The Last COVID Update

I decided to repost, but with some order. The last update will be at the end. It’s weird to have it at the end because it’s not quite done. For those of you who don’t think this disease was created, ask yourselves this: Isn’t this on brand for Communist China? Also, I get that many of you loathed Trump, but just because he said something, doesn’t make it false. If he said John Wayne Gacey was a serial killer, you wouldn’t have John be the Clown at your birthday party just to spite him, would you? Some of you might feel of two minds about mask wearing- that’s fine. I don’t judge that, but this guy didn’t even cover his mouth when he sneezed. Let’s all agree that’s nasty and move on. Safe to say that my prior entries were more sanguine than they should have been, but I just couldn’t imagine being beaten by anything. Start from the First entry or skip to the end, I won’t judge. Just kidding, of course I’ll judge; I love to judge.

First Entry – Don’t say your plans out loud.

For those of you who follow my Twitter unmuted, you know that I got COVID-19 at the beginning of this year. I was visiting my mother and an unmasked man entered the small gym and started sneezing everywhere. At one point, I could see the the sneeze mist and there was nowhere to go. Words were exchanged and a few days later I was notified he was positive and then I found out I was positive. Mine was a “mild case,” but I will describe it for you here …. right now.

Post-exposure, I went from my normal amazing, handsome self to a handsome, tired self. I just felt rundown. Then, like a speaker blew out, my sense of smell and taste were gone. Within hours, my fever went to 103, but I felt cold from the inside. It was as though dry ice was put inside of me. I was wearing long johns, a winter coat, and under 8 blankets and my teeth were still chattering.

It was as though dry ice was put inside of me.

When my fever would break, I would be drenched in sweat like I had just played in my High School homecoming game. I don’t know if I tweeted then or what I said out loud; so, if we got engaged, it will be awkwaaaaaard.

Highly Accurate Dramatization:

There were lucid moments and I could feel my lungs being attacked, chest tightening, head searing with spiderweb-like migraines, and my joints felt like they were trying to see the light of day. I kept thinking nature had help; of course, when I wasn’t having explosive diarrhea or a dry cough that would barely let in air, I would loudly curse the commie scum that brought this plague upon us and then more diarrhea. COVID is very diarrhea forward.

Sidenote: The contact tracers were all over me like a Men’s Warehouse suit from Jumpstreet. When the symptoms ended, they gave me my release from quarantine date.

For the last month, I have been dealing with Post-COVID symptoms and they suuuuuuck. In many ways, COVID is like two illnesses: your first active symptoms and then the chronic Post-COVID symptoms. I got chills, had cognitive issues, and had to pause my GI Bill. There was just no way to study complex math and physics while dealing with Post-COVID. In fact, I’ve had to review math concepts that were rote for me. COVID breaks the blood brain barrier and causes a form of Encephalitis, messing your memory and cognition- some cases are severe and it causes a form of MS. In a way, COVID squished some my memories out of my mind and I’ll never know which ones.

On a positive side, I am getting a bit of my sense of taste back and was able to taste my favorite treat today: Black Licorice. Yep, that’s my favorite – on purpose!

I anticipate recovering fully in another 6 weeks. Cheers!

Second Entry – The Long Haul

I recently went to the VA and was diagnosed with both Severe COVID and Severe Post-COVID. I was correct that I had developed a form of encephalitis, explaining my memory lapses, depression, fatigue, and executive functioning difficulties. The Doctor had a tough-determined-cowboy attitude- He had seen COVID cases from the ER to the ICU for 14 months straight; I liked him immediately. There was light admonishment that I did not go to the VA earlier; apparently, I should’ve been in the ICU during my worst symptoms.

He is confident that my respiratory issues are treatable, but my cognitive issues are anyone’s guess with severe Post-COVID. It could even be permanent with all of the lifelong flare-ups. What got to me the most was when I saw one of my old math tests that I got 100% on and I couldn’t remember taking it or how to do the problems. I’m not sure what other memories are gone. It’s like being born blind; I don’t know what I missed. I was able to understand the concepts after a lengthy review, but that took longer for me than before. The Doc described that the action of the maskless-man who sneezed on me as an “Assault”. I agreed. It has been continually difficult to forgive this man who did this to me, but I have to do it. To move on, I re-read all of my old posts for this site and it was like it was the first time that I read them. My review of me: I’m pretty good at this and I would describe Case Wright’s prose as charmingly sardonic with an obvious manliness. I’d recommend him.

