There are moments in your life where something is said to you that you never forget and the words change your life forever. For example, my wife saying, “I’m pregnant!”. That was life changing and when Dr. Zonakis called and told me that my lab results for a mole showed melanoma, that was life changing. Or as recent as February 27, the physician assistant at a NextCare Urgent Care telling me that my nasal swab showed I was positive for COVID. Yep that was life changing as well.
During January and February, I officiated high school basketball in eastern and central Arizona. On the last Tuesday of February, I worked in Camp Verde and I believe I may have contacted the virus from an asymptomatic person who had stated throughout our games that he must have had eaten something bad because his stomach was causing “issues”. We worked with masks but in the locker room you let down your guard and I can’t say with certainty that is where I was exposed but that’s my guess. The following Friday, I officiated in Cottonwood and on my drive back to Payson, I called Carolyn and told her that I wasn’t feeling right, “I just felt off.”
Once arriving in Payson, Carolyn and I watched some Netflix before retiring. I was still achy and running a slight fever with an intermittent cough. Carolyn suggested we drive to the closest place for an instant test on Saturday and I made an online appointment for 1:00. The night was filled with night sweats and it became more difficult to urinate. (one of my symptoms) On our journey to NextCare I was feeling very lethargic and my body temperature at urgent care was 103. After testing positive for Covid, I immediately notified my neighbor and my basketball commissioner so they could start the process of contacting those who were in contact with me over the past week not knowing for sure when I was exposed. On our way back to Payson, Carolyn picked up a variety of supplements including zinc, and Vitamins C, D, B.
Now that I am in my 60’s, I was definitely concerned on how this virus was going to impact my life. I should note that I had scheduled my first dose of the vaccine on Sunday the 28th but that just wasn’t meant to be. On Monday, Carolyn returned to Phoenix for work and I stayed under quarantine in Payson with our 15 year old dog Roxy. From Sunday to Friday, I would get out and walk an average of 3.5 miles a day. I was able to continue my daily regimen of making healthy smoothies loaded with super greens and fruits high in antioxidants. I continued to run a low grade fever 99 to 100 that was controlled with acetaminophen. I called my long time family doctor, James Schouten, to see if he had some ideas and he prescribed zithromax Z pack with a methylprednisolone pack of steroids. Not certain how effective it was and In hindsight I wish I had taken the monoclonal antibody treatment that he mentioned as an option, but it went right over my head. The first week included awful night body sweats, fever, mild body aches, the “Covid” cough, and a feeling of fatigue.
I joined Carolyn in Phoenix Friday night, and she had started to develop similar symptoms. She tested positive on Saturday. We were now in quarantine together in our condo. My second week was much worse then my first week. Not only did I continue with my previous stated symptoms, I added a tightness with pains in my chest and the cough worsened, my pulse rate was high, became unable to focus when trying to read plus the fatigue worsened. The fatigue overwhelmed my desire to do anything and my making of the daily smoothie ended because I just couldn’t do it. Even Roxy would run and hide in the closet as my cough scared her to death. Carolyn and I spent the week watching multiple movies and shows on our various entertainment apps. (That part was enjoyable) My outdoor daily walks were now down to less then 2 miles as I lacked motivation and struggled with fatigue.
Week number three for me and number two for Carolyn saw improvement for both of us and Carolyn returned to her home based work with Southwest on Friday. I still had a reoccurring cough and the fever finally abated. I was on the mend but the fatigue issues continued. By Sunday, Carolyn and I returned to some hiking with a walk of over 5.5 miles in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve which felt good to do.
Prior to catching Covid, Carolyn had been training for a half marathon in Utah slated for April 10. Thankfully her recovery was a bit quicker then mine and she returned to running even though the two weeks hindered her training she was determined to get moving. She has not returned to peak form but she is improving and she won’t do as well as she hoped but she will finish.
I continued to improve during my 4th week with more energy and the cough was almost gone. I was thankful that I had never lost my sense of taste and smell during my battle with Covid. Carolyn lost her sense of smell and taste for several days during her first week but it was short lived. My doctor thought I probably had one of the variants of Covid (UK version) due to not losing my senses of taste and smell.
Prior to having Covid, my last illness was March 19 to about March 24, 2020 when I ran a slight fever with the nightly body sweats and just being sick. Who knows what I had then since testing was minimal and I never felt the need to get medical attention. Carolyn also had the same type of symptoms during that time frame. I’m not saying we had Covid, simply pointing out that we had nothing for a year in the way of illness.
Being seven years older then Carolyn, I do believe that age plays a factor in recovery. Carolyn and I (as far as I know) have no underlying conditions that would play a role in the virus symptoms. Overall my health has been excellent and I do believe being active helped us get through it with a good recovery and I am so thankful that we never had to seek out emergency medical help but were able to just quarantine, hunker down, and get through it. During the Covid time, my oxygen levels remained good running from 93 to 97. My pulse levels remained high and are still higher then prior to having Covid.
Those who make light of the coronavirus should be ashamed. I hear and read where people state that it is no worse then the flu and some have even said it’s no worse then a cold. The commonality amongst most of them is they have never had it and their statements are reckless and inappropriate. For me, I never have had a sickness that lasted close to three weeks and left me with residual effects that have lingered on. (Still have bouts of fatigue) Maybe younger folks have less symptoms but I consider Covid dangerous and the real deal. I have friends who are still not fully recovered after several months. I also know many who have not recovered their sense of smell or taste. Both Carolyn and I know those we worked with that died from the disease. We both took it serious prior to catching it and now that we have recovered we still attempt to follow the CDC guidelines. Wearing a mask at stores doesn’t bother me just like wearing shoes and a shirt into a restaurant doesn’t bother me.
Covid had interrupted my life in many ways and I have been on furlough from my hotel job since March 13, 2020. I did referee high school basketball but Covid ended my season abruptly. After notifying Arizona Interscholastic Association, I never heard a word from them on how I might be doing and it goes to show that even if you have worked for them for 30+ years they just don’t care. My oldest daughter, Caitlin, had it last June, my son in law James in January, (Jordyn tested negative like four times even though she had the symptoms and my mother in law Carol caught the Covid while visiting relatives in Florida in January/February. So Covid was not a stranger to us.
Carrying around the burden of not knowing whether you infected somebody is real and I suffered anxiety for awhile. Nobody wants to be the one who passes it on and puts others at risk (there are so many who treat Covid like a hoax, believe themselves to be immune, and don’t have to follow any guidelines so I won’t lose sleep for them). Thankfully it appears that I didn’t pass it on. (Except for Carolyn)
I feel fortunate that during 2020, Carolyn and I were able to have many social distanced adventures out on the road. We wore our masks, avoided crowds, stayed social distanced when possible and still managed to have loads of fun. I have recently been able to return to hiking and my walking distances have slowly increased. My craft beer intake from various breweries has returned. Carolyn, Jordyn, Caitlin, and I are headed to Utah where Carolyn and Jordyn will run in the Vacation Race near Zion. Our adventures continue and they will soon return to my blogging activity. Three plus weeks of Covid is in the books and I am gonna fly now. I ain’t no Rocky but the struggle was real.
Trying hard now
It’s so hard now
Trying hard now
Gettin’ strong now
Coming on, now
Gettin’ strong now
Gonna fly now
Flyin’ high now
Gonna fly, fly, fly