When you're not well, self-care can feel impossible. There are small things you can do that will make an enormous impact and in little time. This past couple of weeks, I've been in an uphill battle with long-haul Covid-19 and symptoms sent me to the emergency room twice. My second emergency really put me through the wringer and a spiraling health crisis nearly cost my life.
First, I want to mention that scientists should be studying the effect of long-haul Covid in immune-deficient individuals. Last spring, I received the Moderna vaccines, and within four months, I caught Covid. The CDC is describing these cases as breakthroughs, but I still had moderate to severe symptoms for two straight weeks. Once I got through the worst of the virus, I thought I was over it but the symptoms wouldn't resolve.
Throughout the months of October and November, I was wondering why I was still enduring coughing fits, daily headaches, constant body aches, and night sweats. During the afternoons, I would feel lightheaded and a kind of fatigue too intense to shake off. Though I wasn't contagious, I felt like I was and it wasn't until early November when I noticed aspects of my immune system crashing.
The blood tests I was doing showed a decline in my platelets and lymphocytes. My reduction in lymphocytes meant that I had an infection and something was attacking them. Usually, when you have an infection, lymphocytes increase to show your immune system is working. These test results indicated something was askew and I didn't know what was happening or why.
Then, severe gastrointestinal distress brought me to the emergency room the second time while issues breathing was my first reason for going. To clarify, these gastrointestinal issues were nothing to take likely. I won't be going into excruciating details but I will say that I lost all control of my bodily functions. The pain was so intense and debilitating, I wouldn't wish the problem I had on even my worst enemy.
The first theory tossed my way was the possibility that I had a kidney stone. I was cool with that; a kidney stone I could handle but other symptoms weren't adding up. In tears, I asked a nurse if this was going to be my new normal and how I was going to live this way. The nurse said, 'you can't live like this!' My anxiety shot up and wasn't sure if I'd recover or bounce back.
At my worst, it wasn't looking like I would recover, so I prepared for the worst news and outcomes. Having a lot of issues has prepared me for such low blows. I underwent CTscan imaging and waited a couple of hours, in a diaper, for the results. You can imagine my utter dismay; being thirty-seven and having to wear a diaper again because I couldn't control my bodily functions. An issue was becoming worse and worse and I hated feeling impotent and powerless. Everyone tells me that I shouldn't be embarrassed but I was and was hoping it wasn't my new normal.
When the physician returned with my results, I held my breath and closed my baggy eyes. He diagnosed me with severe constipation. It was so severe that I had lost feeling in the lower part of my body for a while.
Another theory my doctors threw at me was the possibility that I had had an autoimmune flare-up. But I don't have any autoimmune diseases, though I do have a genetic condition known as 22Q, which you can click here to learn more if you wish. The idea of having had an autoimmune flare terrified me and wasn't sure if this was something I'd have to go through again.
Surprisingly, the doctors discharged me, and was home by 2:00 in the morning. That night, and the next few nights, sleep was difficult. There was no explanation behind these raging and vicious symptoms or why I couldn't use the bathroom normally when I had the urge.
The next thought that kept me up was wondering if I had developed an autoimmune disease amidst my battle with long-haul Covid. Then, articles began appearing on Google stating that those who had breakthrough cases and suffered from long-haul Covid had entered into an autoimmune disease. There were too many possibilities with no concrete answers as to my agony and inability to function.
Six days after my second emergency room visit, my symptoms had about resolved. Within that time, I was still struggling to bounce back. The discomfort and pain prompted me to prioritize my health on an entirely new level. I was bedridden the majority of those days and could only do so much to prioritize my health.
While down, I drank hot lemon water and relied on deep diaphragmatic breathing. For three hours a day, while down in bed, I did healing meditations and focused on waking up my digestive tract.
Deep breathing, when you can't do much else, works wonders on every aspect of your body from physical to mental to emotional. After two days straight of breathing exercises and gentle yoga, my digestion began working again little by little.
Regardless of how debilitated you're feeling, bedridden or not, there are ways you can make your wellness a priority by integrating small habits. I read wellness articles about how to reactivate your digestive system and simplified their recommendations. If you're at your utter worst, small wellness practices may improve your situation.
We're all different and heal on our own time. All I could do was the healthy things I knew to do. Everybody knows what foods and beverages are good for our bodies and the benefits of meditative breathing. The more meditations that I did, the more energized and better I felt. It's been over a week and a half since all of this, and I am back to eating solid foods and my digestive system is working smoothly again.
Nobody could give me an explanation except that it was long-haul Covid's fault for causing such digestive distress. My liver and kidney numbers were also whacky and could only think an infection was trying to flush its way from my body. I'm hoping that I never experience something like this again. With long-haul Covid, it's unclear how it affects immune-deficient individuals.
I hope nobody goes through what I did. If you're struggling with your health because of Covid-19, you're not alone. Health problems, in general, can rob us of our lives and peace of mind but I've found ways to overcome this obstacle. Healing meditation is really what helped me get back to myself and life.