Patricia, Age 64, Michigan
I got COVID on March 13, 2020 when nothing was shut down and most were not taking it seriously yet. At first I wasn’t that worried until two weeks of symptoms came and went and I was still sick. I can still remember calling the CDC’s COVID-19 hotline and hearing the fear of the outbreak on the other end of the line. It was so early in the pandemic that no one knew what to do with me. Over the past year and a half, I've had probably about 80% of the commonly reported COVID symptoms. The worst ones for me have been post-exertional symptom exacerbation, brain fog, memory challenges, word finding issues, temperature dysregulation, insomnia, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Finding a neurologist who specializes in autonomic diseases has been the key to getting to a better place with my health. Dr. Stino verified what I was doing that I had found helpful and then recommended increasing salt intake, dramatically increasing fluid intake and electrolytes, compression garments, and continuing with my neuro rehab program. These helped dramatically. Utilizing medications typically used to treat mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) has also really helped with improving my ability to sleep at night, which has in turn helped with other aspects of recovery.
I'm a single mom of a special needs young adult with no car. Before I got sick I walked a LOT. At work, as the emerging technologies informationist for the health sciences at the University of Michigan, I was just about to finish up the data generation part of one research project, working on articles, and reporting out on two other research projects. A month before I caught COVID I was in a martial arts seminar. Two weeks before, I went to my first in-person hockey game in Detroit with my choir friends. Two days before my step count was 11,409. Two hours before the first cough, I was having dinner with friends from church.
From what I have personally experienced and witnessed of COVID-19, it finds all the cracks in your body's systems, the Achilles' heels, sticks a wedge in the weak points, and starts hammering. The damage shows up sooner or later, and just because you don't see it right away doesn't mean there isn't hidden damage that could show up later.