Updated: Dec 24, 2021
It felt like it was a just a matter of time.
How long could I run the Covid gauntlet before I got hammered?
Answer is… 20 months.
So many calculated choices, so many concerns, so many canceled events, so much prevention and sanitizing, and so many tough decisions in order to dodge it.
Then there was this gradual ease up.
The Covid fatigue.
The downshift into a more relaxed attitude because the fear/worry state of mind was not sustainable.
Both Moderna vaccines had been injected in my body, yet I had failed to realize that it was one month past my booster. My progressively lax attitude contributed to thinking it wasn't that big of deal to get it immediately.
So, I let down my guard because after 20 months– I had to give at some point.
The reality of what the Covid sickness would actually be like had not really entered my reality. Partly due to coaching myself with positive visualizations and a fiercely optimistic mindset, but another part was– denial. A close friend got it early on and her journey was eye-opening and terrifying, but then I had other friends who described it as just a bad cold. It seemed like a roll of the dice of what my experience might be like.
So I put on my emotional (and literal) mask and took the best precautions I could and figured that if my time might came– I’d deal with it then.
Well, it came.
I am currently 5 days post negative test after my 10-day isolation. I am finally able to look at a computer screen but only in spurts and I can finally form a thought deeper than, “should I watch Survivor or Schitt's Creek?”
I thought it might be helpful to share the specifics of my experience. As we know each and every Covid illness can be vastly different. I felt a bit in the dark to a lot of the details, rules and expectations so my Covid isolation became a motive to share what I felt and what I learned. Perhaps you can save this blog for when you might need or perhaps it’s an interesting reflection on your own experience and whether you can relate to mine or not. As the months go on I would imagine rules and experiences will evolve.
So this is how it started…
I had agreed to go to my first unmasked group event– a women’s yoga retreat in the
woods. Everyone had agreed to be tested prior to the weekend and although feeling a little nervous being with a dozen or so people for a weekend I finally eased up and dropped into the flow of the powerfully divine event. There was a deep longing within me for connection with other women and I got it in spades. It was truly a transformational weekend for me– in more ways than one.
I got home from the retreat Monday afternoon and by Tuesday I had a headache immediately upon awakening. My nose dripped a few times and my stomach was upset.
By Wednesday those same symptoms were worse and my body waved the red alert flag. I canceled my clients for the day and took a home test.
It was positive.
St. Charles hospital drive through administered an official PCR test which can take 24-48 hrs for lab results and follows official tracing and reporting (where as the antigen test takes 15 minutes). By this point I was nearly positive I had it but was still crossing my fingers that my home test was a false positive and it was just a cold. Nope.
This was when I started isolation in our master bedroom with a fever of 100. Then commenced the massive headache/congestion stage. I call it the Jurassic Cold. Yes, it was like a cold but I was experiencing an all-encompassing headache pressuring every cell in my head along with massive sinus pressure.
The St. Charles follow up nurse informed me of my options one being a 10-day isolation, which seemed entirely out of the question. I was still in denial on days 4, 5, and 6 as I kept taking a home antibody test each morning figuring it would be negative and I could come out of the room. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that many days in my bedroom. Maybe just the first few days was understandable. But 10? That was incomprehensible. What am I supposed to do in there? What about the kids? I am the heartbeat of this family and they will need me!
If I was in isolation, it would really help our chances of the rest of the family not getting it and prevent the “continued exposure” protocol that would then require my kids to wait until I tested negative and then would have to quarantine 10 more days since they weren't vaccinated. A few friends reached out with some advice about the rules which really helped since I couldn’t seem to form a thought or figure out anything.
Luckily, I have a very competent husband who likes challenges so he was ready to take it all on. He not only was going to tend to me, take care of the kids but also deal with overseeing the building of the entire neighborhood (that we happen to live in). It was going to be a massive undertaking, but he put on his Superman shirt and an incredibly positive attitude and started multitasking like a champ.
And to my surprise the family didn’t miss a beat and the world didn’t come crashing down because I wasn’t in the mix to keep up my all-important Mom CEO role.
My suggestion is that even if you have a partner or a strong support system (or not) then it would be a good idea to already have the action plan of what to do if you or a loved one gets it. What the protocols are for your state and what your plan is in case of different scenarios. I felt like I ignored this step because then it would be admitting that I could get it and I didn’t want that belief to be in my mind. (even though it seems like common sense)
The things I had on hand that were helpful were:
Vitamin C gummies
Elderberry cough drops
Tylenol Cold and Flu Day and Night
Cold water bottle
Immunity vitamin packs 2xs a day
Kleenex with aloe
Notepad & pen for info from Covid results people or the kids school telling me the protocol that I couldn’t possibly retain without writing it down
Foam roller & yoga blocks
Separate chair to sit in besides a bed
Epsom salt for baths
Asking for help- soup, kid school work pick up, activities for kids to do etc.
Little video updates became my only purpose each day. Being honest and transparent about my journey seemed like a valuable (and entertaining) focus for my long bedroom-bound days. I hadn’t seen many people post in this way about their Covid experience, or maybe I wasn't looking for it before. My posts could be helpful for those people out there, who hadn’t had it but were curious what it was really like day to day. I re-watched my first video and it took me a few hours to commit to posting it since I looked like Hell and I had never posted myself on social media looking so wretched. But then I realized that’s where the power is. I could do a recap post Covid looking bright and cheery but that wouldn’t be as impactful as in the moment honesty.
The first few days were a blur and all I was capable of was watching TV. I had no desire to nap, which would have helped pass the time. I had a mild fever for 24 hrs and then body aches. Unfortunately, after 2 days in a leaning upright position in bed really jacked up my back, which was a source of constant discomfort. This is where the yoga blocks helped to release my lower back by laying on them under my hips to counter my bed sitting position. The foam roller was a life saver and gave me something to do.
