After avoiding the disease for three years, I was unfortunate to become infected with COVID-19 last week. It’s been pretty awful.
I always knew that a COVID-19 diagnosis would not be good. I am immunosuppressed, so even ‘common colds’ take a long time to recover from. Despite my best efforts to continue to wear masks in shops and other busy locations and take other precautions, I was undone by a member of the extended family who ignored obvious signs of illness and mingled with others without performing a rapid-antigen test first.
The onset was fast. It happened on the last day of a short holiday in the countryside. I woke up with an uncomfortable throat, mild headache but horrendous fatigue. Moving towards breakfast was hard work. The headache-fatigue combination brought me to tears once the nasty coughing commenced. It was all downhill from there and I cannot tell you how terrible the drive home in the car was.
I was then bedridden for three days. The burden of coughing hard every 30-60 seconds all day long, combined with severe “brain fog”, considerable aches and pains as well as fatigue meant that even getting out of my bed to go to the toilet was a major operation. Meals were brought to my door in a last-ditch effort to quarantine within our household but even retrieving those was often too taxing.
On Day 3, I awoke with a strange feeling on my tongue which turned out to be numbness and a significant lost of taste. Some sweet foods were okay to eat (strawberries, ice-cream) but others had become utterly unpalatable (especially breads, rice and meat). The numbness at the end of my tongue was not so severe as to prevent me eating properly, but it certainly did make the process unpleasant. At one point, the numbness also extended into my lower gums. All I wanted to eat was sweet foods such as fruit and orange juice.
It was at this point that I was prescribed some antiviral tablets (Paxlovid) by my GP. The most common side-effect of these tablets is a metallic taste in the mouth, which I experienced within 45-minutes of swallowing the tablets. Nevertheless, the tablets did start to work and by the end of Day 4, I could muster the strength to get out of bed and have a shower without feeling like I’d topple over too easily. Slowly but surely, I started to recover.
Unfortunately the domestic quarantine arrangements were not successful and COVID-19 spread to the rest of the household. Whilst unfortunate, it did mean that I could escape my confinement.
Slowly the numb tongue disappeared and my strength started to return. On Day 5, the “fog” lifted from my brain and I was able to properly concentrate on tasks again. The coughing persisted, but become less frequent.
Finally at Day 8, a rapid antigen test showed that I was negative. Yet still, I was burdened with mild fatigue. I could certainly perform tasks around the house but I required two naps during the day to get through. My sense of taste returned to normal and aside from some occasional coughing, my other symptoms disappeared.
Now I need to wait for the last of the symptoms to disappear.
I was quadruple-vaccinated before contracting COVID-19 and still required antiviral medication to get through it. I shudder to think how I would have fared if I’d contracted the disease in the early stages of the pandemic. We are lucky to have the benefit of modern medicine.