Posted in Pandemic, Storytime

Anxiety in the time of Corona

*Note: I have NOT read the book ‘Love in the time of Cholera’

End of January 2020: I go to work feeling nauseous. I drink water to try to make it go away. I’ve been feeling nauseous lately but it typically goes away later in the day. The nausea doesn’t go away at all. I go to the ‘nurse’s office’ to get checked out. They do some vitals and a pregnancy test. Turns out I’m super dehydrated. They give me bags of electrolytes to drink. We figure, food poisoning. I tell my friend ‘D’ it’s probably because I’m eating a plate of corn..but it’s the only thing I can stomach at the moment. Everything else makes me feel nauseous.

Mid-February 2020: I go back to the nurse’s office. I ask them….so… long is food poisoning supposed to last? They ask me how many days I’ve been having symptoms. I laugh and say “Days? It’s been a couple of months. Since at least August.” My PCP is alarmed and starts orderings tests like a mofo. She also recommends that I go see a gastroenterologist. It takes me forever on how to say ‘gastroenterologist’ correctly. I try to be hip and call it ‘gastro’ for short.

Beginning of March 2020: I have 3 blood draws, 4 vials each. More pregnancy tests (they just want to make really really sure). We schedule an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. I joke that they may find a hamburger in there from 1982…but really, I’m anxious of what my diagnosis could be. I was planning on waiting until I had a diagnosis….but it’s been over a month and still nothing. I start telling my inner circle via group text. It’s a mixture of freak outs and support. I wonder if I’m telling too much info or if I’m pulling the friendship parachute cord too quickly. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time and make them worry if it’s really a fast food hamburger …. although, that wouldn’t make sense. I didn’t order hamburgers in the 80s’ because I don’t like pickles. Half of my friends are tv type of people, the other medical (I was pre-med before I switched majors…but still kept in touch with my peeps). Dr. P calls me and goes in ER Doctor mode, peppering me with questions. It feels good to have smart friends.

March 11 2020: So, we’re working from home. I’m still experiencing symptoms. Some days I feel ok and find that I like using my brain (who would’ve thunk) to troubleshoot some problems. I think I really just want to be a detective but this will have to do. I sleep all the time and I still have to go into the city for more doctor appointments. This time, I need to get a CT scan. After the CT scan shows nothing and more blood tests, I’m cleared of cancer (hooray!)…but the non-diagnosis diagnosis still looms. Everyone is worried about coronavirus. I ask my bf to stay with me to help with groceries and my corgi. He lives in CT, but his fam-bam in CT was like, ‘we’re old, stay in NJ.’ I wonder about all the people who don’t have corona virus — those with straight flu, those with cancer, those with broken limbs, broken backs and those with mystery illnesses. I wonder how they are getting by and feel lucky that I can afford instacart and work from home. Also, I got a head start from everyone else because of the nausea case of 2020, so I feel like a pro.

March 23, 2020 — I have an appointment where I eat radiated oatmeal so they can x-ray me while it goes down my gullet. The test is 90 minutes long. The technician gives me a choice….I can either lie down with my arms to my side or I can use my phone and text and scroll, but I need to leave my arms up. I ask for a third option — I can leave my arms down and just play music? They decide to name that option after me because I feel I’m missing reality when I’m staring at my phone….so if I don’t have to look at it, I don’t. A sexy song comes up on the playlist….and that’s using an euphenism. I wonder if the technician is listening to the lyrics, as I start to blush. But, then I remember, I think most people don’t listen to lyrics than me. After like 15 songs or so, I ask how much time has passed. I hope it’s not like 10 minutes, because it feels I’ve been lying there forever. It’s been 45 minutes and my test is done.

I rapidly google what it means if my digestive system is too fast. Everyone wants to respect my privacy but wants me to talk it out. I don’t know the difference between what’s private or public anymore because with all these doctors appointments, I feel like I’m giving very graphic details of my symptoms — because I know that’s what they need — but being very vague with everyone else. I just feel everyone is judging me.

March 24, 2020 — I convince my family in Seattle to play drawful, using the share play option PS4. This is where being somewhat technical comes in handy. We laugh and laugh. I’m impressed that my nieces are kicking the adults asses.

End of March — I start cooking for myself when I’m not feeling nauseous, exhausted or in pain. After some deep thoughts (with Jack Handey) with my inner circle, my boss and other work peeps — we decide that what’s best for me is to completely focus on my health and take a break. My boss says it best “I don’t need you next week, I need you for the long term.” We have a heart to heart for nearly 2 hours. I feel really lucky in such unlucky times.

Beginning of April — Anxiously waiting for blood test results. My doctors are in the city and everyone is afraid I’m going to get corona because I’m immuno-suppressed or immuno-deficient. Something with the word ‘immuno…’ Anyway, my gastro (who is also super awesome) has a telemedicine conference with me and prescribes a lab for me to take in NJ. I’m the first of her patients to get an Rx via teleconfence. Maybe they should name that after me too.

April 3, 2020 — I go to bed early because — nausea. I wake up at 4am because I’m hungry (I had a light dinner) but I’m too lazy to cook. So I write instead about stuff I want to say out loud but can’t. And I update facebook with my 10 most unpopular opinions. I really don’t like coffee. But, I think it’s because I worked in a coffee shop for 3 years.