The brain fog was legit and I couldn’t seem to figure anything out, nor had any motivation to do things that required any thinking. No puzzles, no coloring, no books, no computer activities, no magazines and not even audio books. It was as if my brain was incapable of processing anything but mindlessly staring at the TV or out the window or just pacing from the closet to the window. I had originally thought that in a 10 day uninterrupted isolation I could probably write the outline of a new book, or revamp my website, or create a New Year New You on-line course or…..
By day 2 my taste and smell disappeared. There were no treats or special meals that sounded appetizing because what was the point? I could taste temperature and texture and sometimes salt. Might as well just give me spinach and broccoli for every meal since there is no reason to eat anything tasty that isn’t of full on medicinal value. One morning Sam brought me a gooey cinnamon roll and after one bite I quickly realized it made no sense to put that in my body if there was no enjoyment in the taste of it. So, I drank super thick veggied-out green smoothies every day along with the soups people had dropped off. Sherbet was the only thing that felt like a treat.
I took a candlelit Epsom salt bath every night and just floated lifelessly in a deep trance.
There was a big beautiful snow storm one day and that was all-day entertainment and hours of endless zone-out winter splendor to stare at. My family played in the snow in the backyard and I could watch them from the upstairs window. My kids were able to talk to me from outside and shout up to me or put little notes under the door. It was very isolating and lonely, but also a very unique and powerful reset button for busy little me.
At the retreat the previous weekend I had gotten clear that I needed to slow down because I was starting to vibrate at a frequency that was outside my prime functioning zone. It was hard to slow it down especially with Christmas just around the corner. Covid felt like life doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
This spiritual axiom of being given what I truly needed instead of what I wanted has impacted my life a few other times in significant ways– like when I snapped my Achilles tendon or when I got sober. This will definitely be added to that category of the universe giving me what I needed, even if it didn’t feel like a gift at the time. Once I surrendered to this concept, I was able to let go of all the things I wasn’t doing or accomplishing in isolation. Instead I just became present to the snowflakes swirling out the window, the squirrel nimbly running along the fence, the warm tingle of my bath or the cool smooth texture of my sherbet.
No plotting, planning, preparing, think-tanking, creating, learning, designing or brainstorming.
The gratitude for Sam and how he was showing up for me was next level. The doorknob turning brought me joy and relief to see him with a tray with tea or soup or something he thought I’d like. He’d give me kid updates and listen to me meow about the details of my window observations like 2 bucks ramming heads or a flock of quail in a circle in our yard having a bird meeting. I would share my wacky weird Youtube deep dives like championship pillow fighting or sword fight dancing.
By about day 6 I was chiper and felt significantly better. A bit fatigued still and no taste or smell had returned. My congestion had improved and I stopped watching TV and just stretched, meditated, listened to an audio book and wrapped Christmas presents. On day 7 I masked up and snuck outside for a walk in the snow which helped rejuvenate my senses and to move my achy and restless body.
For some there is an option to get a Monoclonal infusion through the hospital but I didn't qualify.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system's attack on cells. The nurse went through all the qualifiers but I was too healthy without anything compromised in my system. (except for Covid) There are outside companies that administer it but it's about $1000. A few people reached out and let me know that I might test positive for a while after isolation so I might want to save the tests and not disappoint myself daily. So I didn't test on day 7 and 8 and then on day 9....
I went and took an official test which was also negative! Then I got into Operation Recovery Mode because I was ready to get back to a steller healthy state of being. A friend suggested going to Rise Wellness to get an IV drip with a high dose of vitamins and antioxidants to detoxify my body. It supercharges the immune system to fight off illness and to lower inflammation. I got that along with a Vitamin D shot and it was about $200. The rest of the day I felt a bit funky from all that in my system, but by the next day I felt significantly better.
Yesterday I went back for the Ozone sauna which is this futuristic contraption that has a direct impact on a pathogen's ability to reproduce. It has a cleansing effect on molecules where the humidity and heat to help get rid of toxins. Since I was already fully invested in optimum recovery I opted for the salt sauna too. Dry salt therapy deep cleans the entire respiratory system. The microparticles of salt act like a magnet and aid in the removal of toxins built up. It was $90 total for both of these treatments and it took an hour for both. This was a my Christmas present from my parents which was really all I wanted for Christmas was... my health back.
It has been 16 days since my first symptoms and today I finally feel back to normal. There are pockets of fatigue and brain fog, but essentially I am fully functional. I feel relieved to be on the other side and I have a new respect for the disease and the potential that it could have had on my body if I wasn't vaccinated. My family made it unscathed but we have an understanding of what it takes as a family to deal with it.
I am on the other side with a recalibrated system. I didn't pile a lot back on my plate once I felt better. No multitasking. No over the top holiday ideas that stress out me (and my family). I did my sweater fundraiser for my gal in Peru and that was it. I'm still watching snowflakes, snuggling gratefully with my kids and spending more quality time doing fun things with them. It has been a much needed recalibration for this busy Mom-Boss. It now feels like a gift in hindsight. I know this is not everyone's experience as it can have devastating outcomes for some. I tried to keep an attitude of gratitude so I could see the value in this Covid breakthrough experience. So hopefully something in this post will help you if you need to walk this path also. You could share it with someone who might find it useful. I have a renewed sense of gratitude for my body's ability to get better, my kids, my husband, my friends that showed up for me and my family during my isolation. My appreciation for taste and smell is like I have never experienced before. I savor bites and take big deep inhales.
4 lessons learned:
1. Don't take good health for granted
2. Slow the F down
3. Look out the window more often
4. My husband is the bomb