I Wanted To Get COVID-19 Over With, Thinking It Would Feel Like A Bad Flu. I Was So Wrong.

by Jeremy

I want to get it over with.

I admit this thought had crossed my mind many times in 2020, ever since first watching the SARS-CoV-2 virus rapidly spreading in China. Before cases were even reported in the United States, I remember telling my husband that people weren’t paying attention. He may have thought I was being a little paranoid, but as someone with a chronic illness — who at the time was debating whether to start taking immunosuppressants — it felt important to keep an eye on it.

That was over a year ago, and though a part of me had wanted to contract the coronavirus so I could hopefully get past it and treat my rheumatoid arthritis (which is not on the federal list of high-risk co-morbidities) without so much fear— nothing could have prepared me for the reality of experiencing “moderate” COVID-19 symptoms for myself. 

Some people may think that getting this virus is inevitable, and we’re all experiencing some major COVID-19 fatigue. In my rural community, I still regularly hear people proclaim that COVID-19 is a hoax or that it is “just the flu.”

Many argue that they don’t need to follow safety protocols because this coronavirus “only affects those with preexisting conditions and the elderly” (as if they’re somehow expendable?). I hear people around me express more fear over the vaccine than of getting COVID-19.

These attitudes are pervasive in Utah, where we’ve made headlines over conspiracy theorists storming hospitals, demanding access to ICUs; moms who follow a code not to test their children for COVID-19 to keep schools open; and anti-mask protests

Unsurprisingly, cases in Utah have soared, and our hospitals have been at or near capacity since November.  

Though some people are blessed to have mild symptoms (or even be asymptomatic), so-called moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can still be terrifying and traumatic, and severe symptoms are an emergency. I have never thought that COVID-19 was like the flu and have done enough research for health articles I have written to know of the damage it can do to the body, including the incidents of organ damage, the risk of experiencing “long-hauler” symptoms, and the growing body of evidence that the virus may cause psychosis in some individuals.  

I’ve also had a lot of disease progression with my RA this past year without treatment, and my body has begun to show signs of permanent joint damage, which cannot be reversed. This is why a part of me has wanted to just “get it over with,” hoping that it wouldn’t be severe for me. 

Ultimately, I hoped that were I to contract it, that COVID-19 would feel flu-like for me because I am in my 30s and not considered high risk.

Although I was careful and doing my best to follow safety guidelines, I contracted the coronavirus in mid-December. 

Battling COVID-19 was utterly different than I had imagined because the symptoms were unlike anything I had ever experienced. Yes, there was a fever, a cough that felt deep and ominous, and extreme muscle aches and fatigue, but it was so much more than that… and it was nothing like the flu.

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