I got it. Yep, it had to be this way. When you live in the most impacted region in France and that your colleagues and relatives start having symptoms, you just pray to be asymptomatic. Yep. I got it.
After slowly witnessing people get sick, I thought I would most probably develop mild symptoms of it, as I’m young and healthy. Sometimes I allowed myself to believe I would not even get it at all. And even if I would get flu symptoms, it would be ok.
Am I a lucky one? Nope.
It was like a domino chain. One colleague announced she had fever, another had clearly a bad flu. Then others started feeling sick and some were already coughing strongly. But hey, you know why? At that point it could be the real flu.
Well, I’m young and healthy. What could this coronavirus do to me? Let’s see.
Three days after my last contact with potential Covid19 positive people (AKA my family and my coworkers), I started coughing a little bit. Just a little bit. In the end, in this anxious environment, who would not start getting a bit of stress and fear sufficient enough to get some mild symptoms?
Weirdly, the cough was not alone. Accompanied by a tiny difficulty to breathe just like when I enter a Sephora, I was not worried. “If this is Coronavirus, I’m fine”. This is the sentence I said for 4 days, until the difficulty to breathe became almost unbearable. A call to a doctor (well, the first one to answer the phone as others where apparently unavailable and overbooked) to get reassured that as I don’t have fever, this is highly possible to be asthma due to anxiety. Ok, I can believe it. I want to believe it, but inside, I already know that I’m on the wrong road.
After a nice prescription of Ventolin that will not be very helpful in the following weeks, I come back home and telework, as the large majority of us do since we are locked-down.
Three days later, I’m free! Free to breathe, energetic enough to do chores at home and relieved that this was only this.
I wake up tired and feeling sick. It is a pain to breathe. It is like I have a bag of sand on my chest, I push to get my thorax up. Each time. Oh my god, what is happening? I get up searching for air until I get a crazy cough that hurts my stomach. This is NOT asthma. I’m cold, so cold even if I’m under this warm cover. I got chills. Weirdly, I don’t feel like I have a flu. This is brand new.
No fever says the thermometer. I gained one Celsius degree but it is still below the temperature we are told to worry about. The doctor said : “call me if you have fever”. I should not call her. I don’t know.
I get up to grab something to eat and the simple 5 meters walk to the kitchen is a marathon. I have short breath.
In a few minutes, this warm sensation invades my nose and becomes burning. I feel like the air is toxic and aggressing my skin inside. Within half an hour, I loose completely the ability to smell and taste anything. At that point, I know. I cannot doubt anymore.
I grab my phone and call the doctor. I tell her everything. She doesn’t say it but she has no doubt anymore either. I’m contaminated.
Hospitals are full, emergency lines are saturated. She’s the only one who can check me and see how bad I deteriorated. She asks me to come at a specific time when nobody will be there and we put in place protective measures.
I can feel the cold of the stethoscope on my back. She moves it faster on my lungs and stops on the left. I can feel her getting agitated. She starts touching my arms and shakes me: « you are really cold » she says. « I told you ». Indeed, my legs, my arms and my nose were like ice. My lower lids where turning purple.
120 Beats per minute. “This is too fast. I think you are starting to lack oxygen. I have to make a call.”
Sitting in her chair, looking at her tipping the number of the emergency line, I can see she spotted things I did not understand. I’m tired. I could fall asleep there. I hate this sensation that I forgot how to breathe. I push to get air in like every breath is a victory.
« How old is she? » says the woman on the phone. « 27 ».
« Is the breathing still acceptable? ». « She can still breathe but the struggle is here »
« Is she turning blue? ». « she is not blue but she shows symptoms ».
« She stays home with Ventolin. If this deteriorates, she can call back ».
At that point, the doctor and I shared a look that said it all. They are sorting patients. They count on the fact that I’m young and that my body will handle it. I also know that if I have to turn blue to call back, it will probably be a bit late for me.
I don’t really remember the days that passed right after that. I slept almost 20 hours a day for three days. I felt underwater. I felt wrecked. I felt unable to stay awake. As that point, I was worried that I would not have the energy to call if I deteriorated. It could not get worse.
My doctor called me 4 times a day. She is the one to wake me up every time. « How is it?». «Stationary ». This would be my response for days. I had to wait for a week to be able to say that I was better. I could stay awake a bit longer and I did not struggle as much to breath. I faced confusion and could not remember basic information.
Three weeks after it all started, she invited me for another check. I was better but my lungs still hurt on the left side and I was tired. So tired. I could feel the short breath in every activity I would do. I could not take something on the ground without getting a crazy heartbeat. My heart was pumping.
After leaving her office, she would let me go back home, telling me to rest. She did not tell me she called the emergency line again to ask for a hospital check. They would ask me one day after to go to the clinic.
Damages in the left lung. This is the result after 4 weeks battling this Coronavirus.
I was not at risk they said. I would not face issues. I was healthy.
Today I still cannot fill my lungs with air as I used to. The only consolation prize is that, maybe, I developed immunity against it.
I never had flu symptoms but I managed to get my lungs in a pretty bad shape. No fever, no sore throat, no headaches. My relatives only got a bad flu that disappeared within 8 days. I was the youngest and the healthiest.
Anyway, stay at home and take care of your loved ones. Cheers.