by Cassandra McCoy MAT, ATC, LAT
I had a plan.
The last two weeks of March and the first few weeks of April I would be making some changes and would also develop what I wanted to share with others. So I moved forward, plans were formulated, with announcements to the contributors beginning to roll out. My dad was coming down and I was really excited to see him the first time since Christmas time. There was more but hey, you know what they say about plans right?
At the start of the COVID-19 panic, I was thinking I would be fine. I was actually looking forward to shifting to a slower pace. I have been busy lately. Working a lot and trying to build back up our savings after school. I had been getting sick recently due to some underlying medical problems, but was feeling a bit better. I was even thinking about the potential quarantine as a possible blessing for many to slow down, just as I wanted to.
I began to plan ways to help women at home with my fellow contributors over at Positively Balanced. I had worked with a few of them to set up conversations. I began to formulate the membership I had been sitting on and was ready to launch, coming in April. I was preparing and consolidating content. My goal was to help other women navigate this new challenge we were all about to face.
Work was steady for awhile, everyone was feeling good. Then it started to change to less and less patients around the 18th. Everyone was feeling fine, yours truly included. I had been tired from stress and other health concerns but it was going well. I even did my best workout in MONTHS on the 19th. Boy, did that change fast.
March 20: I started to get extremely tired and fuzzy. I thought it was because I was up every half hour with my son. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But I started getting spacey for sure here and there.
March 22: morning time, I feel good, tired from waking up and taking care of a sick baby. Evening time, sneezing starts then sore throat after I go to bed at 8pm. No fever.
Match 23: morning time, check my temperature no fever, still some sneezing and sore throat. Head to work. Feel progressively more tired throughout the day, practice distancing myself from those around me, disinfecting lots, bleach, etc. No hands on manual therapy, no direct facing patients or coworkers. 4:30pm, I start getting chills. Head and temp is now 100.1. I call my boss, tell him I’m hoping it’s a 24 hr bug, tell him what’s going on, he tells me to stay home tomorrow just in case. I tell him I’ll get a flu/strep test, just to be cautious.
March 24: Nyquil helped me sleep on and off 8pm to 8:30am. I sweated through 2 pairs of clothes. 100.2 temp. In the morning I’m sneezing more now with a headache, lots of sinus pressure, sore throat making me sound an octave lower. I notice decreased appetite. In the afternoon, I’m reading a temp of 98.8. I get a curbside flu and strep test from a local Utica park clinic. They are negative. She says go home and stay there, they can’t give me a COVID test as my symptoms aren’t bad enough. I tell my boss. Ok, I’m home until the end of the week with the rest of my PTO. Then we’ll see what’s progressed or if it was just a random sickness that’s gone for good by Tuesday night. That evening, another dose of Nyquil that puts me out by 8pm. I wake up at 940pm, let out a few congestion filled coughs and find I’m soaked with sweat again. I change clothes, go back to sleep.
Match 25: 4am, wake up and change soaked clothes. 630am wake up with upset/ ear infection ill son. Temp is 98.6. I try to talk, and well, now I sound like a 30 year smoker. Sneezing is a bit less, headache is less, coughing every now and then just feeling the drainage. Noon: temp 99.1.
Did laundry and dishes. Evening: I can’t talk much. I’m coughing more. Somewhere in the afternoon my smoker voice turns into Darth Vader with faulty wiring. Temp 100.2. If I force myself to speak it feels like nails in my throat and it is at a very low deep volume. Go to bed with Nyquil falling asleep around 8pm, wake up at 11pm to change clothes.
March 26th: up on and off all night. Nyquil didn’t work. Sneezing, increase in coughing. No voice. What so ever. Temp 98.6. No more wardrobe change, just lots of drainage. Up at 6am, can’t sleep, so I start to record my experience as it is pretty clear I won’t be returning to work anytime soon. I can’t get a test because I’m not severe enough to stop breathing but I also don’t wanna go to work, even if I suddenly felt better (not going to happen, I know), because I don’t want to even chance putting others at risk.
So I’m .2 under the 100.4 necessary for testing. I naturally run lower so even a 100.2 is feverish to me. However, that doesn’t qualify.
March 27th. So, still no voice this morning. Coughing was intense and so is the sneezing. My body aches have diminished as has the intensity of headache. My husband woke up with a cough, sneezing and losing his voice. Fantastic. By noon he’s super fatigued, I’m sneezing and coughing.
March 28th: Coughing, sneezing, sore throat. On repeat. I am super tired. And then around 4pm, the migraine hit. Probably was up until about 1:30am trying to fight the migraine and fall asleep.
So I’m still in it! Today is the 29th. I’m sure a few more days to go. Migraine, sneezing, coughing, sore throat. Yes, it has sucked. I am pretty exhausted.
But let me tell you the amazing things.
The women I planned on helping, giving to and supporting, ended up supporting, giving and helping me and my family. Instead of providing my planned support to other women, I have received support. Instead of giving, I am allowing myself to receive.
My friend brought me cough drops and popsicles to my front door. Several friends have texted me daily to check in. Another friend from anther country sent me a live video of the ocean. I video chat with my dad at least twice per day.
My husband went to the store twice to get me electrolyte and groceries.
I have been able to spend more time with my family then I have since before grad school.
I got to watch my baby eat his first popsicle (he loved it).
I got to help him put together his first block puzzle.
I got to talk (or text after I lost my voice) to my husband for more than just a few seconds at night.
I got to think about how I was to help other women moving forward.
I have the chance to sit in silence (in between sneezes and coughs) for a few minutes each day while my son napped and just be.
I was able to evaluate what I wanted to do moving forward, who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life.
I was able to realize just how unhappy I have been with what I’ve been spending hours on in my life.
I was able to take the time needed to realize the effect stress has been making on all the dimensions of my own life.
By no means have I figured it all out. I’m not sure if anyone ever does. But hey, I have another week of quarantine right?
Why does it take a quarantine to take us back to what matters? Why does it take a pandemic to realize who we are or could be?
Society? Culture? Religion?
I don’t have the answer but I’d love to start a conversation with you. Just like this article: raw, honest and pure conversation.