic – Part One

It has been an interesting few days. I totally didn’t see illness in my future as I wrote my last post on Tuesday evening, but here it is Friday evening and I’m just now starting to feel halfway normal.

The thing of it is, I felt what I assumed was a head cold coming on Tuesday during the day, but it was just a little tickle of something. You know that feeling of illness that you get that sometimes turns into something and sometimes you’re able to sleep off? It was a fleeting glimpse of a cold that was there Tuesday afternoon, and then it was gone. I worked, I went home and cooked dinner for the boys, I talked to Sophia, I wrote, and I went to bed. I was no more tired or less tired than I am on any other given day.

My alarm went off at five-thirty on Wednesday morning, and I reached over and turned it off and flipped on my bedside lamp. Something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t put my finger on just what it was. I laid there a while, trying to figure it out. I felt more tired than I should, but also wide awake. Were there aches where there shouldn’t be aches? Or was that just old age creeping in? I did a quick mental scan of my body and determined that I was indeed achy, and my head just felt off. I decided to get my morning routine under way, wondering if I had just slept fitfully, thus making myself sore.

Water, vitamins, a pop tart to keep the nausea from hitting from the Chantix. Coffee, shower. Through it all I kept evaluating and re-evaluating how I felt. Something just wasn’t right. “I should stay home,” I thought as I attempted to make my bed and began to cough. I’ve cut back considerably on how much I’m smoking. No way that making my bed should make me cough, especially when exertion never made me cough even when I was smoking a lot. I sat down on my bed and text Sophia. Told her my inner debate – Stay home, or go to work? I felt off, but not horrible. No fever. No other symptoms other than just not feeling right, and that little bit of a cough. She told me I should err on the side of caution. So, I text my boss and called off, hating myself as I did it. I remember the days when it would take me being physically unable to move to get me to call off work. I remember working under the power of energy drinks and cold meds and sheer stubbornness. And now . . . oh, I just don’t feel right. I have a little cough. Let me call off. Insert eye roll here.

I then called Sophia to talk with her about my decision, and as we talked, I began to cough again. Nausea slammed me out of the blue, and I cautiously told Sophia I would have to call her back.

And ran to the bathroom to expel every vitamin and bit of coffee I had drank thus far that morning. “There goes my Chantix,” I thought with annoyance.

I rinsed my mouth and walked outside to smoke, calling Sophia back as I did. I told her that I had just been sick, and that it was a good thing I had called off. As we sat talking, I felt worse and worse, and she told me to go get some rest.

I am going to be completely honest here, I don’t remember much else from Wednesday. I remember realizing I had a horrific headache. I slept. I know I attended to some work things despite having called off.  I have a hard time not working when I’m off work.  I take my job seriously.  So even though I can’t tell you now what I took care of from my bed, I do know that I took care of a couple of items.  I vaguely remember ordering dinner for Matthew and me. I remember talking to Sophia in the evening and her urging me to go to the store for NyQuil. I did as she instructed, taking Matthew with me because I felt so out of it. He asked if he could get candy, and I told him he could. I looked for something to drink, and finding some body armor juices, I bought several. I also bought a few cokes for the nausea. I hadn’t experienced it since the morning, but just in case. I felt just this side of death, and I couldn’t foresee getting better overnight. I believe in miracles, but something was more than not right. I was pretty god awful sick, and I knew it.

Matthew and I took our items to check out, and the lady behind the register rang them up and bagged them as she stood behind the Plexiglas shield. Matt immediately grabbed two of the three bags, and as I reached for the third, he gave me a look that said, “Don’t even think about it,” and grabbed it before I could. I can’t tell you how proud of him I was in that moment. Somehow, I’ve taught him how to be a decent human being. One that cares about other people and making their lives easier. Even if he is your typical lazy teen, he showed me right there that he really isn’t.

And so, I double dosed NyQuil, took the hottest shower in the world and went to bed at nine o’clock in the evening, hoping against hope that I would be better when my alarm went off at 7am.

That was a negative. I didn’t feel worse, but I definitely didn’t feel better. There was no hesitation in me calling off this time – I did it before I even got out of bed. I laid there, worried. Trying to remember all the COVID symptoms. I didn’t have a fever – I’d been checking religiously.  No shortness of breath, either. Despite the double dose of NyQuil I had been up and down all night though, and the headache was still there. I never take NyQuil, so the double dose should have knocked me on my ass. I had slept in sweatpants and a sweatshirt over a t-shirt. I definitely don’t sleep in layers like that. Not to mention the extremely thick blanket I have on my bed that I normally kick off during the night. Nope. This was not good, and this definitely wasn’t gonna go away on its own, and during a pandemic to be this kind of sick? I waited until eight when I knew the office opened and then called my doctor for an appointment.

I realized that this is becoming quite lengthy – it was clocking in at almost 2,000 words before I cut it down some.  I’m going to have one or two more posts to conclude this piece.  This was a scary few days for me, and I want to document it as best I can and give my perspective of being ill during a pandemic and not actually being ill with the pandemic virus. I debated leaving the COVID determination as a suspense tactic, but right now that’s not a very nice thing to do. I obviously would not be writing this if I were still feeling as sick as I was, and if it didn’t have a positive outcome, right? I’m fine, and I’m safe. This was just an ‘adventure’ I couldn’t not share. I have a good chunk of part two written, but I do need to take time to relax and recover.

Happy Friday. Be thankful for your health.

3 thoughts on “Illness During a Pandemic – Part One”

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