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Deliverance

I could bore you with every wretched detail of the sickness, but it's too difficult. I'm so exhausted. Every word is a battle against not wanting to type it. Been staring down this paragraph for an hour.

It was bad, though, and I was there, so it merits at least a rushed recap. How's this:

Every drip of joy in life was squeezed out of me, and most of the functionalities of my body malfunctioned, or simply stopped. 

Feeling sweaty, sticky, I'd get up and stumble to the shower, but I felt sweaty and sticky even lathering with soap under hot water, and as gross when I got back from the shower as before. 

For a week I had no appetite, eating only when I remembered I hadn't eaten. Since breakfast with the family last weekend, I've had two fish sandwiches, several days apart. Nothing else, and only ate the sandwiches because fueling myself seemed like a good idea.

Other than the afternoon of shit explosions, my digestive system sputtered and ceased. There were no poops, not even any farts. All the machinery that turns food into waste has been powered down, abandoned. Those two sandwiches are still inside me, waiting for the works to come back online.

The concept of masturbation made me want to vomit. Still does.

Everything has been difficult, and continues to be difficult. The tiniest things, like sneezing or scratching an itch, require extraordinary concentration, will power, great effort, and I'm exhausted afterwards. A second sneeze? No, can't do it.

My sense of balance was and remains all wrong, with always the threat of toppling as I walk to the john, stand in the kitchen, or any moment I'm not in the recliner.

My delirium lasted only two days, but felt (and still feels) like a week and a half. Time was lost to me. 

Breathing remains difficult. Takes a lot of work to get the ordinary depth of inhalation, and often the tickle and cough get in the way.

My hair feels wrong. It's thick and smelly, and I'm convinced the virus is still hiding in the forests there. When there's energy again, I'll shave my head bald to finally be rid of the COVID.

Vision seemed ordinary, unless I look closely at something, anything, in which case it pulses along with my heartbeat, rumbling me all through this. Right now I look out the window at a big dumb tree that blocks the view, and it pulses.

There's heavy, near-industrial gurgling from my lungs with every breath, but no amount of bone-aching coughs could loosen even a drop of my cemented phlegm.

Sleep stopped, and so did awake. For a week I was neither, and hovered in purgatory between, eyes open but unmoving for hours at a time, before gently resetting and hovering again for hours. Same as eating, I'd think about sleeping, but the only way to it was taking a prescription sleeping pill. My supply is almost depleted. How will I sleep tomorrow?

There was no reading. My brain wasn't big enough for it. And no writing, beyond one lousy entry somehow written and published in a short window of cognizance on Tuesday. Mostly, making letters into words and sentences requires access to the civilized, educated parts of me, access I didn't have.

Oh, I've missed my brain. It's a small sliver of my personality, but it's everything that makes me feel sometimes, somewhat human.

What I remember clearest from the sickness is wondering whether I'd lost that humanness, forever.

I could not write, could not even think of anything to be written. It felt like 20% of me had been excised in a very minor surgery, leaving behind barely a Stepford Me.

There were no plans, no memories, no smiles.

I tried watching movies, but couldn't follow the plot.

Tried watching Doctor Who. Having seen them all before, it would be soothing, right? Yes, but only faintly, like a babysitter singing lullabies.

I'm coherent at the moment, which is marvelous. In most ways, my body and mind are building their way back to normal now, and one thought recurs to me with complete certainty: 

If not for the vaccine and several years of booster shots, I would not have survived the last week. Thank you, science, for that.

2/8/2024   

8 comments:

  1. I'm just over two weeks testing negative for Covid, and I'm still having brain lapses but, sadly, no lapses dances. I'm a cardio patient, and I take a diuretic every day to make me piss if I even think about drinking a glass of water. On the days I visit my sis, I take seven cardio meds down the hatch, and put two pills in my shirt pocket to take when I get to my sister's house, since the diuretic causes me to piss with stunning frequency. Today I chugged all nine pills, and said "oh shit", but it while it wasn't shit, it was many, many pisses. I pissed at the gas station, the pharmacy, the grocery, once by the side of the road, and one more time I don't remember. My sis says this is a cognitive hangover from the Covid and that it will go away eventually. I hope it goes away before I rake in a police ticket for pissing under the influence. Hope your side effects are less dramatic, although it sounds a little like a tie.

    You will survive this and you will get better.

    John

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    Replies
    1. Jeez, I hope you suffer no side effect from a nine-pill overdose except nine times the pee. Which does not sound like fun.

      Surviving and getting better is my plan, but it's long-term, not this afternoon.

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    2. Damn, sorry to hear you had a bad case, take care--Eel

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  2. I'd like to make it clear that all nine of my cardio pills don't make me piss. Only one of them does. The others have equally esoteric side effects. One makes me speak with a Mexican accent. One makes me limp like Chester. One makes me run like a girl, although I don't actually have the ability to run at all. I'd rather not talk about the other side effects. Taken throughout the day, the idea is that they will cumulatively keep my heart beating for a while longer. The amount of time varies from Doc to Doc. If they don't figure out how to insert the mechanical valve, the amount of time is a year or so. If they can figure out how to get my heart up on the hoist so they can change the valve, then it should be longer. My mileage may vary depending on how I spin my tires on slick surfaces.

    jtb

    John

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    Replies
    1. I've been relistening to old Gunsmoke radio shows over the past week, so Chester resonates. I'd forgotten that he limps, though.

      Here's hoping they can get you up on the rack, do all the necessary work under the hood, maybe apply a coat of rust-proofing, and keep you going for another 100,000 kilometers.

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    2. Mom made it to 77 and Dad made it to 92, but neither smoked and neither drank to excess and I did both. I also ingested many unknown chemicals. Oddly enough, I don't even use edible weed now that it's legal. I get no kick from champagne and celebrate every flight of stairs I climb successfully.

      John

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    3. I only have three daily prescriptions, one of which I've accidentally let lapse. Plus, of course, the laxatives and vitamins. One big handful of pills every evening, and an automated email to remind me...

      Stairs are difficult, especially without rails, but usually I only curse instead of celebrating.

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    4. No harm in doing both.

      jtb

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