What lingers

Ever since I had COVID, shortly before Thanksgiving, I occasionally try to take a breath and instead end up coughing. I’m not too concerned because while it’s definitely annoying, it’s a lingering symptom that apparently a lot of other people have also had, so I could see the direct connection and know that eventually that will go away. However, I’ve been struggling these past few weeks with just an overall inability to think – I have felt like I am losing words when I try to speak them and my brain has felt sluggish. And it wasn’t until my sister said ‘Oh, you have the brain fog’ that it dawned on me that this, too, is also a lingering effect of the disease, and I was so very relieved. Like with the occasional shortness of breath, the brain fog is also a common side effect of the disease, that will also eventually clear up (at least in the majority of cases it seems to), but at least now I have a reason, and that makes all the difference.

The thing that has scared me the most about getting COVID, well, after the first couple months, once they were able to find ways to successfully treat it, is not dying from the disease. Even in the height of the pandemic, the vast majority of people who came down with it didn’t die. What scares me the most is what happens after. A huge percentage of people end up Long COVID – damage to major organs, the sort that is going to cause them huge problems later on in life; ongoing breathing issues that never fully resolve, damage to the heart or kidneys; immune system deficiencies. And every time you get reinfected, your chances of long term problems rises.

I know we will both likely end up fine; the symptoms we have usually clear up after a couple months, and meanwhile we’re back to being extra careful about exposure. We both got Paxlovid, which is supposed to help prevent things from getting worse after the initial infection. But still. So many people out there are still getting sick and so many people are still dying, despite how much the media wants to pretend that it’s gone.

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