‘Covid is not like anything I’ve experienced,’ says Cornwall letter writer whose family is infected

‘Please, please do not go to work sick’

The Editor:

For almost a year, our family practiced social distancing. We had no indoor gatherings or family dinners. We wore masks. often even outside. I fought for a safer work environment during Covid. We got the flu shot for the first time; I felt like it was our civic duty to do so. Unfortunately, Covid still made its way into our unit. My family was confirmed Covid positive last week. It was contracted at my husband’s workplace.

I read all over Facebook, and hear people talking, that Covid is a hoax. That it’s really just the flu. I can only say that they feel that way because these people have never had Covid.

Covid is not like influenza; it is not like anything I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t get sick. It may sound silly but I don’t. And if I get a cold or flu, I’m sick for a day or two and it’s gone.

Covid is different. The virus courses through your body attacking randomly in different spots hoping to take root, do damage.

My first real day of illness felt like a Mac truck hit me. I could only lie there. My chest felt heavy, like something heavy had been placed there. I ached and had a hard time getting a breath. Breathing often resulted in coughing. Although we didn’t know at that point it was Covid, the language ‘heavy chest’ certainly rang though my consciousness. This was Covid. This is what they mean by heavy chest. No other time could I explain the same weighted feeling, even when I had pneumonia as a child. This was unique.

The next day I awoke feeling better. The heavy chest seemed to be gone. I thought, wow, I kicked it! But I didn’t. That is the nature of this beast. I still felt crappy and still had some coughing but instead of heavy chest feeling, my abdomen was now being attacked. My entire stomach area was experiencing pain and discomfort. For two days I was back and forth to the washroom. Still achy, still ill everywhere, still a slight cough but adding stomach issues and runny nose.

Day five seemed to be the end of abdominal issues, but then my head became the target. All the nerves in my jaw, nose, and sinuses became tender. The sneezing started, my forehead and temples hurt, and I felt foggy and sore. This was the day I also lost my taste buds. Food lost flavour; everything was dull, bland.

Even day seven, when I thought I was getting better, I got a fever and now feel chest congestion setting in. I am beginning to see the cough come back but more rattly this time. After a week, we are nowhere done.

Out of the five of us, four became very ill. Two of our three teens became so ill we called a paramedic. Two of the kids experienced severe congestion, cough, stomach issues, severe sore throats, dehydration, sneezing, aches, and headaches. One also lost her sense of taste. My husband became so bad he had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. He was prescribed prednisone and a strong inhaler. The prednisone seems to have done the trick, and he is home now, but we were so afraid. Watching him go, we really didn’t know what would happen, and none of us could go. He had to go alone. No visitors. Thank goodness the steroids worked and he could come home. Imagine if this was one of our kids? They too would have been alone. Left to sit alone in a room at the hospital with no visitors. I’m just grateful that so far, kids’ illness is being managed from home. I pray this continues to be the case, but we know at any time we could be making the call for an ambulance for one of them.

We don’t know what the next week, month, or even more will be like. We are still very sick, and I am very worried about the long-term effects some — or all — of us may experience. I’m worried one of us will turn for the worse. I’m worried it will be one of the kids as two are still very ill.

Covid is not like the flu. Covid is dangerous and scary. It attacks your whole body. And kids can get very ill: Two of our three did. Three strong, healthy kids, and two became the sickest they’ve ever been. Please do not treat Covid nonchalantly. It is a serious illness.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us. We are grateful to all our friends and family who have delivered food to us when we were too sick to cook. To those who picked up medication and groceries. To everyone who has offered help and checks in with us daily. To the wonderful nurses who have called us every day and helped us know when it was time to call for an ambulance. And to the kids’ teachers for their understanding.

Be safe. Stay vigilant. Protect your circles. We may not have avoided the virus, but we did contain it. Protocols work. No one outside our unit of five got sick. No one. Stop the spread by continuing to social distance, wear masks, do not gather inside with people outside your circle, and please, please do not go to work sick.


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