Saturday, October 15, 2022

Ten Ways to Be Happy with Post-COVID Syndrome (Even If You're Miserable)

Let’s celebrate my one year anniversary since getting COVID–19! 🎉

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I know people who felt that COVID was a pernicious plot by politicians to put down the populace. I know others who believed that nobody would ever get the virus if they were vaccinated, and anybody not getting vaccinated was trying to kill them. Because of this polarization, I have a hard time talking to people about my experience with Long COVID, or Post-COVID Syndrome as I prefer to call it.

Although I have found sympathetic ears out there, they aren’t the norm. The anti-vaccine folks look down on me for masking up and getting vaccinated, or they shun me for admitting that COVID–19 was far worse than a mild cold. If I acknowledge the dangers of COVID–19 in anyway, I’m a compliant sheep to them. On the other side, the pro-vaccine cheer team pretentiously lecture me on the importance of being vaccinated when I tell them I got COVID. I suppose their reasoning is that I couldn’t have got COVID if I had been vaccinated—even though I was fully vaccinated. Since WHO considers 50% to be high efficacy¹, we know that means around 50% of the test subjects got COVID despite the vaccine. At any rate, I’ve dealt with far more compassionate pitbulls out there. It’s as if the pandemic stripped my neighbors and associates of all their long-trained humanity. Life has become Twitter.

Unfortunately, I got the virus a year ago despite living like a cross between a hermit crab and The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Twenty-two months of avoiding every germ on the planet, and COVID slipped in through the backdoor with the family member of a roommate. It knocked me down hard, and months later I found myself sicker than usual with lots of questions. Why can’t I stay healthy? What happened to my vision? Why is it so hard to think? Why is it excruciatingly painful to give blood now? Why do my wounds take so long to heal? Why do I bruise easily? Why am I so tired all the time? Where did all my stamina go?

Why have I suddenly become so boring‽

Post-COVID Syndrome isn’t just a matter of taking a while to get over COVID. It’s a cornucopia of side effects and symptoms that linger afterwards for months or, in my case, over a year. I have to admit that I’m having a very difficult time adjusting. Last August, I passed out asleep on my bed after blogging. Blogging! I used to bang out a blog in under an hour. Now it takes me four of them. This is due to post exertion malaise, a common side effect of Post-COVID Syndrome, and one that is common to most viral fatigue syndromes.

If all of this sounds discouraging, it is. So I’ve decided to look at the upsides of this delightful virus instead of whinging about it. Since my blog is about overcoming disabilities with attitude and humor, I’m sure this will be easy:

  1. Who needs outdoor exercise when you can get a workout walking to the fridge? Buckets of sweat, a racing heart…it’s almost like running a marathon.
  2. The increase in crippling depression has been a great opportunity to stress test my [coping strategies][fightingdepression]. Just what I needed.
  3. Think of all the TV I get to watch while stuck on the couch. I can’t remember any of it due to the brain fog, but that just means I get to watch it again for the first time!
  4. Speaking of brain fog, I now find myself pining for dealing with just ADHD. At least with ADHD, I got a lot of things done. None of them were on my ToDo list, but I sure was productive comparatively.
  5. Another upside to brain fog is that sometimes I forget that I am depressed. Isn’t that convenient‽ It’s true I also forget to pay my bills, forget which day of the week it is, repeat myself in conversations, and sometimes I forget which day of the week it is, but let’s not focus on the negatives.
  6. I have a keen appreciation of my own mortality now. Before I would cluelessly blunder through life, eternally youthful in mind, but now I am old before my time. I’m positive that sagacity is around the corner.
  7. Thanks to Post-COVID Syndrome, my eyeglasses prescription no longer works. I’ve been limping by in the dark, so to speak, but others with my same condition have had entertaining repeat visits to the optometrist as their vision changes every few months. That’s so awesome. I love optometrists!
  8. I banged my shin at Thanksgiving a month after getting COVID. Here we are a year later, and it still hasn’t completely healed. It’s perfect for Halloween!
  9. I went out to dinner with a friend the other night and came home with a cold. That’s faster than any bout of sickness I ever had before COVID. It’s as if Long COVID has weaponized my immunity system to fail. So exciting!
  10. And the best upside to Post-COVID Syndrome is that when I cancel any one of my dozens of doctor appointments because post exertion malaise or illness has me down for the count, nobody shames me. Thanks, COVID!

As you can see, I can easily come up with reasons to be extremely grateful for this new condition. It’s just non-stop fun over here. So don’t feel sorry for me or worry needlessly. I’m A-OK! I may be sick in bed again, but my brain is feverishly working on even more upsides to Post-COVID Syndrome to share with you next time. Or maybe I just have a fever. With brain fog, I can never remember fully. But that’s no reason to get down, right⸮