This is not a post about texting and driving, but ride with me for a few minutes. Here’s my analogy: I started driving motorcycles at 14 and have almost always owned one. I stopped driving them years ago. I trust myself but couldn’t trust other drivers to pay attention to the road. My beautiful family makes me pretty risk averse. As a lawyer, I’ve seen good people kill good people by accident.
COVID-19 is like that. People assume it’s going to be fine. And maybe it will be. Maybe if one did pass COVID to someone they’d be fine. And if they weren’t, well, maybe that’s the fault of their own frailty? No. Not at all. We are responsible for the harm we knowingly or negligently put out into the world.
Last week, I was recovering from the flu. Me and my family repeatedly tested negative for COVID and the symptoms were a common variety: fever, sore throat, cough and general aches. I thought if this was COVID, it truly wasn’t as bad as they said. I masked everywhere and stayed home until I felt good. Negative tests throughout.
I finally got back into the office only to have COVID-19 unknowingly reach me. The first day was Saturday. I didn’t get out of bed. Sunday was equally miserable, including leg cramps like I’ve never had before. It was like a bad fireworks show inside my body, including terrible, constant headaches, tummy troubles, burning up while freezing, random uncontrollable twitching and other weird stuff. It was a constellation of symptoms which were abnormal and significant, although still manageable from home.
Over the last year, I lost 44 pounds through better habits. I recently celebrated over 400 straight days of 30-90 minutes of consecutive daily exercise. My Sunday workout was very difficult. I knew the streak was going to stop. My body needed a break. This has to be COVID.
Monday, I lost my sense of smell, and COVID was no longer an abstraction. My 8-year-old came home from his COVID test scared. We reassured him it’s okay. Fortunately, my wife Angela has had fewer symptoms, but she’s also endured the wrath of this.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all pretty miserable. The insomnia set in, and I couldn’t sleep. There was a point I wondered if COVID was keeping me awake to weaken me. I finally ate something solid Thursday, and my body immediately became violently angry. I had neither an appetite nor any real desire to eat and if I pushed it, well, payback was terrible. I did something which was part cough and part vomit. I didn’t think it was possible.
By Friday, we played some family games to take our minds off of it and laugh. Attempts at work involving any stress brought on the fireworks. Again, a constellation of unpleasant and unrelated symptoms. One morning, I saw the sunrise and had a panic attack as my lungs could no longer process cool air without it burning. I had to turn on the heat to breathe air which moderately matched the warmth of my lungs.
It’s Sunday as I write this, and I’m still unable to breathe normally or otherwise feel anything other than pretty terrible. On the bright side, I don’t have a fever, and my symptoms have improved.
We wore masks. I have hand sanitizer in every room. We are diligent. But hearing your child has COVID-19 and being too weak to take care of him was a terrible feeling. Thank God for my wife, Angela. And our health and support system. Many don’t have the health and ability to take time to rest and recuperate. Many have symptoms and conditions that put them in massive harm’s way.COVID-19 is serious, real, scary and depressing.
I don’t intend to overshare or claim I was perfect, but I hope you realize that I imagined dying this week. This isn’t the flu. Stay home when you can. Wear a mask. For others, and for yourself.