Health, Life, Pandemic

Update and End of the COVID-19 Journey

If you read my previous post about my COVID-19 journey, then you will have noted that I wrote that post while I was still sick.

It has been a month since that post and I thought I would write an update to how the rest of the recovery process has been.

May 3 – 11: Intense Chest Pain and CT Scan

Between April 24th (the time I wrote the previous post) until May 2nd, my symptoms mainly consisted of chest pain and coughs. Both hit a plateau with no progression in sight. Chest pain (& related back pain) became more pronounced, which became worrisome as it would fluctuate between a 5 and 8 randomly, on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (unbearable). I have a high tolerance for pain so my 8 could easily have been a 10 for some. There are times I would just stop in my tracks because it felt like my heart would just burst out of my body and truth be told, this is the only time in the entire illness I was actually scared. You just don’t mess with chest/heart pains.

I made another appointment to see my doctor. He suspected it was costochondritis (which is a muscular pain to the chest walls often caused by inflammation and/or violent coughs). I clearly had both. However, I’ve been diagnosed with costochondritis in the past and this just felt different, not to mention the fact that chest pains are what brought me to the doctors in the first place at the beginning of this whole experience. My doctor indicated that it was possible for costochondritis to onset before the actual cough. I don’t understand these medical things enough to have questioned it but I was a bit skeptical, I admit.

He prescribed me steroids to take for 5 days. If the medication did work, it indicated Asthma-related diagnosis; otherwise, I was given a prescription to get a CT scan at the end of the steroid treatment.

I asked my doctor if I could resume my walks (I was missing those immensely) and on my insistence, he gave me the green signals with some caveats: with a mask on, inhaler in tow, and practicing the obvious social distancing. Guidance from the doctor was clear and strict; as long as I stopped when my body was not able to keep up, it was okay. The first (and only) time I went for a walk, I was able to walk for 12 minutes. Unfortunately, though, the side effects of that walk (onset of violent coughs) returned.

The steroids did not help, and on May 11, I went to get a CT scan of my chest

May 13, 2020 – CT Scan Results

The CT scan showed both my lungs and heart were in perfect condition. In fact, there were no signs of the virus in my system anymore! I was CORONAVIRUS FREE! Thank God!

At this point, my doctor attributed the chest pains to definitely be costochondritis. He told me to avoid two weeks of physical exertions (my walks would have to wait, again) & Advil regularly until the pain goes away. This weirded me out slightly, take Advil for 2 weeks every day? Isn’t that a bit insane? But, I was willing to try it. He said if the pain persisted into another two weeks, then I needed to call him.

At this point, I stopped fasting (it was Ramadan) and began the Advil dose 4x a day (every 6 hours).

May 31, 2020: Now

It has not been three weeks since that visit. I took Advil regularly for the first few days and then dwindled my dosage down to twice a day and finally once a day. I even went a few days without the pill and I felt no pain for two days and then on the third day the pain returned. It is important to note that the pain never returned to an “8” and essentially hovered between 3-5. I took Advil as needed and then I stopped taking it altogether because although I would get the chest pains, it was tolerable.

I now go through days with no pain followed by days with some pain. I no longer take Advil and I have resumed walking (slowly).

I want to say I’m 100% but truth be told, I am not, yet.

But I think the rest of this pain is just a matter of time.

Side Note: In recent conversations with two friends, it occurred to me that when I was going through the worst phases of the virus, my body would crave sunlight. It’s a little out of the norm because I am not normally seeking direct sunlight and yet here I was, sick and barely able to move but the body wanted the warmth of the sun so badly. I would crawl over to the sunniest spots in my home and lie there (often falling asleep) under the warmth and comfort of the sum.

The journey with this virus has ended (I hope and think) and as the world begins to reopen, I am keeping a close eye on how things unfold before running off to any of these recently opened venues.

It is unlikely I would get it again, but I want to be careful nonetheless.

Thank you for taking the time to read; I hope it was helpful in some way and I hope and pray that you are all safe.

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