I am recovering from Coronavirus, and it’s horrible.
I’ve written this article because when I started feeling better, I struggled to find out how other people were coping and recovering from it. Some background – I am male, 46 years old, usually very active (more than 200 minutes a week of intensive exercise), BMI of 25, no underlying medical conditions.
My first symptoms were on Friday 3rd April. Until then I had been working from home and exercising at least once a day on Zwift or going for a run outside.
That Friday I worked in the morning and felt fine. At lunchtime I made a sandwich. I felt tired so I brought my sandwich into the living room. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before – I always eat at my desk or in the kitchen. But I just wanted to lie down. My wife suggested I go upstairs so I let some colleagues know that I was feeling tired and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning feeling exhausted. My eyes hurt when I moved them, and although I was drinking water, I didn’t want anything to eat. I ended up not eating anything for about 48 hours. During that time, I simply lay in bed sleeping.
When I woke up on Sunday I read for short periods, in between more sleep. In the late afternoon, although my eyes were still hurting when I moved them, I felt much better. I even came downstairs and sat alone in the living room. We have some glass folding doors separating the television and ding room, and I watched the rest of the family eating. I started walking around, and then said that I felt completely fine. For an hour, I felt great.
I went to the NHS 111 website (the UK non-emergency health service) and looked to see if I should notify them that I had felt so unwell. The website said that because I hadn’t had had the two classic symptoms of a fever and a cough, it wasn’t Coronavirus. About half an hour later I received a call from an NHS consultant who asked me a few questions and said it still sounded like I had the virus.
I needed to go to the toilet and had a terrible upset tummy. I was back to the worst state again – the virus knocked me out and I spent the next couple of days either sleeping in my bedroom or watching a little television downstairs, both isolated from my family.
On Monday morning my GP (family doctor) called to say that the NHS 111 had updated my records. I explained how I’d been sleeping, then felt totally fine, but then had the diarrhoea and gone back a few steps.
He said that this was classic Coronavirus – periods of feeling totally fine before the next symptoms start.
I then developed the signature cough. Mostly it was mild, and every few hours I would be doubled over, continually coughing.
It took until Thursday to start feeling normal again, to be able to stay awake for more than an hour at a time. It was my twin daughters’ birthday on the Thursday, which was particularly odd as I had to stay in a separate room to them the whole day. Thursday also marked the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, when we usually have over 30 guests in the evening for a meal, but this year I sat by myself in quarantine in the living room with the rest of the family around the dining table.
Thankfully I still haven’t had a fever or the shortness of breath that some people have described.
My eyes are now back to normal – I no longer have the pain when I look around.
Ten days after the start, I am still totally exhausted. When I go outside for a walk around the block, I return home and sleep for a couple of hours. On top of that, I am still sleeping over 11 hours at night.
Some people have commented that they lose their sense of smell and taste. My appetite has changed – I usually eat lots of fruit and vegetables but they currently repulse me. I tried to eat an apple at one point (usually one of my favourites) but I couldn’t eat more than a couple of bites. All I want to eat are soft Haribo sweets during the day, and only meat at mealtimes.
The cough has calmed down a lot. It’s now a mild, irritating cough without the intense episodes.
Update – 17 April (14 days after first symptoms)
Thank you to everyone for your kind messages, but the main purpose of this post was to share the symptoms. I still find it interesting how few articles are available on the Internet (and social media) describing the symptoms and recovery.
It’s now been 14 days since my first symptoms. Over the Easter Bank Holidays and Jewish festival days I took advantage by napping through the day and taking it very easy.
Right now, I can stay awake most days, although I often need to sleep for an hour or two. I am getting between 9 and 12 hours sleep each night (basically in bed by 9pm most evenings).
I can walk for to the end of the road (about 150 metres) and back without stopping. But if I see a neighbour for a chat (yes, at a distance) then I need to lean against a wall or a car – I don’t have the strength to stay standing while talking.
Update – 24 April (21 days after first symptoms)
I’m now feeling much, much better. I even went on my indoor, stationary bike twice this week on Wednesday & Thursday. (I woke up on Wednesday dreaming about cycling!) The sessions were interesting because they record my pedal power. Power has dropped by 30% in the 3 weeks (210W to 150W). That could be the virus or lack of exercise I’m not sure.