Several days before Christmas, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Every joint in my body ached, my head was pounding, and I was beginning with a nasty cough. An at-home Covid test popped up with the little blue line that we past pregnancy test-takers are familiar with (although, thank GOODNESS there are no long-ass swabs involved in that test!) immediately. After running from this virus for almost 2 years, it caught me.
I quarantined at home, had Christmas with family Zoom-style, and slept as much as a mother is able, while also trying to stay away from her family and retain some semblance of normalcy at the holidays. It took a little longer than the CDC had decided it would to feel better, but eventually, I was well enough to work from home.
The first day “back,” I opened up my laptop and kind of stared at the screen. I logged onto a meeting and tried to take notes. When it was time for me to talk, I opened my mouth and completely blanked on what I was supposed to say. I looked at my notes and realized that they were stilted and confusing. I mumbled something about having trouble with my computer — and couldn’t think of the word “program.”
Like “pregnancy brain” but so much worse and terrifying instead of cute. As the week went on, I waxed and waned with my physical condition, some days feeling more fatigued than others, but this fog didn’t let up at all. The longer it goes on, the more my humiliation turns to frustration and anger. The combination of working and recovering just seemed to put my brain into panic mode, and it started slowing down basic cognitive functions. As I describe something, I find myself searching for words that are very familiar to me, but I am helpless to find them.
I wrote an email to a colleague, and when I received his response, I was irritated. How did he get THAT from what I was trying to say? I then looked below his message to see what I had sent initially. Not only was it confusing, but worse. It was missing critical information he needed to respond to correctly.
Even now, I am relying heavily on my spellcheck to compose this post. I am changing sentences to avoid words that I cannot think of, and my fingers don’t seem to be typing what my brain has told them to.
I shared my frustrations with a few coworkers (most of whom have had covid), and they have assured me that this is common. While that reassures me that there is probably nothing permanently wrong with me, it does not lessen my frustration at this less talked about symptom. And I feel deeply petty for whining about this symptom that is merely an inconvenience while so many others have died from this beast of a disease.
I suppose none of us should be surprised that this virus is throwing many of us another curveball, but it did make me feel better to know that other people have experienced this as well. If you are experiencing this unfortunate side effect, I don’t have any answers as to when it will get better- but I can tell you, you’re not Bologna. I mean, bologna… I mean, ALONE!