In which I suspect I was infected

Running to Stand Still

I am, in general, healthy as a horse. I used to get a sinus infection once every two or three months because I had a genetically-cursed nasal interior, but I had a major nose job last year and haven’t gotten a sinus infection since. I run and work out and lug a couple of very large children around on my back on the daily.

Before my surgery I had to get an EKG and the doctor said my heart was absurdly strong. I also had to do some weird breathing test and she said that there was no evidence at all that I’d smoked like a chimney for most of my teens and twenties because my lungs were incredibly healthy. That was at the beginning of October.

In early March I got rocked by a brutal flu.

In early March I got rocked by a brutal flu. It wasn’t a typical flu, and not just because it lasted 12+ days. I ran a low-grade fever constantly that would spike while I (fitfully) slept to the point where I’d wake up and the bed would be soaked with sweat. I had the typical flu aches and pains, but also terrible headaches that felt like I was wearing a crown of thorns. And very, very, very atypical for me: I was lethargic and couldn’t muster up the motivation to even check my email, much less work on any projects. (After my rhinoplasty I was hopped up on the good Vicodin and couldn’t breathe for the massive tubes in my face and yet still I was able to stay on top of all my work.)

After the first week I managed to knock the persistent fever down with Tylenol and get back to normal, but the nights were still rotten and feverish and I just felt … blah.

On March 18th – after three or four days of starting to feel better – I went on a 5-mile run. About halfway through my route I began to feel like I couldn’t take a full breath; but it felt like my diaphragm wasn’t working right. I never felt like there was an issue with my lungs at all. When I got home I felt like I’d finished a marathon. I could barely breathe and my whole body felt like overcooked penne. My wife convinced me to go to an Advent Urgent Care because we were convinced I had “the kah-vid” (as my son calls it) and Advent was advertising that they finally had tests available and drive-through service.

I drove to the clinic and saw they weren’t doing any sort of drive-through anything. I walked through the front door and saw that they had removed all the Christian promotional materials, which was interesting. The nurse at the counter – who wasn’t wearing a mask – gave me a clipboard and a pen (from a cup of pens that everyone else had been using) and had me answer some questions. I told her I thought I might have coronavirus and she said the doctor would talk to me about it. I was not given a mask. I paid my $75 co-pay and waited my turn. (This was a day or two before Trump said nobody would have to pay for any coronavirus testing.)

I asked the nurse about the missing Bibles and religious pamphlets and she said they’d been removed to prevent the spread of germs.

After a few minutes I got to see a doctor. She wasn’t wearing a mask. She said I probably had the flu and said she’d test me for that, but since I didn’t know anyone personally that had been diagnosed with COVID-19 she was not going to be able to test me for that. She did say she wanted me to get a chest X-ray based on her listening to me breathing with a stethoscope. A different nurse (not wearing a mask) swabbed the inside of my nose for a standard flu test and then walked me down the hall for my chest X-rays.

I thought it was a little unsanitary that I was told to stick my face pretty damn close to a wall that didn’t particularly look like it had been thoroughly cleaned after anyone else had been that close to it. I got zapped with radiation and then taken back to the room to wait for the doctor.

I was told that I did not have the flu.

Maybe ten minutes later she returned and said I didn’t have the flu. I was a little surprised that they had gotten the results that quickly, but didn’t give it much thought. But she then told me that I did have “walking pneumonia”. She said it wasn’t likely that I’d just run 5 miles recently – as if I’d lie about that? – so I showed her my Apple Watch Nike Running app to prove it. She told me that I shouldn’t have gone running with pneumonia and I told her that I had no idea I had pneumonia since I’m 46 years old and as far as I know have NEVER had pneumonia in my life.

drugsShe gave me a prescription for an inhaler, told me to keep up the Tylenol, mix it up by occasionally taking 800mg of ibuprofen instead, and told me that if I didn’t feel better in a few days to go to my regular doctor. (Even with insurance the inhaler cost me $60 at CVS.)

It took a few more days, but I did start to feel better and think I am fine now.

But I am convinced that I did have “the kah-vid” in early March and that the only reason I can’t prove it is because there were no tests available in my area at the time.

I’ll throw in the fact that both my sons (4 & 9) got fevers around the same time and my wife also had a 10-day flu that preceded mine and overlapped it by a few days.

Now I’m a little concerned that ever since that mystery flu, I haven’t been able to run as fast. I’m worried that the reason is because my lungs aren’t working as well as they were prior to that flu, and it’s infuriating that the current administration in this country is so buffoonishly incompetent.

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What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

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