Adventures have a beginning and mine began with a request for a day off from work to attend a 9:00am New Member Artist Group Meeting on a Friday morning.
Any request for time off at my job is usually met with some kind of crushing reprisal. On this occasion I was scheduled to work from 1:00 to 10:00 pm for the three days prior to my day off, which meant getting home at 11:00 o’clock every night and going to bed close to 1:00am.
I arrived at my 9:00 o’clock meeting half asleep. The meeting was a blur, but more importantly I felt I was about to have a major breakdown, a significant crash. It came two days later when I couldn’t get out of bed and called in sick for work. A couple of days later I began having a persistent cough. I called in sick again in order to give myself a week to rest. In the year I had worked at my new job I had taken only one sick day off, so this was new territory.
A few of days into my week of rest I began having chills. The first bout started one evening around 6:30pm. I shivered so much that I had all I could do to pile on a sweat suit, a hooded sweatshirt, slippers, a fleece hat and a down jacket. I sat in my reading chair until the shaking stopped.
Tylenol helped mitigate the chills, but ultimately resulted in uncontrollable sweating. This was the pattern for several days. Sometimes my shivering began in the morning and repeated later in the evening. Shivering and sweating, shivering and sweating. That was the routine and it was exhausting. What made it worse was that I was getting weaker. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I had become. It got to the point where I felt I wouldn’t survive if this continued.
Finally my sister intervened and insisted I visit a doctor at City MD in Manhattan.
When you call the office they tell you that you can get a Covid test after having an “interview” with a doctor.
It was a Tuesday morning when I decided to pick myself up and walk the 10 blocks from my home to the City MD office.
The only problem was that picking myself up wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I was far weaker than I realized.
I used to run and cycle long distance. When you train for events like that you engage your brain in ways not always apparent to you at the time. I drew on that mental discipline Tuesday morning as I tried to get dressed.
“You will get up now, find your socks and put them on,” I told myself. Sounds simple.
Ten minutes passed and I told myself the same thing. Finally, I got my socks on. Then it was on to pants and a shirt and shoes. All of it took a very long time.
Now I was ready to walk the ten blocks to City MD, twice almost falling down my lobby stairs.
It took me a total of five hours to get to City MD, where I got to see a doctor. I told him what I had been experiencing and that I came to get a Covid test.
“We don’t have any Covid tests,” the doctor told me.
I feel certain that if I had been a little closer to the doctor and a lot stronger I would have attacked him. I was beside myself with anger.
“Do you mean to tell me that I spent 5 hours getting here and you have no Covid tests? That is not what your receptionist said.”
They rebuffed me and there was nothing I could do. If they didn’t have the test my anger wouldn’t change anything.
They began taking measurements: my temperature, my blood pressure and my blood oxygen levels. They told me they wanted to take X-rays of my chest. I acquiesced. I didn’t care. I felt half dead.
20 minutes later they told me I had pneumonia and called my pharmacy with two prescriptions.
As I slowly began putting my clothes back on I addressed the doctor once again.
“I have to say how disappointed I am that you have no Covid tests.” I said.
The doctor looked at me and said, “What do you think this is?”
“What do you mean?” I responded.
“This is Covid,” the doctor said. “that’s what this is.”
In the week that passed the medicine I took for my pneumonia helped a great deal. The chills stopped and so did the bouts of sweating. I napped a lot and spent most of my time in bed. I have no idea when I will have the energy to return to work. I take one day at a time.
Conclusion: It took six weeks for me to get better and I now have antibodies. Donating plasma may come next.