Health, Uncategorized

Exhaustion or Covid?

It has been an exhausting school year already.

Since we started back at the beginning of August, we have been dealing with an increasing surge of Covid cases, due to the Delta variant. At first, I was worried that there would be another shutdown, when all the mask drama started, politically. Then, it just became unreal to watch as more and more students and staff members tested positive or had to quarantine.

Allergy symptoms have increased for everyone since this year’s hurricane near-miss (which was not nearly as scary for us as it was last year, since we knew all along that it would miss us and we would be on the clean side). But allergy symptoms are the same as Delta symptoms, so sitting in half-empty classrooms filled with runny noses can be disconcerting.

Add to it the fact that there was a situation that, while it was perfectly safe, triggered a lot of trauma-related emotions for me. And the situation was compounded by the fact that Covid has left schools chronically under-staffed–and circumstances in our state have made that worse this year.

On top of all that, there are constant cautionary tales of vaccines being useless against Delta. So when I started feeling insatiably tired, I felt the need to hide it. It was exhaustion, right? I could not remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep, and lack of sleep does affect me a lot.

Then the stuffy nose and sinus drip cough started. Nasal irrigation and steroid spray kept it at bay for the most part–these are typical allergy symptoms for me, and they do get worse when I am under stress. In fact, I usually carry a bottle of water or coffee with me, so that I can keep from coughing. But when a cough slipped out last week, I got lots of suspicious looks.

I was rocking my TEA-issued blue N95! They have a weird, perfumey smell to them, which brought back memories of last March.

But coughing wasn’t a symptom I had when I had Covid, and neither was a sore throat, which I started experiencing on Friday. However, the muscle aches and headache, which had been getting worse over the past week, were a definite cause for concern. At least I wasn’t having neurological symptoms….until I realized that my eye had been twitching for a few days now.

Luckily, we had a long weekend, so I could lock myself indoors at home and figure all this out. I googled the Delta variant, hoping to learn that my symptoms were completely different from what I was experiencing.

I do get crazy physical symptoms related to stress. Right before I left my previous job, when the situation was very traumatic, I would get muscle aches, GI symptoms, and a low grade fever, which were all psychosomatic. And my resistance lowers when I am under extreme stress. I had to student teach twice in order to get my degree, and had a crazy holiday season between the two unpaid internships. Due to the stress, I ended up getting shingles in my throat at age 23. I also had psychosomatic symptoms, including a stuffy nose and muscle aches, from the beginning of the pandemic up until I actually caught Covid and recovered. So stress was a definite possibility.

However, I decided that I was likely in denial, so I let my yoga teacher know that I would not be in class for the next 10 days. Then I overate and wondered what to do. Finally, on Saturday, I broke down and got a home testing kit. I made sure to stick the q-tip as far up my nose as it would possibly go. And, ten minutes later…

That’s right–no pink line on my strip (on the top)! I will retest tonight, and then I will be good to go back to yoga and work once the long weekend is over.

So surprise, surprise, after having Covid and then being vaccinated, I don’t have Covid. It’s crazy how the current media coverage makes it seem like the most probable result is not going to happen.

Now that the excitement is over, it is time to deal with the actual issue at hand–the fact that stress has caused me to have all of these physical symptoms. It is time to streamline my routine, to understand the limits of what I can get done in a day, to set boundaries accordingly, and to focus on the things that actually are within my control.

The reality is that I am not going to get Covid again. So instead of worrying about that, it is time to focus on all of the good that I can do during this crazy time.

8 thoughts on “Exhaustion or Covid?”

  1. I have been suffering from a running nose and sore throat long after my hay fever has usually finished. At first I put it down to a potentially extended tree pollen season or even a new allergy causing similar symptoms. Double vaccinated and endeavouring to be careful, I didn’t think it could be COVID but ultimately did a home test after convincing myself that it seemed exactly like the most common Delta symptoms. Like yours it was negative. Then it clicked. I had started a new medication in July and guess what, one of the side effects can be nasopharyngitis!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bethany, I’m so pleased to read, it’s not the Delta Variant/Covid. But not pleased to read that it’s probably “stress” – along with the media who now take any little symptom of anything – and blow it up in the news to the point where everyone is symptomatic. As for seasonal allergies that is part of life but the gurus are so focused on the virus symptoms…And you found out it puts the “fear” into your soul and everyone else around you.

    It sounds like the education system needs an overhaul – I know in some places in the world, the school days have been “cut” especially when actual staff have either resigned or moved on…know a few older teachers have decided to retire, especially as the “changes suggested” meant they would have to more or less go back to “teachers training college” and was it worth it.

    I don’t know anything about the education system …

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  3. I’m so glad that you don’t have the plague! For what it’s worth, there’s something else going around up here that’s kind of similar but not COVID and yet miserable. They’ve also said that they’re seeing a rise in RSV among adults. We’ll be going to get our flu shots this weekend to help prevent that from being a thing with us.

    I hope you’re able to make some of those adjustments so you can start feeling better. Try to remember to be gentle with yourself. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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