This week’s COVID Catch-up: How the virus affected me

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Carrie Steinweg shares her own battle with COVID-19

COVID Catch-up is a new weekly column featuring Lansing Journal journalist Carrie Steinweg’s personal experience with COVID-19 and things she learned from others who shared their experiences. Subscribe today to make sure you don’t miss any COVID Catch-ups.

By Carrie Steinweg
COVID
Carrie Steinweg (photo provided)

LANSING, Ill. (January 20, 2021) – As we start 2021, there’s probably hardly a human on this planet who hasn’t felt the effects of COVID-19 in some way. You likely either know someone who has had it or you’ve had it yourself. Maybe it has changed the way you work, and maybe you have been completing more of your tasks at home. You might have lost a job because of the pandemic. If you have children, there have been changes in how the school operates. It has turned the heathcare field upside down. It has altered the way we shop. The way we get our entertainment has changed. When we leave the house now, we make sure we have our keys and our wallet, and also a mask. The effects will undoubtedly be felt long after this pandemic is declared “over.”

The Lansing Journal will be including this regular column with COVID-related content as the pandemic lingers on. I’m a regular contributor to the paper, and I’m one of the more than 24 million COVID cases that have been reported in the U.S. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of the 401,000 who have died from COVID complications and I’m still here to write about it. I did have a pretty severe case that entailed a hospital stay with pneumonia, a very long list of common symptoms, and some lingering effects that continue to hang on. In this series I’ll share some of my journey with COVID, talk to others who have been diagnosed, and include new information on the virus as we forge ahead.

COVID packs a punch

For me, it began with a couple days of fatigue followed by an intense headache that forced me to retreat to a dark, quiet bedroom—my eyes covered with a warm rag. I alternated between chills and sweats. Any bit of noise vibrated through my head, which was already throbbing. My stomach churned. I had no appetite.

In the following days, more symptoms developed. I couldn’t taste the few bites that I did eat. I got terribly weak. I vomited. I developed a low-grade fever. I had congestion and sinus pressure. I lost my sense of smell. I had a continuous sore throat and cough. My body ached all over, and I was exhausted. I barely had the energy to lift a cup to my mouth for a sip of water. Every symptom listed on the CDC’s website, I had. In addition, I had ear aches, sore gums, swollen and burning toes, and hair falling out in clumps.

Then I began having trouble breathing. When I lay down in bed, it felt like someone was putting a brick on my chest. That’s when I realized I better go to the hospital.

After coming home from the hospital, I dealt with side effects from medications and other uncomfortable and bothersome related issues.

Recovery and reflection

It’s now about 2 1/2 months since my first symptoms appeared. I’m getting better and better, but it’s been slow. It was at least a month after my hospital release before I could say I felt normal again. That’s how long it took before I could walk across a room without getting winded, and I didn’t feel like my legs would buckle underneath me on the stairs, and I wasn’t having sore throats daily.

My heart goes out to all who have been affected by this virus. It’s no joke. Although some people don’t even realize they have it until testing positive, it can wreak havoc on others. Many people have lost loved ones from complications related to COVID, and unfortunately, there will be more. We can only hope that at this time next year COVID will not be in all the headlines, or making so many people in our circles ill, or dominating our daily conversations.

After I came home from the hospital I started a Facebook page called “COVID-19 Questions.” People there can share their experiences or get feedback from others who have had similar symptoms. It’s not intended to in any way dispense medical advice, but just to provide support from others who have been through it. If you are looking for official information or answers to questions, your most reliable source is cdc.gov, where you’ll find the latest from the Centers for Disease Control.

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