Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Health talk

It has been a tough week. I have not been feeling well, out of energy and breath. Accomplished little in a productive sense. About five days ago I was eating dinner when I felt a sudden crushing weight on my chest. It hasn't gone away. I have not had a decent nights sleep since, a couple hours a night max. Hard to get anything done when you are feeling this bad.

I called my cardiologist yesterday morning and reported my symptoms. He asked me if I had been Covid 19 tested? I told him I had but that the company that tested me said that the results would not be available until Wednesday night at the earliest. I did not want to endanger the people in his office and we agreed that I would come in and test my heart when things were clearer. If things got critical I would go to the ER.

It did not feel like a heart attack, I have had one of those before but that pain radiated more in the back of my arms than being localized on my pectoral muscle. It was constant and painful. No sign of atrial fibrillation.

Last night I noticed a rash on the chest area and below it as well. My mind immediately went to the worst case scenario. I knew that there had been a large incidence of a dermatological condition called Covid 19 rash and unfortunately it looked a lot like what I had in the pictures I saw and was an early symptom of the disease. That dovetailed a little too nicely with a chest pressure that many people in my age group were getting that suffered from Covid 19. I was pretty convinced. I was screwed. A certified covidian with not a snowball's chance of making it.

I would quarantine for the foreseeable future and also call all the people I had run into the last week and tell them to be on guard. All night I grappled with thoughts of my impending doom and downright shitty luck. Not to mention guilt and shame for the people that I may have inadvertently infected.

I got a call this morning from a retired cardiologist friend of mine and explained the situation to him. He asked to see a picture of the rash, which is now blistering. Texted him a shot. He said that it looked like plain old shingles to him. He said that it could manifest chest pressure like I was experiencing as well. I called my longtime general doctor and he concurred in the diagnosis. Wrote me a script for valacyclovir.

Shingles is a herpes zoster virus that strikes people with weakened immune systems, undergoing cancer treatments, who are aging and also undergoing emotional stress. Bingo. The superfecta. I had it once as a kid, in my mouth and it was excruciatingly painful. Same virus that causes chicken pox only it hides in the body for fifty years or so and then pops up when you least want to see it. At this stage it is manageable but it is certainly not pleasant. Two to five weeks of topically painful misery in store.

Anyway, still it beats the hell out of having the corona virus. which I do not have. The results came in tonight. Negative. Yay. Relieved is not the word.