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I’ve had Covid twice. The first time was in February of 2020. The pandemic was still in its infancy, and nobody was doing regular testing in the U.S. if you hadn’t recently been to China. The only known symptoms were fever and a dry cough. I was at work one afternoon and started feeling a slight tightness in my lungs. I have mild asthma, and it felt similar to a mild attack I might have after a bad coughing fit, except I hadn’t been coughing or straining my lungs at all. By the time I went to bed that night, it was getting worse, I was starting to wheeze, the tightness wasn’t going away, and I was getting a little worried. It was still worsening the following morning, but I had no other symptoms at all. No congestion, no sore throat, no fever, nothing. I went to a walk in clinic since it was a Saturday, and they were clueless. No mention of Covid. They gave me a nebulizer treatment and sent me home. It didn’t help at all. Over the next few days, I got worse. Still no other symptoms other than my lungs were tightening up, I was wheezing, and I couldn’t breathe. I was so confused and scared and had no idea what was happening. Eventually, I wound up with a high fever, and I went back to the walk in clinic, since my doctor had no openings to see me. I was diagnosed with pneumonia, but again, no mention of Covid. By this time, I was growing suspicious that it *was* Covid. What else could it be? I did not just randomly get pneumonia out of nowhere, and I had not had a cold or the flu or anything else preceding this illness. I was terribly sick by this time, my lungs sounded like buckets of gravel, and I was literally waking up myself at night with how loud the wheezing and rattling was in my chest. Thankfully, an antibiotic and some strong expectorant started to clear things up, but I was out of work for over a week, and it took probably a month before my lungs felt normal again. The second time was at the end of January 2022, so about 5 weeks ago. My son got it first (we both work in the same hospital). This time was a completely different experience. The first symptom was a scratchy throat and a constant urge to cough or clear my throat. My son got the throat ulcers almost right away; he was in so much pain for days with that. He also got an ulcer on his butt that was terribly painful for him, poor kid. We both had high fevers and dry coughs. I had a lot of stomach upset and diarrhea. Then I got the throat ulcers next, as well as the “Covid tongue” (white/gray coating, it was disgusting), and the worst dry mouth of my life. My son lost his sense of taste and smell, but has since gotten it back. I did not lose mine, but some foods just tasted weird to me. I remember taking a bite of a piece of American cheese and it tasted like provolone to me, lol. Eggs also tasted really weird, I couldn’t tell if they were spoiled or not. My son recovered in about a week, but he’s always been super healthy, with a very strong immune system. I’ve always been more prone to illness, especially anything respiratory. Even when the worst of the Covid symptoms cleared up (after the first week), I developed horrible bronchitis. It hurt to take even a normal little breath, and that was really frightening. I was able to get a telemed appointment with the walk in clinic, using my computer and webcam, and got Prednisone, which took about 3 days to really kick in. I was using my regular inhaler constantly, but it didn’t help at all. Once the bronchitis cleared up, I had a sinus infection, so that was another week of antibiotics and feeling awful. The dry mouth lasted for weeks, it was horrible. The fatigue was also terrible! I could hardly walk from my bed to the living room couch and back. I couldn’t shower on some days, because just trying made me dizzy and I felt like I’d pass out. I had no energy for anything, I couldn’t focus on anything. I’ve had random pains in my chest, and other odd little symptoms here and there. It’s been a very weird, miserable, long illness. I still have some lingering effects after 5 weeks. I still have this nagging little sensation in my upper bronchial area, that I need to cough, even though there’s nothing coming up. My energy levels have not recovered, though I can go to work and to the store and function pretty normally now. I feel worn out very easily. All the coughing and dry mouth/throat ulcers seem to have left me with some kind of lesion on one of my tonsils that is taking a long time to heal. It’s not painful, but it’s annoying. I hope and pray that I keep recovering and don’t have symptoms that keep lingering for months and months. I feel so bad for people who’ve caught this virus and are still struggling long after. God bless us all.

Vicky Fountain