Symptoms & covid journey

My covid journey

Written June 5th, 2020

I had covid for over 60 days. I’m 33 years old, was super healthy, pescatarian, 125 pounds, and ran and did yoga every day. I couldn’t walk for two weeks besides a couple steps. It was the worst illness of my life.

Covid has been such a rollercoaster, so many ups and downs. I ended up making a whole blog about my experience. It has 20k views from 76 countries.

I’m a special education teacher and I think the reason I got such bad covid symptoms was because I didn’t put on my metaphorical mask first before helping others. I work in a schools with over 90% students below poverty. I was so worried about my students and their families. I would work 16-20 hours a day to compile lists of financial resources and other support and I would call parents every day. Some would call me crying at midnight and I would always answer.

Also, in 2 days, 2 of my students’ parents died. I worked non stop to help them and started getting only 3 hours of sleep. That’s when my covid symptoms became unbearable and my family made me go to the ER.

I live in Chicago, USA and was terrified to go after seeing the pictures of the hospitals in New York looking like morgues. My family made me and my roomate drove me.

I didn’t realize I had covid symptoms for weeks. Here were the early signs:
-waking up sweaty (I normally don’t sweat at night)
-slight sporadic chills but no fever (or I thought I had no fever bc I only took my temp during the day)
-I could smell fine but would have weird smells like metallic or gas. Also, tasted metallic in the past 2-3 weeks. Apparently, a metallic taste or smell is related to lung problems
-loose stool but not terrible

Then, I started having:
-shoulder pain
-severe neck pain and headaches
-difficult breathing (but not congestion in lungs). I just thought it was anxiety
-night terrors and foggy thoughts. I believe due to night fevers
-ear congestion, felt like a cold
-worse anxiety & breathing problems at night because laying on my back made breathing worse

2 weeks later I had:
-Way more difficulty breathing if anything is even touching my back, especially lower back. It’s way easier to breathe while laying on my belly or sitting on a stool (because nothing is touching my back)
-A few nights, I had feelings of intense dread because my fever was so high, I couldn’t even move, was drenched in sweat and almost delirious from the fever. I’ve heard multiple covid patients describe it as “feeling like covid is taking over ur body.”
-Lots of digestion problems but probably from the tons of antibiotics I’m on
-Severe chest pain and some rib pain. It feels like a gorrilla is sitting on my chest and someone is squeezing my lungs so every breathe is work but my oxygen levels are mostly normal.

There are so many common misconceptions about covid. People think you have to be coughing and congested with a fever. I never had lung congestion or a cough. I also only had fevers at night. My doctor said my symptoms are super common in covid. Covid can affect people very differently. Some people’s lungs fill up and some have extreme tightness and pain.

Also, that “hold your breathe for 10 seconds” test is false. People are dying from this “made-up covid test” because then they don’t go to the hospital.

Also, doctors usually put you on antibiotics to make sure you don’t get another infection. I had to take 3 sets of antibiotics.

Breathing exercises help you reach the lower part of your lungs that are near your low back. One reason covid is so dangerous is that it hits the tiny air sacks at the bottom of the lungs which can cause double pneumonia. If you google covid breathing videos, you will find what to do. I highly recommend people buy a spirometer to practice breathing exercises. It’s the #1 thing that helped me.

Also, my doctor said 30-50% of covid tests are false negatives. She said that in the beginning they were tested with a mouth and throat test and they were way more accurate. Now, due to low supplies, hospitals only give patients one test.

My doctor said ibuprofen is totally fine. 1 small study said that people should not take ibuprofen and media went crazy with it. My doctor said that Tylenol is preferred to reduce fevers. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation.

