- Stefania Boiano
Covid finds its way in me
After pondering whether to add these couple of posts about Covid to my blog or not (post about my one year of Long Covid), at the end I think I need to, for a few main reasons:
1) it could be useful to somebody in my same situation
3) to tell people who contacted me during this dark time what I’ve been through
2) to remind myself what I did to come out from all this in case something similar happens in the future
4) to honour my body as I’ve discovered it is incredibly clever and strong
5) to be grateful to life as I'm lucky to still be here.
Little preamble: I have a very healthy lifestyle, I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t have preconditions, I’m in my 50s but I feel and look much younger, I do yoga regularly, I like the outdoors in nature, and I follow Ayurveda nutrition. My only issue with my immune system is that it's intolerant and allergic to man-made chemical products of any sort, from medications to food.
That feeling in my throat
22nd of August 2021. In 3 days I'm flying to Sardinia. After all these long months of darkness I can't wait to get new inspirations for my paintings, some natural vitamin D and proper relax under the blue sky. After all, I’m a sort of mediterranean plant, a little basil, in need of water, sunshine and nice weather.
With the vision of a beautiful recharging holiday behind the corner I go to bed happy...
Strange. I feel something behind my neck, like a tiny fishbone stuck between my throat and the back of my neck. Also something like a hair in my throat annoys me. An unbearable headache wakes me up at 5am. My head is cracking open. Never experienced a headache like this before.
The monster, in its Delta version shape, has found its way to attack me.
Fever kicks in: 38°. No much coughing. No throat ache, except the hair and the fishbone still there. Ok, I think I handle it.
Dream trip to Sardinia, cancelled.
All in all, for an entire week, it seems a very bad flu.
I’m allergic to aspirin and a few other medications, so I take only paracetamol in liquid form (my body seems to cope better with medications when liquid)
Lots of homemade ginger, lemon, turmeric with black pepper hot drinks. Food-wise: proteins, minerals and natural vitamins. No sugary stuff, no dairy, and not even pasta or breads.
I joke with some friends “why they say it’s so devastating? This is just a very strong flu”.
The worst is yet to come. The downhill starts from day 7.
I call 111 and they confirm the heavier part is around day 7th-8th… up to days 10th-12th.
Day 8. Oh gosh. I cannot even lift up a glass of water half filled, all my body is so heavy and painful. My arms are strengthless and my chest like under 10 kg of weights.
Breathing is the most demanding exercise.
Every night my bed turns into a salty lake. It’s mission impossible to get changed because of too much pain all over, but slowly I force myself. I usually never sweat. The amount of water I’m losing in the nights is indescribable. My tongue so dry I feel the cracks on its surface, no matter I much water I keep drinking to rehydrate.
Walking from the bedroom to the bathroom (about 5 metres) is like walking for kilometres uphill. I hold myself along the walls leaning forward as I’m not able to walk straight up. I have to move very slowly otherwise I pass out. It takes ages to go the bathroom and back.
The feeling of passing out is constant even when just sitting up on the bed.
Scary and intense pains all over my body.
Sharp cramps in my abdomen, sharp pins and needles in my legs. On my heart. On my chest. Thousands of boiling blades cutting my feet. Drills in my knees. Fire in all my joints. Banging headaches night and day, non stop.
No, there is nothing to joke.
Never had a flu like this.
Hope I will never have another experience like this one.
From day 7 to 12 i’m pretty much all the time in contact with 111.
I weight 6-7 kilograms less.
It’s mid September. I start to develop a yellow solid mucus from my lungs.
The GP doesn’t visit in person, even if I am already negative.
Allergic reaction to Amoxicillin
My GB prescribes me Amoxicillin for cough and mucus.
I beg for X-rays before taking any medication considering my weak conditions and all the weight lost. "No need for X-rays. Just take your Amoxicillin. You'll be fine".
The first capsule is like a bomb explosion. My stomach and tummy swell in 30 minutes like a pregnant woman in her 8th month. It's the next morning, I wake up with a swelled tongue. It doesn’t fit in my mouth. Abdominal cramps night and day.
It’s the weekend, no GP to contact.
I call 111 for a wise suggestion: “drink plenty of water and keep taking Amoxicillin, you’ll be fine”. Fourth day of antibiotics: even my face and eyes are swollen now. Itchy scalp and spots on my back, arms and on the back of my knees.
I stop taking Amoxicillin.
I’m lucky. I’m negative. I can go away from here. I need help.
I need to drag myself on a plane back to my home country.
“Go Stefi, go right now, back to Italy, with all the strengths you have left”
When in danger, your gut knows how to make you listen to it.
I not only need doctors to see me in person rather than virtually as it is happening here,
I need doctors with a holistic approach. I need to be surrounded by my language. I need familiar faces around me. If something bad happens, I’m in peace, I’m at home.
When in danger, your gut knows where to bring you.
With the help of two very dear friends of mine and the support of the hostesses on the plane I land in Milan. It’s the 26th of September 2021.
And my Long Covid is about to start.