Living with Covid’s Aftershocks

Yesterday, my father helped me to articulate what it feels like to live with the after-effects of Covid for weeks after I have supposedly recovered. It feels like languishing. It’s like that word was made for people like me, who can’t quite get out from under the rug of this thing.

There’s that meme of Count Rugen from The Princess Bride, where he has just tortured Westley on his Machine, and he says, “I’ve just sucked one year of your life away. Tell me, how do you feel?” Covid has been my Count Rugen. I always assumed that the year of life was taken away from the far end, that when people say, “It took a year off my life!” they mean that year 99 is now gone. After Covid, I feel like I’ve lost a year or three from my life, but they’ve been taken from right here, like I’ve gone from 53 to 55 or 57 in six weeks.

Here’s the part where I sit with the folks in the Nursing Home and enumerate my aches and pains, so feel free to skip down to gratitude and inspiring quotes here. Since this blog is also my personal archive and chronicle, I feel like I need to set it all down here.
* I am definitely regaining my energy, but I still crash. I can’t push myself or overdo it, and expect to rest for an hour or two and bounce back. If I push myself too hard, I crash hard, and end up on the recliner for the rest of the day, my body exhausted and my brain foggy. This is definitely improving as time goes by–fewer crashes.
* I have always been forgetful. I prefer to think of it as engagingly flaky. It just feels like I’m more forgetful now, like my brain enters fogs and mists more regularly. I need to really slow down and breathe in order to focus. This is also less intense six weeks out.
* Before Covid, my body had been sort of toying with the idea of menopause for several years. I’d have periods of time when I would have a hot flash very morning at 3 am, or months of unbearable insomnia. I’d skip a period once in a while, or be late or early, or have really intense and heavy periods for a while and then really light ones. But my body would always re-regulate. In the time since I have had Covid, I’ve skipped two periods in a row.
* About two weeks ago, I developed pain in my shoulder and upper arm. I figured I had just slept on it wrong, but it persisted and worsened, and I realized it wasn’t actually all muscle pain, but mostly nerve pain in my brachial nerves. The pain became excruciating at night, and has been manageable during the day. I did some research, and discovered that brachial neuritis occurs after injury, virus, or vaccine. The primary treatment is painkillers, yoga, and breathing exercises until it subsides. Several nights in the past week and a half, I have gotten very little sleep because of the pain, but the last three night are getting much better, and last night, I only woke up twice, and was able to get back to sleep almost immediately after doing some yoga stretches on the arm.
* The other day when I was eating, I noticed that a piece of enamel had chipped off the back of one of my front teeth. Later in the day, as I was exploring the spot with my tongue, the top edge of the tooth just crumbled away. My brother is a dentist, and he didn’t think I should be too alarmed, that it’s not uncommon as people age. I have also heard that one side effect people are noticing after Covid is that their teeth crack or fall out. I’m getting it fixed this week.


Gratitude List:
1. The fiercely creative students at my school. This is school play weekend, and I am the head usher for plays, so I go to every show (which means I need to especially guard my energy this weekend), and this play offers them the perfect chance to collaborate in ensemble acting, and to sing and dance and do comedy and drama.
2. The little beans of Tanzanian Peaberry are such cute little peas, and it’s just the perfect coffee.
3. Every little noticeable bit of ground regained in my recovery. I slept most of last night, with very little nerve pain in my arm. This is huge.
4. Hugging people again. Carefully and with full consent, but hugging.
5. These cat-folx and their varied personalities. Interspecies communication.

May we walk in Beauty!


“The only time incorrectly is not spelled incorrectly is when it is spelled incorrectly.”


“There is no such thing as one-sided generosity. Like one ecosystem, we are each at different times receiving or purging, growing or pruning. In those moments when you believe you aren’t receiving enough, consider what you most want to receive might be the thing you need to give away.” —Toko-pa Turner


“Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.” —Henry David Thoreau


“Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Yet we so easily take this gift for granted. That is why so many spiritual traditions begin with thanksgiving, to remind us that for all our woes and worries, our existence itself is an unearned benefaction, which we could never of ourselves create.” —Joanna Macy


“What if the Creator is like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s God: “like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence”?
What if the Source of All Life inhabits both the dark and the light, heals with strange splendor as much as with sweet insight, is hermaphroditic and omnisexual?
What if the Source loves to give you riddles that push you past the boundaries of your understanding, forcing you to change the ways you think about everything?
What if, as Rusty Morrison speculates in “Poetry Flash,” “the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear’s boundary, beyond one’s previous conceptions of the beautiful”?
Close your eyes and imagine you can sense the presence of this tender, marvelous, difficult, entertaining intelligence.” —Rob Brezsny

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