My COVID19 diary

I’ve heard people say that COVID19 is a bit like flu, but I don’t ever remember flu hurting this much.

More than 2.5 years into the pandemic, and despite being jabbed three times, it finally got me. Here’s what’s happened so far….

Tuesday 5th July:
I test negative prior to my last day of semester teaching. 

Wednesday 6th July:
I start getting a slight sore throat and a mild headache in the evening. From the afternoon onwards I feel a bit gassy and constipated, but I’m not sure if these are related. I take painkillers and everything seems under control. It might be another cold.

Thursday 7th July:
No significant change in symptoms during the day; the sore throat is maybe slightly worse, and I am still feeling gassy and constipated. My head is clear and the day (home office) goes fine. I stay up fairly late writing, taking more painkillers to deal with the symptoms.

It begins during the night. I wake up running with sweat, feeling chills, and also aching all over. My pyjamas are soaked. My head stays fairly clear, although I’m in a strange half-waking state and I’m not sure how much I sleep overall. I’m slowly aware that my heart is beating faster and faster and I realise that my breathing has gotten fairly shallow. I think of people climbing Everest and at some point I start to worry about how much work my heart seems to be doing to make sure I’m getting enough air. Towards the morning I begin to develop a headache.

Friday 8th July:
An awful, awful day. I’ve heard people say that COVID19 is a bit like flu, but I don’t ever remember flu hurting this much. It is agony, and it goes on and on. My temperature is nearly 40 ºC and I spend the whole day in bed running with sweat, aching all over, with chills coming in waves. The aches hurt a lot. There’s nothing to do except roll over and over in bed but it doesn’t help. I have a dull, painful ache at the base of my spine, as if I’ve been sleeping really uncomfortably. Time passes extremely slowly but somehow I don’t care, and although my body is almost inert I feel hyper-alert, continually amazed at how little time has passed each time I check the clock…what feels like 2-3 hours turns out to be just 30 minutes or so. My mind is completely passive. The headache continues to pulverise me. Appetite is gone and I’m on fluids the whole day, only having some solids in the late evening. 

Saturday 9th July:
My temperature is down a bit and my head is clearer than yesterday. Much of the pain has gone, and the aches and chills are not as painful as yesterday. I’m still sweating a lot, and it comes in waves. My lower back is still hurting, and I’m pretty sure now that this has nothing to do with sleeping position. My appetite is beginning to come back. I take a lateral flow test, which unsurprisingly comes up very positive. Later that morning we all pile in the car and get a PCR test. I feel like a zombie. I’m moving like a zombie. It’s weird riding in the car and feeling contagious and looking at healthy people outside through the window. I go to bed very early again that evening.

Sunday 10th July:
My temperature is back to normal. The sore throat has gotten worse, and I’m now coughing a lot. My head is clear but my energy levels are really low. I’m still sweating a lot, but the backache seems better. My guts have started feeling strange, and I have diarrhoea in the evening. I manage to get through the day without taking any painkillers.

Monday 11th July:
My throat is still bad, I’m still coughing, I’m still having sweating bouts, and my chest still feels a bit compressed. Mild tummy pain all day. I’ve got low energy, but again manage the day without any painkillers. For the first time, I start to worry about work – surely a good sign. Up to this point I’ve been indifferent. 

Tuesday 12th July:
A bit improvement. I’m feeling alert and for the first time since Wednesday, I’m able to breathe to the full depth of my lungs without any feeling of cramping or discomfort. The sore throat is still there, but the backache has gone, the headache has gone, and the tummy ache has gone. My energy levels are better but I’m still tiring quickly.

Wednesday 13th July:
No change for the better, and maybe even a step backwards. I’m feeling tired a little bit dizzy. My head doesn’t feel as clear as yesterday. My energy levels are still low, and my stomach has started to feel a bit weird. 

Thursday 14th July:
Better. I’m still coughing a lot and bringing up quite a bit of phlegm, but the sore throat has gone. I’m still feeling weak, and worrying now about how long this will last. In the evening I drink a beer – my first in over a week – and it tastes a bit strange and metallic and I worry that it might always taste this way from now on. 

Friday 15th July:
I attempt a home office day for the first time since falling ill. I manage to get up at 06:00, but am feeling very tired and almost doze off on the sofa while doing a German lesson on my phone at 07:30. I manage to work through the morning but am feeling exhausted after that, and have to take a nap in the early afternoon. My stomach is still not feeling right…there’s a strange hollowness and weakness to it, almost as if I’ve been taking antibiotics. Otherwise I’m ok though.

Saturday 16th July:
My first day symptom-free. Energy levels are ok, and I manage to clean the flat without feeling exhausted. Tomorrow I’ll take a test and see whether I’m negative.

Sunday 17th July:
Oh well, NEARLY there…

Tuesday 19th July:
I test negative. 14 days since my last negative test, 13 days since the first symptoms, and 12 days since I got really ill. Back to work tomorrow!

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