Kelly Johnston, FNTP, RWP
Encountering Novel Coronavirus, aka The Great Masquerader
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
I’ve been thinking whether or to what extent that I want to share my recent encounter with the novel coronavirus. It still seems surreal to see that in writing, but yes, after a puzzling journey and a positive test, I decided that there are a few factors in my case that could possibly benefit others.
I have recuperated and have been free to join the human race since Wednesday, July 29, although I’ve only ventured out twice and haven’t been indoors in any public space as of yet. While logic tells me that I'm probably far more protected at this moment than I ever have been, this recent struggle is just too fresh for me to entertain hopping back out there just yet. I'm not sure if this is a common sentiment or if it's just my way of processing.
My primary takeaway is that this illness can masquerade as something else. My first symptoms were body aches, low grade fever, and headache. This quickly turned to classic symptoms of UTI along with higher fever as the days went on. My doctor recommended a covid test, but when the UTI symptoms began, she had me tested for that instead and we put the covid test aside for the moment. Results were inconclusive, but there were signs that often point to infection, so a culture was done.
I was so sure we'd hit on the culprit of my misery. Forty-eight hours later and after the weekend, I was very surprised that the culture was negative, ruling out UTI after all.
Next stop was the aforementioned covid test, which came back positive.
Wrapping my brain around that took some effort. By the time I was tested, I was feeling better. By the time the results came in, I was considered recovered according to the CDC criteria and this was confirmed by my doctor and the county. I have since heard of others who also had these UTI symptoms with covid. Before it happened to me, I hadn’t read or seen anything about this, but apparently it can be part of the picture for some. Thankfully, I had no issue with shortness of breath, no loss of taste or smell, no digestive issues other than feeling queasy with the smell of food cooking, and nothing that I would characterize as a covid cough. The worst of it was five days of climbing fever which topped out at 103, the body aches, night sweats, and headache. It felt like whole body inflammation with a side of brain-on-fire. I’ve been free of fever since day 7 and feeling better each day since then. I still hit a wall and get the overwhelming need to lie down and doze several times a day, which is certainly not my usual. Sleep was hard to come by during the worst of it, and it sure does feel great to sleep soundly again.
I have no idea how this happened, as I’ve been as careful as anyone, with masking, distancing, hand washing/sanitizing, staying in, even still wiping down my groceries - a habit I wish I'd never started as I've gotten rather used to the squeaky-cleanliness. My husband is fine and is nearing the end of his quarantine, and just received word that his test was negative. Thank you, Jesus. None of my other contacts, which were few, have been sick. It’s a mystery and one that I just have to accept, because I’m sure I’ll never figure it out. I am beyond grateful that everyone else is good at this point.
I have a few recommendations for those yet unscathed by covid.
Should this bugger visit your home, don’t despair, thinking it will definitely infect everyone in the household. Distance properly at the first inkling that something is amiss. My husband slept in the other room from the first day I felt truly “off” and we began using separate bathrooms and staying apart, just in case. I'm going public to say that covid can look like any number of things, so if you become ill, don’t panic, but do leave room for the fact that it could be covid and be mindful while it’s being figured out.
Give some serious thought and take some action toward the best self-care you can manage. Take those baby steps toward better health that you’ve been putting off - you know the ones. I’ll put it to you the way our youngest son did: “I guess all this obsessing about health this past decade really paid off for you!” Obsessing about health, in this case, equals having a fascination that turned into an education which I've applied to my own life and to a nutrition/wellness practice. Well, son, surely it hasn’t hurt. We can't really know the extent of the role that diet, lifestyle and immune system support played in recovering from the virus in fairly short order, but I imagine they did to some degree. Addressing underlying conditions seems to be paramount in avoiding the most devastating of effects.
Here are my final thoughts, which do reveal my spiritual perspective.
Our Great Physician created our bodies with an innate intelligence to heal when we remove stressors and support healthy body function in any number of ways. Even when attacked by a stealthy invader, our bodies have mechanisms in place to fight. This is why we have such miserable symptoms; they are evidence of the body’s immune system doing its thing.
Certainly this virus has a wide margin in how it affects each individual. In any case, this is a mindset I feel strongly about: Determine to not succumb to fear, determine to cheer on your body’s efforts to clear it, and choose to relax into the palm of the hand of the One who made you and knows you intimately and knows the number of your days before the foundation of the world. God knows. If you’re a believer, Jesus is walking through it with you. Nothing reaches us that hasn’t come through His fingers first.
Having walked through an encounter with the novel coronavirus, my heart is much more attuned to those who are currently dealing with it. I pray my guts out for people I know who are still fighting this, both at home and in the hospital, for God hears us and He is at work. Keep the faith! At this time, when what we can do to physically support one another is limited, prayer, as always, is of utmost importance. That said, a home-cooked meal dropped off on our porch at just the right time did wonders for our morale and appetites. It felt like the warm hugs we've all been missing since distancing became a way of life, and it took one decision off our plates - quite literally! Anything that helps relieve decision fatigue in this new world we're living in is happily accepted, especially when in the throes of illness.
Let’s keep doing what we can to turn this around in our communities; numbers are beginning to come down in my area, which has been one of the nation’s recent hot spots. Let's not grow weary in our diligence.
I will be looking into donating my plasma as this may be one concrete way I can potentially help someone who is dangerously ill. There can be purpose in any experience, and beauty exchanged for ashes. What better way to make some sense of something that has created more questions than answers and to give back when so much has been taken away from us. If I qualify, that will be a story for another day, and one I will be most happy to share.