Yes, I refuse to lose my sense of humor. It reminds me of a decorated Marine I met who was at Iwo. He had terminal cancer and described himself as a participant in his cancer. I am a participant in my COVID and I do not believe it is leaving anytime soon. It will be with me for a long time and I will continue to live my life. There are obvious challenges now. In the near term, I will find out if my COVID did permanent damage to my heart and lungs. Of course, if I’m correct that there is damage, this will mean a diminished lifespan, but it couldn’t be any worse than the damage I was doing when I was trying to pay the daily light bills at Makers Mark. My hope is that my memories will return. I don’t mind a shorter life, but I want to get back what I lived through and achieved.

Last Entry – Unfinished Business

I was laying in bed with the seventh excruciating chest pain of the day. The pain radiated down my left-arm to my fingertips. The next chest pain hit and I told God, if you’re gonna do it, do it, but I have unfinished business. I was trying to watch math videos without having tears in my eyes because my daughter’s were scared enough for a lifetime. Then, my girls and I watched this:

The next chest pain hit and I told God, if you’re gonna do it, do it, but I have unfinished business.

I had been scheduled for the vaccine and had it, but the improvements were wearing off. My shortness of breath and memory issues were replaced by something much worse: chest pain. Everyday a larger and larger invisible person was sitting on my chest, squishing the pain down my arm until it felt like it would burst.

I hadn’t been able to study math at my kitchen table for days and had become completely bedridden. I started calling old friends where there was a falling out. Judaism calls it atonement, but I just wanted to forgive my trespasses and those who trespassed against me. I just didn’t know. The VA sent me a Living Will. But, I wasn’t done yet. I forced myself to move a little each day. I had a lot of time to read about my disease. I learned a lot, more than most docs.

The VA agreed that my only remedy was to continue slowly ramping up physical therapy for my heart. Slow, just slow. I used my Fitbit to monitor my heart and keep it from going above 140. Ten minutes on the elliptical….then slow and break. If my heart started hurting, I would sit on the machine. My life has changed so much in the last 3+ months. The crazy thing was that I was still ripped from years of working out. I’d be the only dead guy from a Myocardial Infarction with abs and arm divots.

The crazy thing was that I was still ripped from years of working out. I’d be the only dead guy from a Myocardial Infarction with abs and arm divots.
Arm Divots

I’m not saying I’m The Rock, but I’m in as good a shape as a man my age can be and yet my heart ached like a Marlboro pack a day man and McDonald’s Addict. I knew things reached their nadir when I dreamt that I was in 1990s in Germany. I was working on Free Body Diagrams and I was conversing in German. Everything was so real. I had a different name and face, but still me. I was 21 with curly hair. The girl next to me was named Kat and she told me that we were going to have a baby. It was too real. I genuinely believe that I tuned into another Case and in another time and place. I think when we die, we just shift. Somehow, I tuned into another frequency that I wasn’t supposed to know. When I woke, it took me 3 hours to realize where I was. Everyday, I just kept going.

Some things have improved, but the chest pains return and will likely remain. I keep going. The long haul doesn’t have a lot of great endings, but I’ve made it this far. The VA is honest that there’s very little that can be done. I’m in the realm of 17th century medicine and on my own. I’m pretty sure that many haven’t made it this far that have my COVID varietal, but all I can do is keep going, until there’s no more road to walk. I don’t think the Circle will be broken; I have unfinished business.

Music Video of the Day: Bikini Girls With Machine Guns by The Cramps (1990, directed by Rocky Schenck)

This song, which appeared on Stay Sick!, would become The Cramps’s only top 40 hit in the UK. The video starts with a stand-in for Criswell and then goes on to celebrate the band’s classic psychobilly sound. I remember that this video was viewed on an episode of Beavis and Butthead and the boys really liked it, for obvious reasons.

Director Rocky Schenck has over 100 music videos to his name. He’s worked from everyone from Adele to Alice in Chains to Joni Mitchell. The Texas-born Schenck is also an acclaimed photographer. This is from his biography on the imdb (written by John Adams): “He has collaborated with personalities ranging from Adele, Francis Bean Cobain, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Ray Bradbury, Ellen DeGeneres, Baz Luhrmann, Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Annie Lennox, T-Bone Burnett, Joni Mitchell, The Cramps , Tom Cruise, Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Josh Duhamel, Diana Krall, Brian Wilson, Donna Summer, Nicole Kidman, Gary Coleman, k.d. lang, Jerry Lee Lewis, Natalie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Neil Diamond, Larry Fishburn, Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, Alice in Chains, etc.” That’s quite a list!