One day, I messaged greetings to a friend who also has long-haul COVID, but I didn’t hear back from him immediately.
It wasn’t until the next day when I recognized the familiar, friendly Facebook new message ping that I found in my inbox his messages, where he recounted to me his ordeal.
He described how he experienced a TIA, or transient ischemic attack — also known as a mini stroke. His brother and step brother had to give him CPR while his family waited for an ambulance to arrive. But he didn’t recollect any of it.
“I just don’t know how much more I can take,” he cried.
His confession called me back to June 2021, when I was in my own fight against long-haul COVID symptoms, including struggling to breathe with San Antonio’s high molds, to which I had become severely allergic. Day after day, I battled with the environmental allergens and there was no reprieve in sight. I was doing everything I could to fend off any exposure to mold spores and my situation became so dire that I even covered my windows with cloth. My luxury apartment community was obsessed with landscaping the lush courtyard my balcony overlooked, and the maintenance team was diligent about cleaning the resort-inspired pool and removing debris and leaves daily, which, for me, meant more pollen particles floating nearby and worsening allergies. I often needed to retreat to the bathroom until the cleanup was complete.
I had uttered the same words to my mother, I recalled, explaining to her that I was not being pessimistic about my illness; I was s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g. I am a resilient person and have already overcome multiple hardships in life, but this illness — this long-haul COVID monster — I simply could not defeat. It was ruthless and I was in agony, and
I always have a birthday party (except during a pandemic of course). No one throws it for me. I do all the planning and even bake my favorite cake (carrot cake). I invite all my friends, there are many I am gifted to say, and I select a restaurant (I keep an eye out all year long for the perfect spot) and we all gather. I go around and take pictures of everyone with me so I can remember this time together and I can have pictures to look back on. I introduce everyone and talk about how we know each other. My friends are not friends, but they share one thing in common. They all love me.
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