I Had COVID-19, Here’s My Truth

It took a lot of courage for me to publish this post. I struggled for weeks with whether or not I wanted to share my COVID-19 experience and how I have been treated since. Here I am though and here it goes. . . It all started on Halloween.

What were my symptoms?

My sore throat had me convinced it was merely Texas autumn allergies. The winds were picking up, tossing dust into the air. I figured out it wasn’t allergies when I got my first out-of-the-ordinary symptom.

The aches. My whole body felt weak from a dull pain that didn’t seem to want to leave my body.

Next came the cold symptoms: My nose was stuffy one minute, and running the next. My head hurt. I felt weak and tired.

Then the chills—by far the worst part. I couldn’t fall asleep, I was so cold. Then woke up soaked in sweat.

The next two weeks I was coughing up phlegm and barely able to make it around the block on a walk with my dog. I finally tested negative nearly four weeks after first experiencing symptoms.

What did it feel like?

I got tested the day after Halloween, and remember thinking it impossible that I actually have it. Why would I? I followed all CDC recommendations: wore my mask, used hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving public places. I hadn’t traveled anywhere in months, barely saw friends, much less met new people. I only really stepped out out my apartment for work (as requested by my employer) and to go to the grocery store.

When I got my positive test result (two days after getting tested because of my sore throat), I back tracked and told those I had been in contact with over the past two weeks, which included my coworkers, and the one friend I saw briefly two weeks prior. All came up negative except for one of my coworkers.

How do people react?

The vibe changes when the news hits people’s ears. They don’t immediately ask how you are but rather how you got it. As if it was obviously your fault and you were irresponsible and therefore being punished. The stigma that you’ll get it again or that it lingers in your body or that it can impact you long-term becomes the main conversation. “Do you feel back to normal? Can you do everything you used to? Who knows how this will affect you years from now!” they all say.

I hesitated to even write this article because I knew I would be admitting to the world that I had COVID-19. But I feel I need to speak my truth because those who get COVID-19 aren’t always to blame, and when they recover, they are just fine. No need to pity them or imply that they are marred for life somehow. I personally, don’t want to hear how you’re better off because you never got it or how lucky you feel that you’ll be immune because of a vaccine yet I am not immune and may even get it again.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the vaccine. I also appreciate that I kicked COVID-19’s butt like how I kicked several sicknesses over my lifetime. Each and every experience, including this one, has made me stronger, not weaker. So to all those that have never had it, please stop implying that I am anything less than a badass, that I may still spread it to you, or that I am somehow irresponsible.

I had COVID-19. It knocked the shit out of me. I made it out the other side and the last thing I want to hear when I tell people is that it has scarred me for life or how it’s a pity I didn’t outlast the virus before the vaccine came out.

My last thoughts…

COVID-19 is a cruel illness. A zootonic disease born of humans’ cruelty towards animals, COVID-19 is their revenge on us. It was inflicted on me not by my choosing and I will probably carry that with me forever. So if I could ask anything, it would be that people stop judging those that suffer and have suffered from this illness that is unlike any other.

Until next time,

Leah Pinkus

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