This week’s COVID Catch-up: Two categories of symptoms (Part 1)

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Carrie Steinweg shares about the first of two categories of COVID symptoms she experienced

COVID Catch-up is a 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. Last week’s column is available here.

By Carrie Steinweg
COVID
Carrie Steinweg (photo provided)

LANSING, Ill. (February 24, 2021) – When I had COVID-19 last fall, I had a number of symptoms. At some point I had every one of the symptoms listed on the CDC’s website. My health was also affected in other ways by the virus beyond what was on the CDC’s official list. Some are what I have called secondary symptoms—things that were likely happening as a result of the other symptoms or as side effects to medications that I was prescribed. I remember making a list of every one of the symptoms and other secondary symptoms I had experienced and had more than 50 items listed. It was disconcerting to have so many abnormal things happening all at once or over a few weeks’ time.

Some symptoms were mild. For instance, I never got a high fever. My temperature seemed to hover right around 100 for several days. However, my cough and sore throat were really bad. The cough would keep me from sleeping, and the sore throat would keep me from eating and drinking as much as I should have.

I also kind of divided all my symptoms up into two categories—before the hospital stay and after. Some occurred early on and throughout the first 12 to 14 or so days. Others didn’t occur until after I had been in the hospital.

Symptoms before the hospital visit

My first symptom was fatigue, followed by one of the worst headaches I’ve had. With the headache came a sensitivity to light and sound. I could barely stand to be outside of my bedroom where it was dark and quiet. Soon the appetite was gone and there was vomiting and diarrhea. Along with the fever came alternating chills and hot flashes. I was congested and soon couldn’t taste or smell. My body was sore and weak, and I just couldn’t function at all. I had a hard time even walking straight and had a difficult time opening my eyes to see what was in front of me because it was painful to look at any light. I was also getting lightheaded when I’d try to walk.

All of these things put together made me pretty sure that I had COVID-19. But by the time I could get a referral from my doctor to get tested, I felt too bad to even leave the house for a test. Eventually, two symptoms really caught my attention and prompted by trip to the ER—trouble breathing (even when I was sitting still) and a feeling of pressure on my chest when I was lying down.

A lot of the things I experienced after coming home from the hospital may not seem to go along with COVID if you look at the CDC’s website, but in talking to others in person and online, I’ve found others who also went through the same things or have read about similar cases on medical or hospital websites. I’ll share those in the next COVID Catch-up.

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