1104 What is it like to get CoViD?

What is it like to get CoViD? The New York Times

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‘An Anvil Sitting on My Chest’.

Prelude 1:

Stephen Harmon, a member of the Hillsong megachurch, lost his battle with CoViD in Los Angeles, he was 34. News of his death was announced by Hillsong pastor Brian Houston on Twitter.

Harmon became famous for two tweets:

“I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one.”

“Please pray y’all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator. If you don’t have faith that God can heal me over your stupid ventilator then keep the Hell out of my ICU, there’s no room in here for fear or lack of faith.”

Prelude 2:

Brytney Cobia recently posted on Facebook the following account of her experiences working as a doctor in Birmingham, Alabama:

“I’m admitting young, otherwise healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late. 

"A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honour their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.

“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t.”

From Peter Singer's article in the SMH: 

Why vaccination should be compulsory

Prelude 3: 

from  MamaMia ... MamaMia

“I don’t want AstraZeneca 'cause I might get blood clots and die.”


Let's start with the facts. When experts say the risk of a blood clot from AstraZeneca is rare, they mean four-to-six-people-in-one-million rare. 

That is 0.0005 per cent. 


Australia's national fatality rate from COVID-19 is two and a half per cent with 944 deaths in 37,372 cases. 


By way of comparison we've had three people die in Australia from possible links to AstraZeneca, out of 5.4 million doses. You have to put the risk into perspective. You are far more likely to die from COVID.


In the US, the death rate is 1.8 per cent ... with our particularly high fatality rate attributed to the virus hitting our nursing homes really hard. In the UK, the death rate is also 2.5 per cent. 


“It’s ‘my body - my choice’ not to get a vaccine.”


For the COVID-19 vaccine to be properly effective, we need to achieve ‘herd immunity’ where the majority of our population is protected. 


The argument of “it’s my body - my choice” to take a vaccine, is co-opting the language of pro-choice politics to argue something completely different (i.e. abortions).


Getting a vaccine is about public health. It’s about being a member of society. By not getting it, you’re affecting the wider community who is relying on widespread inoculation to be safe. Vaccines remain our only ticket to getting out of this yo-yo of lockdowns and border closures.

Prelude 4: 

It is said the population of the world will be divided into two groups of people: Those who are vaccinated ... and those who will get sick with CoViD; and while it is true that people who are vaccinated may still get CoViD it is clear that they will get it with much less severe symptoms.


There’s a list of coronavirus symptoms that many can now recite from memory. And then there’s how it actually feels when you have it, and not die but recover. 


Paula Johnson

Pharmaceutical researcher, kept putting off getting the vaccine ... then she ended up in hospital.


“I honest to God thought I walked my last day on this earth ... I could not breathe. I just, all of a sudden, my lungs just didn’t work”.


“I have no comorbidities, nothing, never had a lung problem. Don’t smoke, nothing,” Johnson explained. “And it took my lungs and just … I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s like trying to breathe in and hitting a wall in like a second.”


Her warning came as the highly transmissible delta variant continues to spread across the world. It echoes those delivered this week by other unvaccinated people (who now make up 99.5% of American deaths from COVID-19) who were hospitalized with the disease and are now urging others to take the shot.


Aaron M. Kinchen

Mr. Kinchen, 39, is a hairstylist in film production in Jersey City.


I woke up with a headache that was Top 5 of my life, like someone inside my head was trying to push my eyes out. I got a 100.6-degree fever.


The fever went away, and then I had nausea and a metallic taste in my mouth. I was hungry, and then the taste of food was unappetizing. I put some onions in the Instant Pot to sauté. I put my face in the pot, but I couldn’t smell the onions. I had the runs — that lasted a couple of days.


My partner had a cough and shortness of breath. I would just start sobbing. I was totally freaked out. We got nasal swabs together, and it felt like they took a piece of our brain.

My partner got his results in 10 days. I got mine in 22.


LaToya Henry

Ms. Henry, 43, owns a public relations firm in Lathrup Village, Mich.


It happened so fast. On Monday, I am in the parking lot of my allergist’s office with back pain and a cough that I thought was a sinus infection. On Saturday, I am in an ambulance headed to an emergency room.


Three days later, the doctors placed me in a medically induced coma and put me on a ventilator. I was in the hospital for two weeks.


Everything hurt. Nothing in my body felt like it was working. I felt so beat up, like I had been in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson. I had a fever and chills — one minute my teeth are chattering and the next minute I am sweating like I am in a sauna.


And the heavy, hoarse cough, my God. The cough rattled through my whole body. You know how a car sounds when the engine is sputtering? That is what it sounded like.

My sister kept telling me to fight. All I could do was pray because my body had gone kaput.


David Hammer

Mr. Hammer45, is an investigative reporter in New Orleans.


On Day 10, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. holding a pillow on my chest. I felt like there was an anvil sitting on my chest. Not a pain, not any kind of jabbing — just very heavy.


When I told my wife I had this terrible pressure in my chest, she was like, “Sit up.” She made me some tea, and told me to cough.


I’ve never really had a panic attack before, but I’d never felt anything like this. I started to feel tingling in my fingers and my extremities, and I’m thinking, “This is a heart attack.”

What I was experiencing was not extreme difficulty breathing — it was panic about whether I had extreme difficulty breathing.


The thing that makes this so scary is that it is not linear, and the recovery is not linear.


Ruth Backlund

Ms. Backlund, 72, is a retired French teacher in Anacortes, Wash.


