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Health & Fitness

COVID-19 | Was I exposed to this?

I wonder if somehow I was exposed to COVID-19 before it hit the news and literally become this viral thing.

Back in October of 2019 I decided to get the flu shot. I NEVER get one of these things ever however the news outlets kept reporting that it was going to be a bad year and for some reason I felt driven to get one. Because it seems EVERY YEAR I get a bad bought of the flu and knocks me out of work during the month of December in which I miss out on company holiday parties and gatherings. So went down to my local CVS and got one after my workout and then thought nothing of it afterwards.

I worked in Boston, MA within the Financial District. Most times during my lunch hour I would walk all over the tourist trap areas like Downtown Crossing, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Seaport, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston Public Garden (Boston Common), North End and such. Somewhere around the last 2 weeks of January I came down with something that felt like it was NEVER going to leave my body.

I took at sick day from work, in particular on January 24th, figured I could do so because I was not inundated with work and could use a day of rest. Do not think I was running a fever but was extremely tired and lethargic but also had written in my time-off record “pneumonia like symptoms” which scared me after the fact once COVID-19 was blasted all over the news outlets.

Had acute pneumonia years ago so I was aware of what that felt like and how that was treated. Although I could feel fluid in my upper chest area that was moving around when I got up to walk around which lasted for a couple of days.

This thing started innocently yet ever so slowly when it came on and moved downward. First I had a day or two where my head felt a little cloudy as if something was going to come on but was not presenting itself. Then a bit of a dry cough that many state is the initial start of this thing but chalked it up to be allergies, as it is common for me during the winter/spring seasons to have something like that occur. Then maybe a few days later, followed up with a really mild headache that lasted around noon time and into the evening for one day. Thought I was just working too hard on a project that day looking at code or something and my eyes were strained.

Then the start of a juicy head cold and sneezing moved in and was becoming ever present. Something was going through the office that week and thought I was just another lucky one in the bunch of a petri dish of office space that contracted it. Had quite the urge to cough a lot but was able to control and suppress that through some breathing techniques that I am aware of. I have an underlying issue (silent acid reflux, LPR – reflux in the airway) and coughing can aggravate this other issue.

In the news some folks mention that they felt a fever come over them. However for me I either didn’t have it or didn’t recognize it. My eyes were a little glassy at times but I thought most of it was due to the head cold. Although I do remember one evening where I felt a warmth sensation come over me that may have lasted about a half hour or so. Did not think anything of it to even consider taking my temp. Logic side of me thought the bedroom was getting a bit warmer because it is the warmest place in the house and the heat might be on a bit high. Eventually that sensation dissipated by next morning.

So to stop the runny nose and sneezing any other symptoms, I was on DayQuil/NightQuil for about 2 weeks. This has the stuff with acetaminophen that curbed some of my symptoms and probably precursor to any high temps that would come on. During the work week I was constantly colder than usual and found it hard to warm up (I was wearing huge cable knit sweaters), the office space is known to has issues with HVAC which would cause the place to feel like a freezer so another thing I chalked it up to be was the building. Even the portable heater I was using under the desk was becoming useless with the cardigan wrap to cover myself with would just not keep me warm. Can also recount one night trying to go to sleep and having the chills all night long and slightly shaking under an electric blank set to the highest setting. All this this occuring in a couple of days.

Food was another issue now that I look back, I have swallowing issues already, due to LPR. So normally I would eat salads for lunch and found it a little bit tough to eat. Think for a day or two nothing was appetizing or tasteful, so kept it bland and ate oatmeal most mornings and some sort of chicken noodle soup for lunch. Now I can understand the “tasteless” sensation most folks are talking about as a possible symptom. Thought this symptom was just due to the constant runny nose and influx of mucus just making things more difficult for the time being ( …and maybe it just might have been for all I know).

However with this thing hanging around I felt more-so lethargic than ever and body aches were coming on, getting out of bed seemed like an effort. Listened to my body signals toward the end of the week and did not attempt to goto the gym and work out over that weekend. Felt fine walking around the house but just did not have it in me for endurance workouts and did not want to push it. Even just going for a walk into a retail store, would feel so winded from it. Normally with a head cold I would work out because my symptoms were initially above the neck but the sluggishness and achy-ness that settled in, was what did me in but otherwise I felt fine.

Same symptoms persisted during the next following week. Normally if I am in a funk like this I am able to just push myself through it but on Thurs, January 24th, decided to take the day off from work and just sit in bed all day, may have stayed home that Friday as well but cannot recollect. The fluid in my upper chest area was very prominent that day and through the next following weekend (another missed workout session that weekend). I have a pillow wedge that used to sleep on at night to help elevate and keep me from refluxing but one of those evenings for some weird reason I decided to sleep completely upright. I knew with any fluid like feeling in my upper chest area, lying down was not a good idea instinctually.

Often hear another symptom of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. With LPR (silent reflux) that is such a common symptom that occurs for me depending on what food I ate that day. So many symptoms of COVID-19 could be accounted as anything else.

On another note, my workplace has a yearly seminar that is put on and this was held on Jan 29, 2020 at Big Night Live in Boston, MA. Whatever it was that I had, happen to be interacting with a lot of folks that day. This event normally draws over a couple of hundred folks that come to network and watch a conference on subject matter that is trending across their industry. My job that day was to help with registration by handing out passes to attendees, so really hope I did not have this and unknowingly was spreading this.

Eventually this whole thing passed but I did take note to myself that whatever this was lingered a lot longer than a normal cold or flu that I have had in the past.

Part of me thinks I had it and the other half of me says, maybe not? I travel into Boston on a very crowded MBTA redline daily and during my lunch hours I would forage the salad bars at either Roche Brothers in Downtown Crossing or Cafe de Boston in the Financial area. Pretty sure hundreds of hands were touching the same tongs at the salad bar and handles on doors to the retail outlets I would visit often. If I did get it, it would have been through those interactions.

Also I live in close proximity with my parents who are at the age in which they are more susceptible to this disease. So I worry if I was a carrier of this, did they or would they get this? My mother had quite a lot of interactions with me in particular during this time I was sick, so if I had this she would sure have shown signs of this early on since this thing is very contagious.

The other thing, with these symptoms they are so vague. Through various news outlets it was mentioned that it is possible that another variant of the coronavirus family is what most folks may have been exposed to? Was I? If I was exposed to COVID-19 it would ease my mind to know as I might be immune to it and could possibly donate blood for plasma therapy that is being tested now. Apparently I have a rare blood type of being RH- so I wonder if that would be useful? But there is no way of knowing as of now.

Too much time has passed to possibly get tested unless you have symptoms of COVID-19 now. What I wish was available at this point in time is ANTIGEN TESTING like so many others, to feel as though I am safe around others. At this point in time I have to treat this virus like everyone else, as if I never had it and try not to get exposed to it.

This is such a scary time to be living in right now.
Never thought in my lifetime I would be living through a pandemic and one of this scale and magnitude. It has literally disrupted everyone’s live globally and economically.

My hope is that this does not return in the fall/winter as some scientists are predicting. Only hope that if anyone who has had it cannot get it again as that would be a blessing.

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