Last week, I overheard my husband telling someone on the phone that I was ill. Within a couple of hours, that person’s partner, in another continent, messaged to see how I was as they’d heard I wasn’t well. Covid has given the term viral a whole new meaning. I’ve been thinking about the patterns of transmission, contact and links between one individual and those infected, and how they mirror information flows, gossip channels, probably other patterns too.
A couple of weeks ago I tried to go for a run. It was impossible; so many false starts. My body said no. Eventually I found my groove, but when I got home, had a terrible headache. I tried sleeping it off, but instead woke with a fever. A paracetamol helped, and I carried on as normal over the next couple of days. I started to get progressively more tired, normal tasks at work felt insurmountable, and I found it hard to concentrate. Eventually, I took a few days off to recover.
My symptoms came and went in waves. Chills, an irregular cough, mostly in the night, but some days I wouldn’t cough at all. Fever, always with a headache. Eventful, vivid dreams (although I later read that more REM sleep is a product of us sleeping for longer during lockdown). Then, one night, my breathing worsened in the space of an hour and became very shallow. I panicked initially. It wasn’t like anything I’d experienced before. I focused on breathing deeply and inhaling with steam. The steam helped hugely. And then I started to feel better. After seven days I no longer had a fever. The guidelines said I could go out, I celebrated with a walk in the park, but I couldn’t really walk that far. I made banana bread, and chatted to some friends on the phone.
The following days are a bit of a blur. Walking to the kitchen to get water made me lightheaded. My lungs and chest felt heavy and tight. The fever came back. I forced myself to rest, read, stay in bed, sleep. Everytime I felt better I would go and do something and feel wiped out again.
I’m back at work now. I’ve tried to figure out where I might have caught Covid. Was it the person coughing on the tube, someone I came into contact with, a surface I touched, the flight I took. Living in London, it’s impossible to know.