This is what has helped me:
-Drinking lemon water all day, especially in the morning. It cleans your organs and reduces inflammation. It has helped me breathe better
-Eat garlic every day
-Use a lymph node brush on your lymph nodes along your neck, chest, armpits, etc. This cleanses your lymph nodes. My lymph nodes were horribly swollen. After doing this for 2 days, they went down
-Sit outside in your backyard or take vitamin D. Vitamin C and zinc are very helpful too
-Lidocaine patches on my chest every 12 hours has helped a lot
-I’m also drinking some Pedialyte, coconut water and Gatorade to help keep my electrolytes balanced
-Tylenol for chest pain and to reduce fever
-Herbs or tea from an acupuncturist.

-Black seed oil is very good for lungs and immunity has been around for thousands of years. They even found it in king tuts tomb.
– Eat as many fruit and berries as possible
-Drink green tea
-I’ve also been taking my oxygen levels about 10x per day and blood pressure 2x per day
– I bought 2 air purifiers for my living room and bedroom. They have helped immensely
-Also, don’t just lay in bed or sit there. Many people die from blood clots. Even if you are exhausted, try to walk a little or use the vibrating machine on yourself so you don’t have blood clots

After going to a very good hospital, clean and calm, they call me every single day around noon to ask me a set of 10-15 questions and to see if I need anything. They also have a social worker on call that I can call day or night, since covid is so stressful.

I hope people take covid seriously and wear masks and social distance. Covid has been the worst illness of my life. And living in the USA, with for profit healthcare has also been a terrible experience. I think that’s why so many people are dying at home.

Did you know this about covid…?

Written June 8th, 2020

Did you know that you can have pneumonia and covid with no cough or fever? I had no cough at all and no fever, besides maybe at night. And a chest Xray showed I had bad pneumonia.

Did you know, you can also have bad pneumonia and covid even with your oxygen usually at 97-100% while sitting. Some people with covid have difficulty breathing while walking, with exertion or lying down. Some people have normal oxygen levels but just chest tightness.

Did you know that metallic and/or gas smell and/or taste is a sign of lung issues? That’s why people with covid often have this. I got random wiffs and tastes of metallic when I would walk, especially up the stairs.

I DIDN’T KNOW I HAD COVID FOR 2-3 WEEKS. MY FIRST SYMPTOMS WERE:

-Night sweats (and I usually don’t sweat at night)
-Some random mild chills
-Diarrhea
-Random metallic smell and taste a few times, especially while walking or doing exercises

SHARE: EVEN IF SURVIVAL RATES ARE FAIRLY HIGH FOR COVID, DO YOU REALLY WANT THESE SYMPTOMS FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS?

Someone in my covid group made a list of about 60 symptoms. I had 42 symptoms at some point over the past 2 months:
1) chest pain/tightness
2) body aches/muscle aches
3) headaches
4) respiratory distress
5) fatigue, lethargy, weak
6) GI issues
7) body ache, muscle ache
8)having symptoms in waves
9) emotional distress, sadness
10) high heart rate, palpitations
11) brain fog, forgetfulness
12) talking causes exhaustion
13) blurry vision (had for 2 days in one eye)
14) chills
15) no appetite (that only last a week or two)
16) insomnia
17) tachycardia/pots (High heart rate, heart palpitations)
18) tingling body sensation
19) lung, heart pain
20) changes in taste/smell
21) sinus press headache
21) heavy sweating
22) symptomatic 30 days
23) phantosmia (smelled metallic or burning)
24) increased blood pressure
25) constricted throat (hard to swallow)
26) dehydration
27) oxygen under 90
28) tinnitus
29) ride side rib pain (that’s where my bad pneumonia was)
30) breast pain
31) irregular heart beat
32) enlarged lymph nodes (very painful)
33) blocked ear drum/ear ache (very painful)
34) pneumonia
35) low temperature
36) hallucinations (at night when I think my fever was very high)
37) leg pain
38) abdominal pain
39) enlarged aorta (from my heart trying to pump blood)
40) gum sensitivity/pain
41) dizziness
42) seeing spots

And I’m lucky because I never had some of the other symptoms, such as:
-rashes
-inflamed eyeballs
-kidney issues & dark urine
-cough
-covid toes
-terrible joint pain
-burning in lungs
-loss of taste, smell
-sore throat
-numbness in fingers and toes
-blood clots
-pink eye
-crackling lung
-restless leg
-vomiting
-tremors
-hives

Some people also have permanent damage to their lungs, heart and other organs. Even young healthy people have these horrible symptoms. Covid is no joke.

