I ‘ VE BEEN COVID POSITIVE

the following thoughts are extracted from Beppe,


the Dear Diary of a person who tested positive to COVID

 

the day before, when I was checking the number of the infected, I told myself:

THERE ARE 53,000 positive cases…”

 

the day after, when I checked the numbers again, I told myself

WE ARE  the 59,000 positive cases…”

 

COVID positive, here I am

 

 

I spent so much time thinking about writing this article or not and —once I finished it— I thought a lot about getting it published or not and I’m still thinking about it

 

telling a story as personal as this one could have many implications and I feel so weak now that I can’t endure any other psychological pressure

 

who knows if I’ll ever have the courage to get this article published?

 

on the other hand, I also thought that this story would somehow come out of the closet sooner or later and the rumours are always worse than the real facts, so…

 

I thought that my story could help someone to feel understood or even to help someone understand that we are all under the same boat

 

for sure being in touch with people who were on my same boat helped me not to feel lost and crazy, that’s why I hope that this article will reach those who feel like I did, and it will help them not to feel lost and crazy

 

for sure I wish it were easier 

 

how did I get COVID-19?

 

the first thing everyone asked me was “how the hell did you get the virus if you live on a mountain far from the rest of the world?”

 

it happened in the same way as for all the other people: by living

 

it was March 3, 2020

 

the virus had been in Italy for a couple of weeks already and in Romagna people still didn’t talk about it so much, there were only 400 positive cases in the whole region and no restrictive measures 

 

that Tuesday night I took part in a meeting for a charitable organization we were planning a big fundraising event and that very night we decided to cancel the event, even if it would occur a couple of months later, even if none of us knew that the virus would become a pandemic

 

that would be our last meeting

 

and it was enough

 

almost each one of the participants left the room infected

 

 

 

March 22, 2020, the day of my thirty-fifth birthday

 

last night I got a call from the hospital and I received the news: the swab was positive

 

I won’t say that I didn’t expect it, the symptoms were clear, but hope is always the last thing to die and —in that moment— it died on the spot

 

it was a sharp blow

 

today when I woke up in the morning, I found a bouquet of daisies on the bedside table that my husband picked up from our garden and I also found an email in which I was notified of the forced quarantine

 

my data were given to the authorities

basically, I’m officially under house arrest

 

Dear Beppe, I don’t know how you felt about it, but I wasn’t ready

 

I was in quarantine for two weeks already and I had no intention of going out, NOT AT ALL!

but receiving an official order from of the police is psychologically heart-breaking

 

despite that, I tried to keep smiling ^_^ it’s my birthday today!

I wore elegant clothes: a white blouse with a gold sequin collar, I even put some mascara on ^ _ ^

 

I took a bath yesterday so that I could have more energy today

 

today I have to and I want to smile

 

most of my family doesn’t know that I’m sick

it’s useless to make people worry, I already have trouble sleeping at night, there’s no need to make other people feel sad

 

that’s why I decided not to say anything to my friends and family

I only told it to my mum

 

because mothers are always there to listen, and especially during this illness I needed her hug, even if this time would only be a virtual one

 

so today I want to smile and drink a toast on Skype with my beloved ones

I want to pretend that everything is all right, at least for one hour

although with every step I take, my body reminds me that I’m sick

 

we set the table outside

I didn’t have 35 birthday candles, so we filled the table with 35 regular candles and coloured candle holders

 

I felt happy, for a while

I hid the febrile red cheeks with last week’s tan

 

 

 

9:18 PM

after lunch, after the Skype call, the party was over

in my head there were only black clouds and anxiety

 

I just realized that I might have infected someone

 

I only met one person since I became contagious, after two days of incubation, before entering the voluntary quarantine

 

only one person

 

I realized that I might have infected someone

 

I realized that I nearly inflected my whole family: I greeted them unconsciously only a few hours before becoming contagious, maybe only a few minutes

 

March 22, 2020, my 35th birthday: I will remember this day as the worst day of all my quarantine 

maybe the worst of the year, of my whole life, I still don’t know

 

 

my panic attacks started

and I was already infected with a virus affecting the lungs and creating dyspnea  

 

I had a severe dyspnea

 

I had inflammation in the lungs, I took the deepest breaths ever

 

yet no air entered

 

filling the chest with air became an obsession

it expanded a lot

I didn’t think my ribcage could dilate so much

 

EVEN SO, NO AIR ENTERED!!!

