Denver 500

Memorial Day weekend is coming up is . A time for picnics, cold beer, hot dogs, revelry, and for some...the Indianapolis 500. Five hundred has a different meaning for me. 

It's a bit unclear on when I contracted Covid-19, but I do remember flying in January and February of 2020 to Seattle, Montreal and Cape Town, South Africa via Munich. I remember waking up in Cape Town with my sheets soaking wet from the chills after my roommate had asked me in the middle of the night, "are you okay?" as I'd coughed all night. I remember flying home and a young woman traveling from Asia-Pacific was pulled out of line in customs. She looked sick behind her mask. I thought nothing of it. 

I mention the Indy 500 as I googled those dates and I'm somewhere around 500 days from first getting sick and being diagnosed as a Covid Long-hauler. (No, that's not a trucking term.)

For the last month, I've tried hard to have a mind shift from symptoms to a healing journey. Mayo Clinic virtual appointments continue as does a variety of prescriptions to largely focus on nerve issues that mess with feet, hands, and my chest cavity. 

As I'd prepared for a few appointments, questionnaires have also queried my mental health. A few of those have triggered concerns from my medical team about depression and anxiety; whether or when I can regain some normalcy or semblance of health. This plays tricks with the mind as it occasionally "dances with the devil."

Diligence has not been in question as I've approached my wellness plan like a marathon training plan--even including a wellness coach. My brand new Peloton which has collected dust for a year is now getting 5-10 minutes a day. Don't get too excited; running is not anytime soon and I'm not "out of the saddle" like you see in the commercials. It's part of my "Wellness Plan." 

My new best friend is my Muse EEG headband and meditation app. It does a much better job than meds (in terms of mental health.) Not that I've been hitting the liquor cabinet, but I've completely cut out alcohol for now as it simply wreaks havoc on my system.

Despite all that effort, I've had more than a few dark mental spots of late and the last week has seen a perplexing resurgence of symptoms. Last Saturday, my wife and I spent the day and night with some dear friends. As the evening ensued, I found myself (ironically trying to hide) episodes of gulping for air. I discussed the Denver Nuggets game with my good friend Joe. As we were lamenting "Dame" Lillard lighting up the "Nuggies" I commented on how many points he'd accumulated from beyond the arc. Problem was I was multiplying three pointers by two. As a good friend, Joe didn't correct my grade school math error. Brain fog is a real thing. 

Photo Credit: Dayne Pillow

After turning in for the night, I later woke up at 3AM with chest pain, feeling flush and clammy feet. Scary shit as I'd considered waking my wife and pondering a trip to the ER. Since Saturday, I've had a rough week with similar episodes and symptoms. I'm planning my third trip to Mayo in June as I remain on disability from work. The financial stresses of having a career in technology on hold is unwieldy. 

It may seem odd, but my run blog turned Long Covid blog has been part of my therapy. I largely have support including the GoFundMe generously created by my friends. I had to de-friend a distant cousin that didn't like my venting with cuss words. I tried to explain that I was inspired by my late great grandfather "Pop" who used cussing as a regular part of his vocabulary when playing Gin Rummy. He often threw out four-letter words when the cards didn't go his way, and wife Lela would exclaim, "Lyle, watch your language! He only cusses around men!" Anyway, fuck it.

This weekend, I will "hit the pause button," work on pulling myself from the abyss that Long Covid can be, try to decompress and re-charge. Namaste.


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