I want to keep a record of this for the future, so I don't forget and so that perhaps other people can be enlightened about the different ways that COVID can affect the body.
Before I start, let me tell you that all of us have stayed home unless absolutely necessary. We have always worn masks. We missed several holidays and birthdays the first year with family. We took precautions, washed hands, used sanitizers. We did all of the things we were supposed to do. But it still wasn't enough.
EASTER SUNDAY: My two daughters and I went to my dad's house to cook a big Easter dinner. We were probably there a little over an hour when my Dad mentioned that he wasn't feeling great. No cough, no sore throat, nothing visible .... just sort of feeling run down. He's a 77-year-old man, so this didn't really come as a huge surprise.
Several days later my Dad said that he was feeling MUCH IMPROVED! I was so happy because I had planned on going to visit my S.O. Up North for several days. Still no outward signs of illness. Dad was up, eating normally, going to work (yes, he still works at his business at 77!) and playing pool after work! I had absolutely NO SUSPISIONS that there could be COVID involved.
I went Up North as planned and spent time with my sweetheart. We were both completely healthy the entire time. I got a call two days in that my Dad wasn't feeling great again. Also, my youngest sister had a "sinus infection" and "ear infection". Still no problems with upper respiratory/lungs - so no one was worried about COVID!
The day I was leaving Up North I got a call that my sister had lost both her smell and taste! We knew then that this was most likely COVID. She and my Dad tested positive. Driving home I heard that my oldest daughter had a cough and youngest daughter had a slight sore throat.
The next morning we all got tested for COVID. Both of my daughters were positive - thank GOD, I was negative. I hadn't infected an entire family on my short vacation! This brought up the issue that ANY TIME WE TRAVEL, EVEN WITHIN THE SAME STATE, WE SHOULD HAVE A COVID TEST FIRST!
My dad went downhill fast. The following day I went to his house (wearing a mask even though I'd already been exposed to my daughters) and his oxygen level was at an 89%. I knew that meant he needed oxygen supplementation. Our state was overrun with COVID at the moment and every hospital was at capacity. He was so weak he could barely make it up the steps. He fell into the kitchen chair. I was worried he had pneumonia, as he has already had it 3 times in the past. I asked him if he could make it to my car to go to the emergency room and he said he wasn't sure. I asked him if I could call him an ambulance and he said he couldn't make any decisions at the moment. So I called 911.
What still ANGERS ME BEYOND BELIEF is the EMT in his late 20s who went on to tell my dad that it was a waste of time to go to the emergency room. He'd have a long wait and then be sent home with nothing. I swear I wanted to punch that little puke in the mouth. I insisted they take him. Once they assisted him onto a gurney I told that little jerk that my dad had been to an emergency room exactly TWO TIMES in my 51 years. In an ambulance ZERO TIMES. So if he was going that way now. he better believe my dad needed help!
We were right. I waited outside in my car (it was a beautiful day by the way) for six hours while my dad waited in the emergency room. He almost passed out sitting there so they put him in a bed in the hallway. He was admitted after that and was put on oxygen. NOT ONLY did he need oxygen. He was diagnosed with COVID induced atrial fibrillation of the heart. His organs were starting to shut down. He was in the hospital for 3 days. He was started on heart medication, steroids, and a blood thinner as his blood was in a state that was just right for blood clots! (That EMT getting the evil eye from me!)
The day after the ambulance, I was retested and I tested positive for COVID. I knew I had it because I could feel myself out of breath, very weak with body aches. My doctor started me immediately on steroids, a strong antibiotic that had shown some promise with COVID and an experimental drug, a parasitic called Ivermectin that in lab tests had fought off the SARS2 virus.
The steroids helped both my dad and myself feel really good for about 2-3 days lol. It was just a fleeing moment though. Here is the course of COVID through my family:
DAD - 77 year old male in relatively good health - hypertension
*Felt run down
*Started feeling weak after a couple of days
*Needed extra sleep
*Lost taste and smell
*Quickly the shortness of breath started
*After hospital felt better for a few days
*Started feeling weak again
*Needing to sleep after exertion (even eating) during the day
*Trouble falling asleep even though exhausted
*Had second round of steroids with doctor
*Felt a little better, but still weak and tired
****NEARLY 2 MONTHS AFTER ONSET OF COVID: Still weak and tired nearly every day. Needing naps. Cannot get out of the house some days because feeling too weak. Still having heart tests to find out how much damage was done during COVID. Even on medication he is still haven't an irregular heartbeat. Feeling discouraged. Loss of taste and smell not completely back. Loss a lot of muscle and remains physically weak.
SISTER 1 - 38 years old
*Had sinus and ear issues
*Had about 10 days of being very run down
*Lower than normal oxygen levels
*Extra shortness of breath
*Fevers that kept her in bed for nearly a week
*Bad stomach issues
*Loss of taste and smell
TWO MONTHS AFTER COVID: She is back to normal. She was off work for 3 weeks and really sick for about 2. The third week was mostly exhaustion and weakness. She still cannot taste coffee and some other things.
SISTER 2 - 43 years old - weakened immune system from Cirrhosis
*Lost taste and smell
*Very mild cold-line symptoms for less than a week
She recovered quickly and barely noticed she was sick.
DAUGHTER 1 - 24-years old with PCOS
*Upper respiratory infection similar to bronchitis
*Mildly more tired than usual
She was mostly back to normal after 2 weeks. Completely after 3.
DAUGHTER 2 - 21 YEARS OLD AND HEALTHY
*Loss of taste and smell for about 10 days
*Full body itchy rash
Mostly back to normal after 2 weeks. Completely after 3.
ME - 50/51 during COVID (yes, my bday I spent sick)
*First symptoms were shortness of breath, weakness, body aches, exhaustion
*Many low grade fevers - mostly in the evening
*Couldn't fall asleep even though exhausted
*Extreme exhaustion - napping at least once per day - sleeping 14-16 hours some days
* Brain fog
*One very high fever for 16 hours (almost went to ER)
*Loss of taste and smell for 3 days (although still can't smell/taste a few things!)
*Low oxygen levels
*Heart pounding, beating fast, irregular beats
***ALMOST TWO MONTHS OUT: I missed an entire month of work. I was very sick three of those weeks. The last week I was still exhausted and was acclimating to the heart medication that they gave me to help with my irregular heart beat. (Just a Band-Aid) I still have evenings where my oxygen levels fall. Still have some heart pounding and irregular beats. Still have days (just yesterday) where I am done from work and go straight to my bed and can't do anything else. I was lying in bed for nearly 3 weeks and lost a lot of muscle mass. My body looks and feels different. My legs are weak. My knees are a MESS. Still get some brain fog. But it's the weakness and exhaustion lingering that is the most disturbing. I wonder if I will EVER feel like I did prior. I keep telling myself no one really knows about the long-term effects because it hasn't been around long enough.
WE WERE LUCKY. We had mild-medium cases of COVID! My Dad's age complicated his. But there were NO ventilators. No hospitalizations other than my Dad. We are all *mostly* recovered. And I am sure that I am forgetting some of the symptoms too - and that is why I wanted to get this all down because as time goes on I know I will forget even more. When I had my last tests at the hospital I had to use a walker to get through. My legs were so weak. Actually I had to use a walker even around the house. I"m just now getting strong enough where I don't have to use it.
I thank God it wasn't worse than it was. And even more thankful that it didn't take my Dad with pneumonia. Very grateful!