“WELCOME TO THE END OF 2020 – THE YEAR THAT WAS. YOU MAY EXPERIENCE SOME LINGERING ILL EFFECTS”.
I’m certain this is something we’ve all already figured out for ourselves. 2020 will soon go down in the history books, and not in a good way. We’ve had the ongoing COVID pandemic, a fraught election season in the U.S., a contentious (and contested!) U.S. Presidential election, a stalled Brexit which is going to kick both the U.K. and the EU in their collective groins, high unemployment and low GDP secondary to the last ten (10!) months of pandemic (mis)management, families on the verge of eviction, foreclosure, bankruptcy as we head into the Holiday Season, … I mean, the “2020 Chaos List” just goes on and on like a demonic Energizer Bunny from Hell, doesn’t it?
Between the last time I posted and today, I myself – despite my best efforts of wearing a mask, washing my hands, social distancing, and self-isolation (I’m a writer and a combat vet, so the whole self-isolation thing was already a lifestyle choice for me), I came down with COVID-19. October 31 I woke up with a 104 fever, coughing up BLOOD, vertigo, headache, overarching fatigue, and syncope: I passed out for 45 minutes in my bathroom. I spent most of the afternoon and evening at the ER at Madigan Army Hospital being evaluated and tested. Then I had to convince the doctors to not admit me to ICU. My logic was, if we could get my fever down, I could go home and recover there. Treatment for a viral infection is symptomatic anyway, and as long as my ABC’s (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) were good, then I wasn’t that acute. I had no decreased O2 saturation, no shortness of breath or true difficulty breathing, so I didn’t need the ICU bed or a ventilator.
Save that bed, that equipment, those supplies and the personnel for someone worse off than me.
Finally, my doctor relented, but only after making me swear and take a blood oath (okay, I did not take a blood oath) that if I got worse, I’d call for an ambulance and be seen locally by the nearest treatment facility. I promised him, I meant it, my wife drove me home.
The next ten days are still a blur. Seven of those days, I have no recollection whatsoever. I managed to stay hydrated enough to not need more IV fluids (they hung three bags on me at the ER!). Not sure what, or if, I ate. Took my meds, isolated in another room away from my wife, didn’t stay vertical for very long at any given time, and slept a lot.
A WHOLE LOT.
I’m over 6 years out now, and COVID had me feeling the way I felt during my radiation and chemo. At Day 10, I felt like I did when I was only maybe 1 or 2 years out of my cancer treatment.
I was starting to feel alive again on Day 9. Was sitting at my writer’s desk on Day 10. But here’s the thing, folks. I’M STILL FEELING SOME LINGERING EFFECTS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS. Mostly, fatigue. A lingering fatigue is well-documented in post-recovery COVID patients of a certain age. So this comes as no surprise to me. But it’s still a royal pain in the ass.
I vividly remember the overwhelming fatigue in those first months and years after I miraculously survived Stage 4 Cancer. I remember days when I could only shuffle from my bed to the bathroom, and out to the sofa for a couple of hours. Then it was back to bed. In those first 12 months or so, I slept 12-16 hours a day.
COVID is the sickest I’ve been since my cancer. It executed a sneak attack and tried to out-goddamn-flank me. I took some hits, but I ultimately prevailed. It’s gone, and I’m still standing.
But as any military man will tell you, you don’t survive battle without taking some casualties. Every victory has a price. My price for beating cancer is the long-term physical and mental disabilities I continue to endure. My price for beating COVID seems to be turning back the clock to where I now no longer feel like I’m 6 years out from cancer, but I now feel like I did when I was only about 2 1/2 to 3 years out.
But hey. What are you gonna do, right? Me, I just keep on keeping on. I finished my next novel this year. I started two non-horror feature screenplays. My manager in L.A. is closer than ever to getting the first film in a brand new horror franchise set up. We now have a commitment from a streaming service to provide finishing funds and distribution. All we have to do now is come up with the money to actually shoot the movie and get it in the can. I have some screenplays that are doing well in various screenwriting competitions. In fact, this Saturday, I will be watching online the LitScares International Horror Competition live from Yorkshire, England. One of my screenplays is a Finalist there, and I am up for Best Screenplay. So after a few bumps in the road, 2020 is beginning to look like it may end on a high note for me.
But I am still experiencing some lingering ill effects.