 

I was breathing, but the air didn’t enter…

 

and I didn’t know where to go looking for it

 

I ran outside

 

luckily, it was cold.
Snow was about to come, and I could feel the cold air entering my body

 

more than before

 

but not enough

 

I was breathing with my mouth wide open

with my lungs growing larger

 

yet I felt I had a sort of a cap on my mouth and the air did not enter

 

it did not enter

 

it was like breathing with a pillow or a plastic bag on your face

 

I was so desperate that I started crying, I don’t know how happened, but I certainly wasn’t thinking about anything, I only wanted the air to get in

 

luckily, there’s plenty of it in the world and it was cold outside

 

my husband was scared to death —helplessness terrifies more than action— but he was close to me and he could hug me, he could help me with the breathing rhythm

 

I started breathing in small doses and I could always breathe a bit more

to go back to normal, my new normal 

 

 

it’s a heart-breaking swing, with full and half-full breaths

however, even the full ones are never completely full

 

a swing of sudden tears and constant anxiety

 

when I wake up in the morning, I have thirty seconds of half-sleep in which I feel happy, relaxed and it feels like an ordinary day. An ordinary day, before March 2020

 

then, in no time, my conscience wakes up and anxiety immediately pervades each fiber of my body. Then, tachycardia, shortness of breath, dyspnea and coughing take over…

 

it’s been like this for three weeks already

 

 

 

March 27, 2020

it’s Friday and I didn’t have fever for 4 days

36.8°C, which is already a relief

 

I still have cough and dyspnea though

but the fever went down

 

this is about to end

 

two more days without fever and I can do a new swab to check if I’m healed ^ _ ^

 

during the days, I find some moments of light heartedness in which I can slowly produce something

 

I try to come up with ideas

in these last weeks, I’ve been only able to cry and to fall into deep sleeps

 

I’m tired

 

my body is fighting and I have to stay still so as not to distract it. The hours go by fast and I’m not doing anything

 

but I can think

I can try to dream ^ _ ^

in this way my dreams multiply, but they’re hidden in a drawer

 

I can’t stand seeing myself so powerless

being unable to do anything

 

a thousand projects and zero energy

 

I think about the future, when the padlocks will open again, how life will look like after all this and I don’t find a positive thought, I can’t find a positive idea of how the “after” is going to be like

 

 

it’s Monday, it’s 2.30 PM

and I just came home, I went on a trip to the hospital

just to find out if I am ahead or he is

 

just to stare at those white walls for some time before I could hear the following words coming from a stranger’s mouth

“Sara, you’re fine, the X-rays show no substantial damage, you can go back home”

 

On Saturday, fever returned: 37.1°C

yesterday I had 37.2°C

today I have 37.3°C

 

the bitch is back 

 

the task force doctors came to visit me at home

 

they were dressed as in the American sci-fi movies

I didn’t think they were true

you never think that what you see in the movies is true, like those yellow school buses in the US or the milk vans with no door

 

instead, it’s all true

 

they took nearly fifteen minutes to get dressed, to be able to visit me hoping not to get infected

 

they wore three pairs of gloves, overalls that covered them from the neck to the ankles, boots, caps, two masks and a giant plastic visor going all around their faces

 

I couldn’t see anything else than their eyes

 

 

on the plastic visor, I spotted the Italian flag and the caption FORZA RAGAZZI, which literally means YOU CAN DO IT, GUYS

 

I didn’t notice it at the beginning

I saw it when the doctor came closer to me to count my heart beats

 

she warned me before getting closer 

as if to ask for my permission, as if to tell me not to get too close, as well

but her look was full of affection

 

I kept smiling

I wouldn’t want her to be there for me

I wouldn’t want anybody to worry about me

I wouldn’t want to be a burden on anyone

 

but I couldn’t even go food shopping, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some sweet volunteers bringing groceries here, people who are risking getting sick only for bringing food to a sick woman

 

what a terrible thing to be powerless… 

 

during the 60 seconds in which the doctor’s hand was touching my chest to count my heartbeats, I kept observing that caption saying FORZA RAGAZZI —YOU CAN DO IT, GUYS and I was so moved

