COVID-19 and Me

Sigh…

Yeah we're starting the year on this note.

After reading my last blog post, so many persons came to me with positive words and support and of course, out of curiosity... so here it is! My experience with the "VIDs".

My Symptoms:

It started with a headache. Something you should know about me, I get bad headaches and migraines. So when I got this headache, I didn't think too much about it. I just did what I usually do when I get a headache; I slept. I organized baby girl with Leroy as best as I could and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up feeling a little better but the headache lingered. I had work that day but decided to stay home because a lingering headache meant that I wouldn't be fully productive and that didn't make sense. The headache lasted that entire day, even after taking Panadol. Hmmm... Strange! Out of curiosity, my mother visited me in the bedroom and brought an oximeter to check my oxygen levels. Well thank God she did that because your girl's oxygen was 90 (anything below 95 is cause for concern). She immediately called her friend who is a doctor who told her to put me on quarantine until I can get tested. If it wasn’t for my mother’s quick thinking, I probably would've been much worse off. Thanks mom!!


When Leroy and I got tested and received our positive results, our main focus was Xaryah. Is she safe with us? What if she contracted it as well? What do we do? Upon speaking to not only Xaryah's paediatrician but also countless friends of my mother who are doctors, the best thing for her was to stay with us so we can monitor her and for me to continue breastfeeding her. One doctor told us that she most likely has COVID as well from her interactions with us so just monitor her behaviour, her eating habits and her poop (babies' poops can tell alot). Fortunately, Xaryah didn't show any serious symptoms and was her happy-go-lucky self the entire time; she actually seemed to thrive on the fact that both her parents were home with her for an extended period of time. Go figure!


Anywho, back to me!

Being on quarantine itself was a mind f*** in so many ways. Just seeing the 4 walls of your bedroom and then the four walls of your home was depressing. I didn't want to call anyone (not even my best friends) because I felt a bit ashamed to let them know that I had contracted this virus. So, as usual, I tried to keep myself busy the entire time. I forced myself to think of this quarantine period as an extended maternity leave with hubby to keep me sane. We spent the time loving on our daughter and got to witness her first teeth emerge and her first steps. *Go little Rockstar*


So I'm sure you know the five stages of grief - it's usually associated with death or loss. If you don't, it's basically a series of five emotions that are experienced by persons dealing with loss. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I experienced emotions very similar to these stages during my period of being COVID positive. I'll elaborate more below:


Stage 1: Denial

Honestly, I was in denial before I even got tested. I'm always getting headaches and migraines so to me, this was just another one after a stressful day at work. Other than that, I felt fine. When I went to get tested, seeing all those other sick persons under observation (some coughing, some with oxygen tanks) made me go into an even deeper denial. I wasn't like them; I'm fine! I'm not coughing or anything like that. I've taken the necessary precautions. I'm fine!


Stage 2: Anger

When I received my results, at first I was in disbelief but this quickly turned into anger! I began backtracking all hubby's and my movements for the past couple of weeks. Since COVID began, we took every single precaution necessary to keep ourselves safe, after all, we have a baby girl to think of as well! We changed how we went out; limited our movements, even to do basic things like going to the grocery. The few weeks before we received our results, Leroy and I didn't go any place out of the ordinary - it was literally to work and back home, and by my aunt to drop/pick up our daughter. Judging from this, we deduced that we most likely contracted COVID from our places of work! WTF?!

On top of that, the week before I started showing symptoms, my work building had 2 positive cases, which they tried to hide by just sanitizing the floor affected and not informing the rest of units in the building - even though there's one entrance, one exit, one elevator and one stairs in that building that all staff use daily.


Sidenote: To be honest, I'm still annoyed by the stance my employers took and continue to take when dealing with COVID positive staff... but we'll talk more about that another day.


Stage 3: Guilt

I didn't experience much bargaining, except with my occasional "Why God? Why?" moments, but I did experience a shitload of guilt.

This is all your fault.

Those 5 words plagued my consciousness constantly. After all, my symptoms appeared first and I entered quarantine first. This is literally all my fault. I beat myself up so much that I stopped talking to my husband because I didn't know how to express myself without tears flowing from my eyes. Those times he asked, I just couldn't get myself to open up and talk to him - something that was so easy to do before.

Stage 4: Depression

When I initially went on quarantine (the first couple of days before getting tested), I could not interact with my daughter. I did not see her for a full day but heard her scream out "Mamaaaaaaaa" for hours at a time. I think any person with a beating heart could just imagine how I felt in those moments. I cried myself to sleep countless times, Leroy would facetime me so that she could at least see me but that would only make me sad and make her cry more. My heart hurt, my stomach pained, my boobs leaked constantly... I felt like I could not function.


I started to think of all the ways possible I put myself at risk and how I could’ve gotten it. I blamed myself. I self sabotaged so much that I began dreaming my demise. Yes, I’ve actually thought that everyone else would be better off without me (yup, that included my daughter) - I mean, they definitely wouldn’t have gotten COVID if I wasn’t in the picture right?! Yes I’ve envisioned how my family’s lives would look without me.

Dark times, but I'm in a much better place now thankfully!


Stage 5: Acceptance

When I finally accepted that I had COVID, the pain, the sadness, the guilt all eased. From talking to my friends we deduced that at this point and how the world is currently, it really isn't a matter of IF you'll contract COVID, but WHEN will you contract it. With all these variants out there now, I thank God that I at least contracted a mild version and recovered quickly.

I’ve heard that testing positive for COVID and testing positive for HIV is quite similar and based on the 8 years I've worked in the field of HIV, I kinda agree. I mean... Family members avoid (and scorn you)... Hell! You even begin to scorn yourself a bit. I didn’t sleep with my husband a while… and I’m not talking sex here eh! I’m talking literally sleeping in the same bed. Since we experienced COVID differently (I recovered much quicker than he did), we were scared to sleep together. I’d even become comfortable with the idea of sleeping alone in our bed; something I’ve hated since I’ve gotten married because I love falling asleep in my husband’s arms.


One thing that I can say for certain though, those two Sinopharm doses worked overtime on both Leroy and I. I mean... I only had a headache and I recovered in about 5 days from COVID, which is pretty amayyyyzing! Comparing from our experience with COVID to some unvaccinated friends' experiences, I'm so so grateful my family and I made the decision early to get vaccinated.


If you're still on the fence about taking the vaccine, my advice is to do your own research and listen to your gut. It will never steer you wrong!

... and of course, shoot me a message! I will do all I can to help alleviate any concerns you have regarding taking the vaccine.


Lots of love,

Brinnelle


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