COVID: The Road of a Long Hauler…Part 1

Join Areia Cobb every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month as she shares her road to recovery from COVID-19 and how being a COVID-19 Long Hauler is affecting every aspect of her life; as a wife, mother of two active boys and a working professional. It’s our hope that these journal entries provide hope, inspiration and information as you or your loved one travels your COVID-19 long haul.

How it Started

When I was a kid, the 13th falling on a Friday was a big deal thanks to the movie franchise, Friday the 13th! Being a teacher, I’ll always remember the Friday the 13th that changed school as I had always known it, March 13, 2020. For a couple of months prior, we had been hearing about the spread of a new virus that was running rampant across many countries, COVID-19. And now, it was hitting home.  That morning, we were notified that schools were being shut down for in-person learning. Teacher’s frantically worked with their teams to pull together physical and digital resources to prepare students for 100% virtual learning to start the coming Monday. Websites were set up, packets were made and login cards were created in preparation for how we would end up finishing the school year. 

Photo credit Google Images

The months that followed seemed unreal. Hospitals were overflowing with people sick from this virus and death rates were rising daily. Businesses, churches and community hot spots were closing. Our state began shutting down. For the businesses that remained open, mask mandates were put in place and grocery stores were running out of disinfectant wipes, Lysol spray and toilet paper. It got so bad that I had to ask my brother to mail us toilet paper. It was like a scene from a scary movie. Nevertheless, many still didn’t believe the virus was real and others that did assumed it would soon vanish.  But it didn’t and the 2020-2021 school year kicked off in the same manner that the previous school year ended, virtually. Throughout this time, my family and I had been doing our part to stay protected and protect others. We mainly stayed around our house and when we did leave, we masked up, used hand sanitizer and washed our hands often. When school restarted, I didn’t have students in my class until October 5, 2020, although I had been in the building since July 27th. The numbers started low but increased monthly as more parents began sending their children back. 

I too had to send my children back face-to-face because my husband had to also return to the classroom.  My family of four understood the importance of keeping our masks on all day and washing our hands frequently.  Once home, we stripped down and hit the showers. We really were trying our best to stay safe. October and November passed, and we were fine. Whew… it was like making it to the next level on Super Mario Bro’s. Then, December hit and I heard the music that would come on when Mario missed a jump.… The night of Monday, December 7th my youngest said he didn’t feel well.  Because of the time in which we were living, I panicked on the inside while trying to look calm for him. I was more nervous because his teacher had been absent. We were told she didn’t feel well. We never received anything more than that. He didn’t have a fever but said his throat was a little sore, so I made him a cup of tea with oregano and honey.  Before he finished the cup, he said he was feeling better. The next morning, he still felt fine, so we took him to school. My husband even checked his temperature before letting him out of the car to triple-check. He was good. No call from school all day; he was good. Right? 

Photo credit Google Images

Wrong! That night, he uttered those dreadful words again, “Mommy, I just don’t feel good.” After he showered, I took his temp. It was low, but he had a fever. I gave him Tylenol and he curled up next to me in bed and was fast asleep. Within an hour, I was changing his shirt because it was soaked. His fever had spiked!  I called his pediatrician to request a test and was told to take him to the doctor’s office the next morning.  There were drive-thru tests for those older than 8, but since he was 7, we had to go inside. In the meantime, we continued rotating Tylenol and Motrin every four hours to manage his fever. The next day, the nurse explained the test and asked him to sit on my lap as she performed it. He took it like a champ, and we were on our way. Now we wait… Around 1:15 p.m. that same day, his fever broke.  By the time his doctor called a few hours later to confirm his positive test result, he was already feeling great. Praise the Lord!  I on the other hand was feeling horrible. My throat was sore, my voice was hoarse, and I just didn’t feel well. I scheduled a video visit for myself and the next morning, December 11, 2020, drove myself to take a drive-thru COVID-19 test. By this time, I knew I had it but was adamant about taking the test. It was important to me that my school knew that I was no longer just quarantining due to close contact, but due to being positive. In my opinion, the super secretness about positive cases only adds to the spread.

And So, It Begins

After being tested, it was all I could do just to make it home and crawl into the room I would end up quarantining in for the next three weeks. My voice was worse, and I had an awful migraine. I couldn’t hold down liquids or solids and became very weak. I cannot appreciate my husband enough for being at my beck-in-text, switching out trash bags and carrying me to the restroom. Amidst all of this, I received an update from my doctor’s office confirming what I already knew, my test was positive. Around 2:30a.m. I had a moment of relief and was able to keep down my migraine meds. By the time I awoke Saturday, I was headache-free. However, my body was so tired and weak that I slept most of the day.  By Sunday, my voice was barely above a whisper and my body ached.  This went on for the next couple of days and around day four, my body aches had subsided, but still no voice. 

Photo credit Google Images

I remembered hearing that you should move around as much as possible, so I got in my reps by slowly walking around the bed.  By week two, I put on a mask and ventured downstairs. I was feeling pretty good until I wasn’t. Without notice, I felt like I had been hit by a Mack Truck! Quickly grabbing onto the counter, I told my husband that I needed help. My body was so weak that he had to carry me back upstairs. Over the next week, neither my voice nor my strength had returned, and I had to accept that although I was beyond the recommended quarantining period, my body was still not well.  Merry Christmas to Me! My chest x-ray looked good, yet I ended up taking two rounds of steroids and a pill to help with my cough. I have asthma and had also been using my nebulizer to take breathing treatments against instruction.  The doctor said that using my nebulizer could cause the virus to spread in my house, but I did not want to go to the hospital. Instead, I closed myself into a bathroom that wasn’t being used, turned on the shower and took a treatment as often as I needed to. I would stay in the bathroom until I had enough strength to make it out of the room and text my husband to help me make it back upstairs. This became our regimen until I was strong enough to return to work.

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Join Areia Cobb every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month as she shares her road to recovery from COVID-19 and how being a COVID-19 Long Hauler is affecting every aspect of her life; as a wife, mother of two active boys and a working professional.  It’s our hope that these journal entries provide hope, inspiration and information as you or your loved one travels your COVID-19 long haul.   

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