 

I’ve been crying a lot in these days

even when I don’t think about anything, I just cry

 

I think it’s due to the fact that I’m breathing this air full of sadness all around the world…

 

anyway, Dear Beppe

the heart beats are a bit accelerated, the oxygen saturation seems okay, but something wasn’t okay

fever was not okay

 

I was urgently taken to the hospital for a chest X-ray

 

it’s better to do a check-up, they said

I knew that a young body could fight the symptoms of the virus better, that it could resist the attack longer

but if the city wall fell, everything else would fall, because all the soldiers would gradually have been sent to the front

 

 

(quote in the photo: let’s try it today… you never know … maybe it’s the right day.)

 

Friday, April 3, 2020

this day should have been the last day of quarantine for the whole country, as per administrative order

 

but it wasn’t the case

it seemed that Italy would remain paralyzed until May…

 

today was supposed to be my last day of forced quarantine, the last day under house arrest,
basically, I would have been able to go to the supermarket to buy groceries

 

but it wasn’t the case

 

I was getting better, then the fever came back

Saturday: 37.1°C

Monday: 37.3°C

Wednesday: 37.5°C

Thursday: 37.7°C

 

what a disaster

 

I went back to the start

once again, I went back to doing nothing, not even with my head…

 

 

three days later:

it’s Monday, the fever increased again, the oxygen saturation decreased

today the visit from the doctors of the task force was worse than last week’s

 

an ambulance came to pick me up, to bring me to the hospital and do other check-ups

they told me to bring some clothes with me as I might not be able to come back home

 

I cried while getting ready: I was scared

I didn’t even manage to call my mom 

 

but am I really scared?

what am I scared of?

I’m not afraid of dying, I guess…

am I afraid of suffering? am I really afraid of dying???

 

the truth is 

 

I’m afraid of making OTHERS suffer for me

 

now I get it 

I still feel guilty for that time, four years ago, when I killed an earthworm by mistake

I don’t want anybody to suffer

and my husband was worried, indeed

my mom was worried

the doctors were worried

 

and I could hurt someone, just by breathing close to them

 

it’s terrifying

 

generally, I’m the one reassuring, the one cuddling, the one colouring the others… the one making them feel better, the one transforming a bad memory into a good one

 

I’m not the one making other people worry

 

I don’t want to be the one making other people feel bad

 

 

 

two more days later

it’s Wednesday

 

I’m staring at the white wall of the hospital, while I wait for the exam result that could change the upcoming hours or even my entire life

 

I stare at a white wall

I try to read, but come on, nobody will buy it, I can’t read anything

I applied the oximeter to my finger and I ‘m relieved for a while, it marks 99 and I understand that everything is okay

 

I’m waiting

 

in ten days, I went to the hospital three times

I hope that would be the last time

 

 

 

 

I’m young, I’m 35, I enjoy walking in the garden with the oximeter on my finger, I also enjoy my pills-based breakfast

 

I’ve been painting my nails for weeks, but not the index finger of the right hand, that one remained free for my new travel buddy: the oximeter

 

I can say I’m doing fine

 

even if every day is a swing, my dear Beppe

 

for a day or two the fever decreased, I had around 37°C and I felt happy, because I finally started noticing some improvement

 

the next day I woke up happy and optimistic, in a good mood!

 

 

I said to myself “now I’ll get up and I’ll do some work on my laptop, let’s do this!”

 

I got up, took the thermometer: it showed 37.4°C again

AGAIN!!!

I felt tired, again

I felt the warmth in the lungs, again

the oxygen saturation was low, again

I was down, again

 

fter the swing lifted me up, I went down again

 

now I started taking an “experimental” drug

 

the doctors gave me a strong antirheumatic drug that seems to have an effect on the virus, it doesn’t kill it, but it stops it

 

let’s hope so

 

how long will this last? for sure it’s not over

but the world outside is still waiting, nobody is going anywhere, we can all wait, we all have time and now we also have all the time we want

 

I hope that we’ll be able to save some time for later, also

when the padlocks will reopen, I hope that people will adopt a lifestyle which is more human and less mechanical

 

 

(the quote in the photo: the little is not nothing)

