Covid Is Not The Flu. Listen To Your Body

One of the cards I made over the weekend

I woke up tired.  After letting the dogs out at 6:30 I fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up for another two hours.

I stumbled around picking up the dog bowls from the kitchen floor and trying to remember what I had to do next.  My mind numb.  As I mucked out the barn I felt my energy draining.  Inside me  an interior tremor hummed through my body as if it were working overtime, straining to keep up.

Yesterday Jon had a virtual call with our doctor and she talked about eating food that’s easy to digest because our bodies are busy fighting the virus. Listen to your body she said.

I’ve been eating soup and bread mostly.  I don’t have an appetite for anything that isn’t soft or warm.  I’d been craving a piece of soft sweet cake but all we had was a chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookie, usually a favorite of mine from a local baker.

The chocolate tasted like wax, the cookie was just a texture and one I wasn’t craving.

After that, I added a hot pepper from the garden to the soup I made with broth and cooked vegetables.  I doused a pound of green beans in onion, also from the garden, added some soy sauce, and ate all of it except a handful that I gave to Jon.

I made pancakes from scratch (my first time), digging out an old bag of baking powder from the back of the spice draw and adding a peach I cooked the day before. I didn’t expect them to taste good, but they were soft and warm and I doused them in maple syrup.  I did taste the syrup.

I’m fine I tell everyone, I’m getting better every day.  And it’s true.

I know how lucky I am.  Even just listening to Jon cough uncontrollably, I know.  It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even pay attention when he coughs, his whole body shaking.  There’s nothing I can do except keep him in ginger tea and honey.

It’s true that I’m better, but it’s not the whole truth.

Jon is so good about writing about what he is feeling when he feels it.  I’m not. I keep the hard stuff inside until I feel like I’ll explode if I don’t say it out loud.

On Friday I wasn’t feeling lucky.   And a part of me still feels strange in a way I haven’t before. As if this virus is messing with my brain.

But on Friday all my stoicism was lost.

I spiraled from one imagined crisis to another, my self-esteem draining in big emotional waves.  Not being able to work always puts a dent in my sense of self.  I wish my identity wasn’t so tied to my art, but it is.  I tell myself that if for some reason I can’t sew, there are other ways to be creative and I’ll always be an artist.

But my creative brain wasn’t working and that scared me.

Not being able to work means I’m not making money.  A phone call with my mother brought up the old guilt that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I burst into tears throughout the day, not even knowing why.

“You’re a hot mess,” Jon said to me as we sat at the dining room table.  That made us both laugh.

I tried to sleep, something I’ve always done to anesthetize myself, but I couldn’t even do that.  It was like my brain was on speed.  Every time I laid down I thought of something I should do and got up again.  It didn’t seem to matter how tired I was.

Through it all at least I did have the awareness that I’d most likely feel better the next day.  That my being sick and probably the illness itself was a part of why I was so desperate.

And I did feel better the next day.

Maybe in part because it was Saturday, my usual day of rest.  I allowed myself to lay on the couch and read.  To sit outside and do nothing.  To do very little beyond what was necessary.  I got my own thinking back about my family issues (something I learned to do in therapy) and a few people sent me blog donations (thank you) which eased my money worries.

Yesterday I was back in my studio.  I pieced together potholders with the drawings of the single hens I made on Wednesday.  That felt good, but I may have done too much.

As much as it feels to me like the flu, Covid is not the flu.  It works on us in ways we don’t even know about yet.

I’ll sew some of those potholders together today, but I’ll rest too.  I’m fortunate that I can make my own schedule, that I don’t have to be at work 8 or 9 hours a day without resting in between, like so many people.

And if sewing takes too much out of me, I can do other things.  I started making some cards that I might sell, and I can always blog.  At least I can do both sitting down.

Tomorrow morning we’ll have hay delivered and I won’t help stack it as I usually do.  I will miss belly dancing class again even though our performance is only a week away. (It’s improv, Julz texted me, don’t worry, just get better).

I will try to listen to my body when it comes to food and resting.  And I will trust that it will all work out.  Because I really am doing better every day.

