As nearly as I can tell, I contracted Covid on a flight back from The Pas at the end of April. I’d spent a week up in The Pas, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t infected or infectious there, as I phoned around and checked with contacts.
Symptoms started in heavy on April 29. I won’t bore you with them. They were the usual. I went downhill fast. I was exhausted, but I could only sleep for short spells and only sitting up. If I laid down, I could feel my lungs filling with fluid. When I went to sleep, I’d startle awake within an hour, with the sensation I was drowning inside my own lungs. That lasted a miserable week.
After that, symptoms abated rapidly, with a minor relapse. But at the end of two weeks, the home Covid test was clear.
It was over and done. Except it wasn’t. For the next two weeks, I struggled with the after effects – exhaustion and fatigue, even minor exertions left me worn out. I had trouble remembering, trouble focusing. I would watch a sitcom and be unable to follow the plot. At one point, I almost set fire to my kitchen making dinner. Underneath the feeling of normality, I could tell I was off, I wasn’t safe to drive a car on the road.
It was odd, I felt normal, and with effort could even function or act relatively competently for a brief spell. I was certainly free of the nightmare of the first two weeks. But this normality was deceptive. I think it’s called brain fog, but the truth was that I wasn’t functioning, or couldn’t function effectively. The simplest things, everything took so much longer, felt so much more difficult. It’s insidious, it’s almost impossible to describe how disabling it was, particularly when I could force moments of clarity, and yet it was disabling. Brain fog.
Instead, I drifted through the next two weeks like a ghost, trying to do the absolute minimum, trying for recovery.
So here I am, June 1. I’ve lost the entire month of May. It feels like a hazy blur. I did some work for clients, did some panels at Keycon, I had contact with friends, did basic maintenance. But it all feels so remote, barely remembered, half forgotten. Mostly, it’s exhaustion and incomprehension, waiting in a kind of limbo to swim slowly back to myself. I lost a month from my life, and I have this desperate sense of everything slipping through my fingers, I need to do things, I need to do so much, I need to live while I can… and instead, I just existed.
Hoping to get back to myself. I think I’m getting better, clearer, more lucid. I think I’m getting clear of it. But this is deceptive. Sitting here, you can feel fine, it’s only when you try something you discover you’re still dragged down. What I’m most worried about is Long Covid, that this haze I struggle with will last and last and be my new reality.
But here we are in June, a new month, a new chance. I want to live, not just exist.