So confused–I can no longer tell the difference between colds, hayfever, and even covid

I’ve been telling people I never get colds or flu, and all I get is sinusitis. Looks like I was wrong.

The last time I was truly sick was when I got chicken pox, at the tender age of 22. A quick calculation says that was around 1993/4. That’s what I’ve been telling people; the reason being it’s the last time I remember being notably sick. I remember I was a student, I was looking for textbooks along with my brother in some technical book shop (I’ve long since forgotten the name), and I had one or two little yellow bumps on my back that I hadn’t paid attention to. The fever hit like something I’ve never felt since, except maybe for that time I drank 3 shots of Stroh Rum very quickly and it all hit me at once later. Bam! You are now not OK. The rest of that day was a fucking fever dream.

That was the last time I truly felt sick. In the years since, I get the occasional runny nose, aching head, and then blocked nose with dry cough because of a tickle in my throat. Incidentally, that’s exactly what a bad sinus attack feels like. And for me, covid is the same but with the addition of a bad headache and lame legs on day one of showing symptoms. Then after that it’s not notably different from any other cold or flu. I’ve never had a chest cold, and I don’t get a fever any more, or so it would seem.

So apparently I’ve been accidentally lying when telling people I don’t get colds or flu. I do, but they’re hardly an issue because I haven’t had anything but mild symptoms in nearly 30 years. I wonder why that is? There’s one person I would ask (that one who had chicken pox at the same time I did), if he has similar experience, but he’s not talking to me so… It shall remain a mystery. Feel free, my two or three frequent commenters, to let me know if your experiences are similar.

In the meantime… I must conclude that we are all very different. Trust in science and get vaccinated if you aren’t already. Get a booster if you are vaccinated but have had the new covid variant. It can never do harm to take precautions and be safe, despite what our vaccine “hesitant” friends may say. Even if you’re like me and don’t get sick, there are immunocompromised people everywhere, and we need to take the right precautions for their sakes.

[Urgh. My son is throwing up as I write this. He was feeling fine the whole weekend, but complaining of a headache this morning. It seems his immune system still has some growing up to do. I feel bad for him though… When kiddo gets like this, he can’t even get anything down. Not even meds for nausea.]

Just a follow up on my recovery from covid

Nothing much to write…

I’m seeing a lot of articles repeating that symptoms of the omicron variant have been mostly mild; all of them adding the caveat that it’s too soon to tell for sure.

I tested positive on Monday past, and it’s now Friday… the only symptom remaining a bit of phlegm. I don’t even have a sore throat… just a bit of mucus. And the tiredness, but then I’m a lazy fuck so it’s hard to tell how much of it is actual tiredness and how much is just lazy me keen to lay down and do nothing.

Ironically I’m doing a bit of work after hours… I don’t have a choice though… it’s a financial system and I happen to be the best positioned developer to fix certain kinds of problems, which can be costly to my employer. I know… that’s vague… but these are not details I can disclose.

The point is, I’m fine. I’ve a feeling this omicron variant of covid is not too big a deal, and if it does take over as the main variant, maybe this virus is going to mutate into something even less harmful over time. Maybe the worst is behind us and this pandemic is on the way out. Reports also seem to indicate that this variant spreads faster than previous ones, but then, that could just be a perception. Given that the symptoms are mostly mild, it’s possible that people don’t test for covid, thinking as I did that it was just a cold. This would logically lead to cases being underreported and the prevalence of the disease appearing to increase unusually hastily (when we finally do test and pay attention to the numbers).

The trendy fear mongering about COVID is so unnecessary

Last Friday, after going to the doctor, while I got my meds at the local Dischem pharmacy, I noted the visible fear in some of the people there. Paranoia that there may be people around them with COVID. It’s slightly ironic thinking of this now, because little did I know, I was one of the infected.

I went to the doc for two reasons…

  1. My six months were up so I needed a new prescription for my hypertension and anti-depression medication.
  2. I had a slight cold. Bit of a weird one… headache and my legs were lame, snotty throat completely masked by my usual Sinutab sinus, Linctagon C, Corenza C, And ACC 200 cocktail.

So the checkup was for my meds, something I had to do at some point, and the other reason was a doctor’s note to stay off work. He did mention I could go for a covid test if I still didn’t feel OK by Monday. Then, on Sunday my son felt ill. I’d mentioned to HR at work that I might go for a covid test on Monday, but then I almost went… Josh asked me to stay with him, and after I messaged work to say I would not be in, HR suggested I get a test as recommended by my doctor. So I reluctantly went for a test, thinking I’d test negative. But I’m positive.

I’m fine, by the way. Very slightly light-headed and still a bit of a snotty throat but that’s because I’ve stopped taking the cold meds. I may take more tonight but was concerned about taking too much.

