Week 1 – December 3 – Surviving the Pandemic
Reflector: Bob Carr
I had COVID-19 over a 15-day period in March of 2020. The middle 5 days of my illness were the worst. I was coughing a lot, my fever spiked to a high of 103 every day, and I started having headaches. I was switching between acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 4-5 hours, but it didn’t help much. I had chills and sweats much of the time, couldn’t stay focused on anything, and I hallucinated occasionally. One night, as I was trying to go to sleep, I had trouble breathing and I thought, “This is it – this is the COVID symptom I’ve been most worried about.” And almost immediately after that thought, I realized I was just having a panic attack. I started taking slower, longer, and deeper breaths, and my breathing returned to normal.
I knew that my “job” during this illness was just to rest and try to let the virus run its course. Lisa did quite a bit at home during this period so I could focus on that job. I had no real control over what the virus was going to do to me, and amping up the worrisome thoughts was not going to help. So little was known about COVID-19 when I had it, and I was always wondering what I could do differently or what I could do better. A huge worry at the time was not knowing for sure what I was sick with. I was tested on day 2, but I didn’t get a confirmed positive COVID-19 lab result until day 14, when my symptoms were mostly over. Until I had that diagnosis in hand, I didn’t know if I just had a cold or flu or actually had the coronavirus. I contacted many groups, but formal, detailed contact tracing never happened for the activities I was involved in prior to showing symptoms as organizations couldn’t start contacting people until there was a positive diagnosis. And I had been involved in many activities.
Staying calm, though difficult at times, was what helped get me through my moderate case of COVID-19. I have long appreciated the good things in my life, so it’s not like I had a new lease on life after the experience. Many people don’t realize the good things they have going for them, and often it’s the simplest of things that make life good. Since the pandemic is far from over, I try to help others cope with the realities of its impact on them, and how to live their lives better during the pandemic. Social distancing makes this difficult, but I’ve actually enjoyed coming up with creative solutions to do many of the things we used to do before the pandemic.
Prayer: I pray that people can look at coronavirus for the public health crisis it really is, and help diminish its spread until work on vaccines is complete and vaccines are available to everyone who wants them. I also pray that effective treatments for coronavirus are developed and are made available to everyone who needs them.