Before I share our experiences, I would like to preface everything by saying this was not an easy thing to do. Talking about having Coronavirus still feels taboo. But I knew it would be cathartic for me. I spoke with my hubby Paul about my desire. He would be included in my writings: he had Coronavirus too. Our experiences were both separate and shared. Without hesitation, he replied. “Kei, go ahead and share our experiences. I know you will do it with class. There is no shame in being sick.” So, with that being said, my intent is to share a series of blog posts sharing our biopsychosocial/spiritual experiences with Coronavirus. Our hope is by sharing our story we can help remove the stigma attached to a virus we have no control over.
I woke up about a month ago on a Tuesday and the area behind my left eye was throbbing. I didn’t think too much of it. Paul came home from work with a cough. We didn’t think too much of it.
On Wednesday, my nose was congested and I wasn’t feeling too good. Paul’s cough was getting worse. We got tested on Thursday. By the time we received our results on Saturday, we figured out what the nurse told us: we had contracted COVID-19. We were very concerned because we both have diabetes and hypertension, underlying conditions that have been known to increase mortality for those that contract Coronavirus, especially in the Black community. And taking out meds was now risky because we didn’t have appetites. We couldn’t risk being sick and having hypoglycemia as well.
By that time, while Paul was still able to get up out of bed and walk around, I wasn’t. To quote a friend of mine who has also experienced Coronavirus, “I died for 3 days straight.” That is what having Coronavirus will have you feeling like. I literally couldn’t get out of bed, except to go to the bathroom. And there wasn’t much activity on that end because I wasn’t eating or drinking anything…..for days.
My COVID-19 symptoms were a purgatory of pain: fever, chills, body aches, loss of taste and smell, headaches, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath was perhaps the scariest symptom. Every intake of breath was loud and felt like I was being stabbed in the throat. I prayed every night, “Lord, please let me wake up in the morning.” No matter how I lie in bed, I couldn’t get comfortable. My body ached as if I had been constantly fighting… and losing. I would sweat profusely, throw my comforter off my body, then become so chilled I would grab for it and wrap my body up….. for days.
Paul and I at our high school senior prom in 1990. Imagine being sick with your life long partner at the same time and you’re helpless to intervene?
Paul’s symptoms were similar but there were some differences. For example, I had a mild cough for a day or two. Paul had a bad cough for at least 2 weeks. He ended up with fluid in his lungs that was discovered during an ER visit. He also suffered from abdominal pain and chest pain.
He, too, could not find comfort. He would walk from our bedroom to the den, sitting in different chairs, sometimes reclining. He rarely slept through the night…..for days. I would take NyQuil so I could sleep at night and it helped a lot. But the medicine didn’t seem to work during the day. So we just existed in suffering, wondering when it would all end.
Then, slowly, after about 12-14 days, the symptoms began to abate. We finally started feeling better, slowly, day by day. While we feel so much better now, we’re still experiencing residual issues. We both cannot do a lot physically like grocery shop without getting winded. I have returned to walking but I’m moving slow and I’m still winded when I finish. Also, my sense of taste and smell comes and goes. It’s really frustrating. But I’ll take having that problem over passing away from Coronavirus.
God spared our lives. That means our purpose here on Earth has not been fulfilled. We are thankful for his goodness and are determined to live His will for our lives.