My point is… I’m vaccinated. I didn’t get it badly. No shortness of breath. No fever. No loss of taste. My son lost his sense of taste before he showed symptoms, and had a headache for two whole days, then painful ear ache that kept him from sleeping for a whole night, but by now he’s fine too. No idea if the vaccine protected me or how much, but I’m going to repeat what I’ve written before: Trust in science. Vaccines work. Although I do still have mild symptoms, this was barely a cold for me but I get to miss out on the year end function at work and that makes it worthwhile.

Seriously, being afraid like the people I saw at Dischem is so unnecessary. Panic doesn’t help anybody. At this point, let’s treat covid like it is inevitable. Rather get it vaccinated than unvaccinated because from what I’ve heard, all serious hospital cases are the unvaccinated.

Now where are all my anti-vax buddies? Party at my place tonight and you get to leave me in your wills.

New phone who dis

Scuse the silly title and blurry photos…

I got a new phone recently and a watch came with it… this thing called a Fit2. I don’t normally go for these things but got a call from a call centre because a Telkom contract was up for its 2 year upgrade. Ironically my ex took the hotspot and SIM for that contract, and I’d been paying for it for the whole two years. It was only 10GB a month but still… she lost it too so I’ve been paying for an account no one used.

Anyway, now I have a new phone and this watch that guilt trips me every time I’m sitting still for an hour, which is like… every hour. I mean, I’m a programmer for goodness sake. I’m supposed to be sitting on my arse writing code. But whatever, I have started using my treadmill to make up for the tremendous amount of burgers and things I’ve been eating in the 3 and a bit months since I gave up smoking. This watch will no doubt be useful on my next pathetic attempt to run for a whole five minutes without slowing to a walk. (Been 2 weeks since I started using the treadmill, after it collected dust initially for a year, and I am not doing so well.)

Here I was earlier after finally getting the watch to work.

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Best wishes to her though… she’s currently in a place where I’m not supposed to tell anyone she’s at, getting help for a problem she won’t admit she still has. I hope this time things work out for the best.

Edit: My first draft was a little unfair to my ex… I wrote that she stole my hotspot and SIM for that contract. That’s not true – I gave it to her while she stayed here in 2019. Whether or not she stole other things is not relevant…

People are better than you think

So last night I shared this…

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I was not expecting so many comments. I guess now I have to try quitting again!

Within five minutes, there were over 200 comments, many of which came from one person. Then after I replied to thank her, I got this:

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My point is… People care. I tend to see the world as a bad place, filled with negativity and horrible people. But… people actually do care. So I wrote this to remind you that people are better than you think.

Now hopefully this time I can quit smoking successfully.

Life is shit sometimes

I see a friend posted this.

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This is an eighty year old man who has had some health issues recently. He’s a good man. Who can blame him for feeling down at this time?

Wish I could comment, but this damn Facebook ban once again. Not that there’s much I could say, but sometimes all we need is some encouragement, a word of sympathy. We all have our struggles and sometimes it all seems like too much. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not as alone as it feels and that there are plenty of people out there who care, even some we have never met.

So if you’re like my friend Ken, I’d like to remind you that, yes, life is shit sometimes. But not all the time. It will hopefully get better.

Worrying news about COVID-19

The Guardian reports that Italian doctors have found a link between COVID-19 and a rare but potentially fatal inflammatory disorder in children.

From the article:

Dr Annalisa Gervasoni, a paediatric specialist at the hospital, said: “In our experience, only a very small proportion of children infected with Sars-CoV-2 develop symptoms of Kawasaki disease. However, it is important to understand the consequences of the virus in children, particularly as countries around the world grapple with plans to start relaxing social distancing policies.”

Kawasaki disease, which overwhelmingly affects infants, causes inflammation of the blood vessels and in some cases a swelling of the heart. Swift treatment can prevent potentially lethal coronary aneurysms. The cause is not known, but studies suggest it is a post-infection inflammatory response that turns against the body.

Now this isn’t super obvious, but the reason it has me worried is this could be related to something I have hinted at before… See my previous post about immune response here.

That is, fatalities could indeed be related to an over aggressive immune response to the disease. Note that this is my own speculation. COVID-19 deaths in adults are due to ARDS, (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), where the alveoli in your lungs fill up with fluid, hijacking the system that’s responsible for getting oxygen to your bloodstream. So effectively you asphyxiate or basically drown slowly, and die due to rapid organ failure as your other organs (heart, liver, etc) are deprived of oxygen. And this could also be due to an immune response that goes awry and turns against the body.

The difference between the two conditions is that Kawasaki disease seems to affect lymph nodes throughout the body in infants and children, meaning it is very dangerous. Thank goodness it is rare.

But it sure has me worried. The thing is, if I’m right and it is indeed about your immune response that might kill you, this is unpredictable. We don’t know; we can’t know how our own bodies will react if we get this coronavirus. You might be one of the lucky ones, or you might not. Or you might be one of the lucky ones but have someone else you love die. This is scary.

Please do take this pandemic seriously. There’s not much that most of us can do, but at the very least we can be responsible and stay home as much as possible. Don’t be like those people fighting for their “liberty”. It’s not about you.