You’re just so paranoid because all these weird symptoms come up that you haven’t read about. There is such a wide range of symptoms that you just keep waiting for the other shoe to fall. You’re always asking yourself, “Is this the virus?”


One of my friends started getting better — and then she ended up dying. Several people started feeling better, and then took a dive. So, you’re never really confident. For at least a couple of weeks, you’re just not, because it could go awry.


I don’t ever want to get this again. It’s a pretty awful feeling. It’s just so weird the way you swear that it’s mutating in your body every day, trying something else.


Mark Backlund

Mr. Backlund, 73, is a psychiatrist in Anacortes, Wash.


It was just a loss of all energy and drive. There was no horizontal surface in my house that I didn’t want to just lay down on all day long.


I didn’t want to do anything. And my brain wasn’t working very well. I was calling it “the corona fog.”


The L.A. Times actually sent a reporter and a photographer to our house and took a photograph of my wife at the piano and me with her singing. And I looked at the picture the next day, and I looked like Skeletor.


I just looked, and I thought, “I’ve got to start taking this seriously.” I had to slap myself in the face and say, “You’ve got to start eating, and you’ve got to start drinking.”


Jared Miller

Mr. Miller27, lives in Brooklyn and is a general manager at a food delivery platform.


It felt like a very long hangover. Smelling something, getting nauseous. The headache. The overall weakness that your body feels, but more severe.


It was chills on a level that I’ve never experienced. Intense shivering. It was very hard to move. I had really intense body aches. It felt like I was in a U.F.C. match and beaten up.

Doing anything other than laying in bed and sleeping was difficult. You had to be in the right position in order for your chest to not hurt. Or you had to be in a certain position in order to be able to take a full, comfortable breath.


It’s like deep inside your chest. You feel it. Something is definitely inside of me, and I’m definitely infected with something.


Clement Chow

Mr. Chow, 38, is an assistant professor of human genetics in Salt Lake City.


Walking made me lose my breath. I was just gasping. It felt like drowning.


I was in the I.C.U. for my whole stay — five days. The scariest part was being alone. My wife dropped me off at the E.R. and then was asked to leave. I didn’t see her or my kids until I was discharged.


While in the I.C.U., I spent nights awake thinking about whether I was going to die. The first night they told me that they might have to intubate me, and I spent that whole night wondering whether I would ever see my family again.


The physical pain was mostly taken care of by drugs and oxygen. But the loneliness was real. The staff, too — everyone was in P.P.E., so the interactions were very impersonal. I still don’t know what any of the staff look like.


I did have great staff. They are amazing. Just didn’t realize that seeing people’s faces was so important to feeling safe.


Lauren Taylor

Ms. Taylor, 71, is a geriatric social worker in New York.


My chest was tight, I was feverish, my appetite was going away and I had digestive issues. I lost seven pounds. I called my doctor, and she said I needed to go to a hospital.


They put me in an isolation room, took my vitals, swabs and did a chest X-ray. It came back showing multifocal pneumonia. An E.R. doc said to me: “You can still breathe on your own. You’re better off going home. If something changes, let me know, but we are about to run out of equipment in six days.”


My fever broke two weeks after the emergency room visit. There were a couple of days when I thought, “I’m not going to make it — this is taking over my body.”


I’m at the beginning of a very long recovery. Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling like I had difficulty breathing. The doctor said it was a scare, not a relapse.


David Lat

Mr. Lat, 44, is a legal journalist and recruiter in New York.


I was barely able to walk or even stand, perhaps from not getting enough oxygen. But luckily, I had enough strength to make it to my nearest emergency room, which is where I belonged.


The intubation itself felt like a scene out of “ER” or “Chicago Hope,” one of controlled intensity. Attached to the ventilator, I slept for the next six days or so. I was later told that I woke up at various points, sometimes to try and remove the breathing tube or to write down questions. But I remember nothing of this.


When I woke up, I felt like Rip Van Winkle. It was as if those six days never happened. In my first conversation with my husband after extubation, I returned to the exact same topic we had been discussing right before I was intubated: whether he could bring a duffel bag of clothes and books to the hospital.


Kadambari Wade

Ms. Wade, 44, lives in Chandler, Ariz., and works at a security and surveillance company.


I’ve never felt so bizarre. My body felt like it was not my own. I had crazy back pain. Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t move my shoulders.


I had a raw, dry cough, and the fevers spiked in the night. I have a C-section scar from 10 years ago that hurt again because I was coughing so much.


Everything I did left me feeling a little winded, and just the simple act of getting up and having a shower was tiring.


I had no appetite. I had to force myself to eat. I lost nine pounds.


The only thing I can tell anyone else, especially people who don’t know what they have and who are wondering, is: “If you can get up and walk a little bit, walk two steps more. Just do whatever you can to keep moving.”


Thoka Maer

Ms. Maer, 35, illustrator, based in New York.


It’s not like a common cold, where you feel a sore throat and sniffles. It just goes straight into your lungs, and you feel other symptoms coming from it.


My stomach pain was so bad, it felt like I had appendicitis. I also had a bad cough, shortness of breath and a heavy feeling in my lungs. I slept 19 hours a day, and it still didn’t feel like enough.


When I started to recover, I lost my sense of smell and taste. It happened in one day.

The entire recovery process is two steps forward, one step back. You keep wondering the whole time, “Is this it?”


When it was over, I woke up feeling like a weight let go of me. It feels like I got a get-out-of-jail-free card now that I can move around outside a little more freely.