#StayHome #WearMasks

Symptoms of Covid & countering mis-information:

Written April 27th, 2020.

Now, I think I actually started having covid around 4 weeks ago. Here were the early signs:
-waking up sweaty (I normally don’t sweat at night)
-slight sporadic chills but no fever (or I thought I had no fever bc I only took my temp during the day)
-I could smell fine but would have weird smells like metallic or gas. Also, tasted metallic in the past 2-3 weeks. Apparently, a metallic taste or smell is related to lung problems 
-loose stool but not terrible 

And 2 weeks ago I started having:
-shoulder pain
-severe neck pain and headaches 
-difficult breathing (but not congestion in lungs). I just thought it was anxiety 
-night terrors and foggy thoughts. I believe due to night fevers 
-ear congestion, felt like a cold
-worse anxiety & breathing problems at night because laying on my back made breathing worse 

The past week and a half, I’ve had:
-Way more difficulty breathing if anything is even touching my back, especially lower back. It’s way easier to breathe while laying on my belly or sitting on a stool (because nothing is touching my back)
-A few nights, I had feelings of intense dread because my fever was so high, I couldn’t even move, was drenched in sweat and almost delirious from the fever. I’ve heard multiple covid patients describe it as “feeling like covid is taking over ur body.”
-Lots of digestion problems but probably from the tons of antibiotics I’m on
-Severe chest pain and some rib pain. It feels like a gorrilla is sitting on my chest and someone is squeezing my lungs so every breathe is work but my oxygen levels are mostly normal. 

There are so many common misconceptions about covid. People think you have to be coughing and congested with a fever. I never had lung congestion or a cough. I also only had fevers at night. My doctor said my symptoms are super common in covid. Covid can affect people very differently. Some people’s lungs fill up and some have extreme tightness and pain. 

Also, that “hold your breathe for 10 seconds” test is false. People are dying from this “made-up covid test” because then they don’t go to the hospital.

Also, doctors usually put you on antibiotics to make sure you don’t get another infection. I’m on a lot of antibiotics. I just finished 4 pills, for 10 days. Now, I’m on 2 new antibiotics for 5 more days.

Breathing exercises help you reach the lower part of your lungs that are near your low back. One reason covid is so dangerous is that it hits the tiny air sacks at the bottom of the lungs which can cause double pneumonia. If you google covid breathing videos, you will find what to do. I highly recommend people do them 10x per hour or two.

Also, my doctor said 30-50% of covid tests are false negatives. She said that in the beginning they were tested with a mouth and throat test and they were way more accurate. Now, due to low supplies, hospitals only give patients one test. 

My doctor said ibuprofen is totally fine. 1 small study said that people should not take ibuprofen and media went crazy with it. My doctor said that Tylenol is preferred to reduce fevers. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation.  

This is what has helped me:
-Drinking lemon water all day, especially in the morning. It cleans your organs and reduces inflammation. It has helped me breathe better
-Eat garlic every day
-Use a lymph node brush on your lymph nodes along your neck, chest, armpits, etc. This cleanses your lymph nodes. My lymph nodes were horribly swollen. After doing this for 2 days, they went down
-Sit outside in your backyard or take vitamin D. Vitamin C and zinc are very helpful too
-Lidocaine patches on my chest every 12 hours has helped a lot
-I’m also drinking some Pedialyte, coconut water and Gatorade to help keep my electrolytes balanced
-Tylenol for chest pain and to reduce fever
-Herbs or tea from an acupuncturist.