18 thoughts on “Covid Is Not The Flu. Listen To Your Body

  1. Please be careful “digging out … old bag(s)” of baking products, particularly flour, which has a definite shelf life. They say the best way to test if it is safe to use is to smell it — which many people can’t do when they have Covid! Really, really don’t want you to end up with food poisoning after you recover from the Covid infection. I’m channeling Roseanne Roseannadanna from the old SNL episodes: “It just goes to show ya. It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another!”

  2. Covid is certainly a wizard of a virus. It affects people in so many different ways. I got nailed in January along with my husband. He had more of the respiratory symptoms and I had a lot of digestive issues yet we both tested positive for the same virus. It took me awhile to recover but everyday is better. Both of us still have moments of fatigue and we have learned to respond accordingly. I’m lucky I was able to retire in June, Kevin has 6 months to go before retiring. As I have learned to listen to my body my body has continued to heal. Sending positive healing thoughts to you and Jon!

  3. You have written a wonderful treatment plan for healing here in this post. “Yes listen to your body” treatment plan More Saturdays activities And more ginger tea and raw honey rest for you both. Comrade with the donkeys and commune with nature As l know many more also are too sending you get well wishes

    1. That does sound good Grandma Diane. Thanks for putting in simple words that make it easy to follow. So often I don’t listen to myself. 🙂

  4. oh Maria, focus on a personal mantra when those negative thoughts come up: I will be better soon, my life will return to normal, Jon will be better soon. Ask the animals spirits to help heal you.

  5. I’m glad you are better, but SO sorry you and Jon have been so sick. I’ve stayed home as much as possible, and been careful to mask, and of course we’ve had all vaccinations possible, and so far, we’ve been lucky enough not to catch this awful illness. I’m so sorry you two got it and hope you may improve soon. Rest all you can.

  6. I appreciate your honesty, always, but especially about your experience of COVID
    I have started hearing so many people dismissing it as “just a flu” and not acknowledging it’s full impact.
    Talking about our experiences honestly is not the same as “complaining or wallowing”, words I hear thrown about.
    For some, it is mild. For some it is deadly. For most it is somewhere in-between, thankfully.
    But that is no reason to discount it. And I am heartened to hear that you are not just pushing through it, and are taking care of yourself. You, your art, and your blog are important to me personally. Hoping your recovery is steady and allows you to bellydance next week!!

  7. Thank you for your honesty. Although I haven’t had Covid yet, I know so many that have. Some of the younger ones (vaccinated) were really sick and some of the older ones felt like they had a cold after the initial few days. The point is, it’s not something to take lightly as we still don’t know the long term effects nor do we know how we’ll be affected when we get it. I get very tired of those who say “it’s just the flu or it’s just like the flu”. We still need to be cautious and to be respectful of each other to minimize the spread. Take care of yourself and take time to heal. You are an important voice for women and many of your blogs speak to issues many of us have.

  8. Be good to you…I know you are. I had Covid a couple weeks ago. While it sounds like my symptoms were milder than yours, I’m finding that now my emotions are just more tender than usual. And I’ll have a great day when I think that I’m 100% and then wake up like I did this morning feeling like my body is a lead weight. **sigh**. Take care of you and Jon…sending you both good thoughts!

  9. I had covid last month and also have chronic autoimmune issues as well and for me it’s been fascinating experiencing how similar and even identical the symptoms are between them. The reality is that Covid is an autoimmune disease. In fact, some studies are even showing that it’s basically the same thing as MF/CFS(chronic fatigue syndrome). Another thing I think many people aren’t aware of is it’s affect on your brain. For many it can cause significant neurological and cognitive issues too which is another scary and even traumatizing part of it. It really is no joke to recover from and the most important thing is as you say, to listen to your body during this time. Imo it’s also critical to stay mindful that it may take a long time to fully recover from and longer then one maybe is expecting. That’s been my biggest struggle with it all and now that I’m feeling almost normal again I realize that I’ve been way too impatient with my expectations. The recovery period needs to be viewed with the gravity it deserves. Glad you are well on your way back from it!

    1. Sorry you have to go throught this Kristin, but thanks for telling us about your experience. It is helpful and a good reminder of the importance of taking it seriously and doing that thing which is so hard for so many of us to do, rest.

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