-Black seed oil is very good for lungs and immunity has been around for thousands of years. They even found it in king tuts tomb.
– Eat as many fruit and berries as possible 
-Drink green tea 
-I’ve also been taking my oxygen levels about 10x per day and blood pressure 2x per day
– I bought 2 air purifiers for my living room and bedroom. They have helped immensely 
-Also, don’t just lay in bed or sit there. Many people die from blood clots. Even if you are exhausted, try to walk a little or use the vibrating machine on yourself so you don’t have blood clots 

After going to a very good hospital, clean and calm, they call me every single day around noon to ask me a set of 10-15 questions and to see if I need anything. They also have a social worker on call that I can call day or night, since covid is so stressful. 

Anyway, I hope this list didn’t stress people out. I just wanted to help inform. I think I might’ve turned a slight corner today. I can breathe slightly better. Still not good but at least I don’t have to lay on my belly all day just to be able to breathe.

SHARE: HOW TO PREPARE FOR COVID, IF YOU START TO EVEN HAVE MILD SYMPTOMS:

Written: April 30th, 2020

Many of these things you should do now anyway! And these are my experiences, obviously talk to your doctor first and ask what you should do:

Make your will!! People can do their will on legal zoom. It’s super fast and cheap. You can notarize your will online with a notary app. Finalize your will early on because you become too exhausted. I did mine 1 month ago before any symptoms began, but I’ve still been too exhausted to get it notarized. When I was on the way to the ER, I just emailed it to my parents and said, “I sign and approve this will.” 


Early on, you should definitely buy a finger oxygen monitor monitor and thermometer because they are hard to find and take weeks to deliver. It’s a good idea to have a blood pressure machine too because many people have strokes from covid.


Also, have 2 – 3 bottles of Tylenol ready because doctors ask you to take it multiple times a day to reduce fevers and help with pain. Some people, myself included, only get fevers at night. I honestly think that’s why a bunch of people die at night, from covid. I didn’t realize I was having fevers until the docs told me. I woke up drenched in sweat, so now I take Tylenol before bed so my fevers don’t get too high.


Buy 24-48 packs of water so u don’t have to stand up constantly and become winded. Don’t drink too too much water because you’ll throw off your electrolyte balance, so drink Pedialyte, coconut water or gatorade too. Pedilayte are coconut water are preferred because they have less sugar than gatorade.

Also, keep a banana and 1 Gatorade or Pedialyte next to your bed, so you have it next to you in the morning. Whenever I wake up, I feel horrible & have difficulty breathing and getting up to eat. My acupuncturist and doctor told me that it’s probably from sweating so much at night from the fever that I’m dehydrated in the am. So now, before I get out of bed, I normally drink some of a Gatorade and a smoothie (link on bottom) so I am able to get up.


Buy iron pills because many people (myself included) end up having low iron, hemoglobin and red blood cells.


Lidocaine patches on the chest help extremely with chest tightness. Icy hot or bengay on the back and ribs help with this to. 

Also, if you have asthma or your doctor prescribes one, definitely get an inhaler. Since pharmacies are backed up, it could take a few days to receive one.


Buy compression socks because many people, with covid, get blood clots. My one leg was more swollen so compression socks helped.


Also, make sure your list of medicines and emergency contacts are updated in your phone emergency log and email it to your family. You could end up having “covid fog brain” (is what I call it) where you can’t think straight. This is often due to fevers, exhaustion and low oxygen. 


You might even want to have an ER bag set because I had to go 2x and it was hard for me to think of what to tell my roomate to pack for me


Look up nearest emergency room to you because that is where an ambulance would bring you. If that ER is terrible like mine is, you should have the private ambulance number, like Medex +1 (773) 725-9111, in case you need it (I realize this is expensive and many people can’t afford it). Also look up the nearest “good” hospital.


Also, it is common for whyte men in the medical profession to not listen or believe women, people of color or LGBTIQ+ folks. When I was in the ambulance, they kept saying, “It’s probably just anxiety, not covid.” I was too out of breath and could barely talk but kept trying to tell him “No, I already went to Er once, I have covid.” And he wouldn’t listen. He wouldnt even hook me up to machines until I made him. 

Write a letter or list to give to doctors, in case you can’t talk. Also, if you’re in a union, wear your union hat or pin because some hospitals will treat you better. My first time in the ER, with the union hat, they treated me far better. The second time in the ER, they wouldn’t even come if I pressed the button, they kept forgetting to hook me up to the vital monitor machines and my family had to call the ER nurse station to help me. And be extremely nice to the healthcare staff. They are way over worked and many are our students’ parents too!!


Make sure you have a therapist because having covid is very stressful, especially when you can’t breathe. Luckily, some good hospitals have a social worker on call 24/7 and they will give u her number if you ask the ER. It’s still best to have your own therapist because social workers are rotating.


I think it’s tricky for people who live alone. You can’t break quarantine but if people have bad cases of the virus, living alone is super dangerous. I think I would’ve died without my roomate here. You need people to check on you (can be verbally through your bedroom door or phone calls so there is 0 contact) because often you feel very light headed and like you could faint. There were many days where I couldn’t get up to get food or liquids, so my roomate had to bring them to me.


Also, think of who will take care of your pets. Even if you are home, you may become too winded to do it. Maybe, buy automatic feeders.


There are many other things that are helpful but the things listed above you should get right away. These things help a lot but aren’t urgent (ask your doctor first):

-warm air humidifier and add essential oils like mint or eucalyptus 

-Benedryl and mucinex works for some-vitamin d-zinc-vitamin c

-chair to sit in or cushion to sit on that doesn’t touch ur back (very hard to breathe while anything touches your back). Or buy a pillow u can lay on a your belly 

-cough drops, cough medicine-heating pad for chills

-sleeping medicine or take Benedryl. Only take it if the doctor says it’s ok because you don’t want to be too knocked out

-garlic (boosts immunity)

-black seed oil (boosts immunity and good for lungs. Been around 1000s of years, even found in king tuts tomb)

-apple cider vinegar (boosts immunity)

-vapor chest rub or shower vapo bombs

-Kleenex

-disinfectant 

-something to do like video games to keep your mind off the pain (animal crossing is life) 

-know your work and union rules for taking the covid sick leave (ctu gets 2 weeks off for covid without using sick days. Also, BCBS IL’s policy now is that everything is 100% covered for anything covid related, even if you don’t test positive but are presumed positive since 30-50% of tests are false negatives. You won’t even have to pay a copay. $0).

-tons of lemons, help with breathing and clean the organs

-smoothies and soup

– lymph node brush to drain your lymph nodes

-ice packs for headaches

-air purifier or warm air humidifier 

-ginger tea for stomach problems

-tea kettle you can plug in next to you 

-extension cords because you might have a lot plugged in

-darkening drapes and sleeping machines because sleeping is difficult and you become afraid to sleep because covid symptoms often worsen when you sleep

-wash your clothes early on because you could have no energy to do so and can’t leave to laundry mats

-buy mask and gloves

-Mouthwash: good for you and sometimes you arer too tired to brush your teeth

-stools or rolling chairs so you can sit while you do things like brush your teeth 

-buy bananas because doctors are finding that many ppl with covid are low on potassium, which can cause heart beat irregularities (it did for me)

-also buy a large vitamin pill box because you may have to take so many different medicines and vitamins, that you have “covid fog brain” and will forget what you take-you get exhausted

-Get a basket or big pot to put all your vitamins and medicine in, so you have it in one place and won’t lose any

-You might not have energy to eat so also buy some easy to eat or drink things like these smoothies:
https://www.amazon.com/Superfood-Smoothies-Variety-Organic-Smoothie/dp/B07G29JSNL

Again, before doing any this, see your doctor and ask them.

2 thoughts on “Symptoms & covid journey

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