Friday, April 17, 2020

I slowly started reading and writing again

I started meditating again, now I’m able to do it a bit

 

indeed, the fever is still there, every single day for a couple of hours, and when it shows up I immediately start being afraid to relapse, every day I hope it’s going to be the first day without fever, but it didn’t happen so far

 

even the cough is still there, even the tiredness

 

but I’m convinced that I’m healed

 

I’m convinced that these are “only” the side effects of COVID

the side effects of the medicines I took

 

I just wait and keep monitoring my values and pretend they’re normal, I don’t care anymore, I pretend nothing is going on

 

I just want to see things change now 

 

I turned my life, my job, my dreams and my convictions upside down

 

I started many projects

I need to see things change

 

I also took my husband hostage and I played Tetris with all the furniture of the office and the house, we also decided to paint my office again

 

I NEED TO SEE THINGS CHANGE

 

and who knows, maybe on Monday I’ll also be able to do yoga and walk

 

 

how weird is that…

in order to live, the virus has to kill me

and if I die, then it dies too

 

it necessarily has to die, it doesn’t have a chance to survive, but I do

it’s a very consumerist concept…. 

COVID invades a body and squeezes it to the core, it takes as much as possible, to finally die with the body

 

do you associate it with something, dear Beppe?

I do… 

 

it reminds me of mankind

this absurd consumerist viral form is mankind. Men squeeze the Earth in every way, and they still want more and more…

 

and there is only one destiny: if the Earth dies, men will die with her

 

but men have a brain that can do a lot of things, if they want to

 

why can’t we just accept the compromise of living with less?

why can’t we resize our lifestyle and mutate from a deadly VIRUS into a useful and necessary bacterium, such as lactic ferments in our intestine?

 

 

April 24, 2020

 

 

52 days have passed since my infection

 

the second swab turned out negative 

today is the first day of the rest of my life

 

tomorrow is April 25, the Liberation Day in Italy, and tomorrow I should get the official notice declaring the end of my quarantine

 

I’ll be free too

 

free not to infect anyone 

 

and maybe now even the nightmares will disappear, those in which I infected everyone, and I couldn’t do anything about it

 

but actually, being healed from COVID doesn’t mean feeling good 

 

COVID can generate many diseases in a body

 

there are people who suffered serious lungs damage for years, months, or perhaps decades and they live with it

that’s not my case, but there are also other possible damages

 

I’m fighting against an infection that nobody knows where it is, nobody knows if it’s there but still, it will keep my body tied down for a while longer

 

the battle against COVID weakens the body and it may lead to some latent problems that were once hidden or kept under control, which can alter everything

it may also have opened the doors to other enemies

or it may not have damaged the lungs, but may have damaged the heart, the kidneys, the liver

 

now that I am no longer positive to COVID, I’m about to start the second part of the war, the one related to POST COVID complications

 

in the meantime, tomorrow is the Liberation Day and I already put two bottles in the fridge, one for tomorrow and one for today

 

 

 

May 1, 2020

I’ve been sick for 59 days

 

I started a new treatment, more pills for breakfast ^_^

 

damn, it’s hard … for now I feel a bit down but let’s hope this swing will bring me up again

 

outside it’s sunny, flowers bloom and I’m full of dreams, books to read and projects to carry on

 

I’m not sleeping much at night, 

 

I always go to bed very late and, as soon as I open my eyes, my mind wakes up and in a second it fills with thousand anxieties and thousand ideas

 

consequently, even my heart, my tachycardia and my passion wake up

 

now things have all mixed together

 

it’s true that the world will never be the same again, maybe I won’t be the same again, not even my body

 

so now I’m living with tachycardia and oxygen saturation changes,

with fever, chills, dyspnea, cough, diarrhea, dry skin and cold hands sometimes and… let me think… what else is there?

 

every now and then I argue with my body, like today while I was making lasagne and the cough wouldn’t let me work!

 

but let’s say that now it’s all part of my new routine

 

I understood that delegating is a powerful way to do things, especially when the body doesn’t help, and I’m learning to do it ^ _ ^

 

I prepared and implemented so many projects… and I’m so proud of it!

for sure if I weren’t sick it would take less time for everything, but that’s why I’m even more proud of it

 

I see people who are exhausted by this period, but still, they’re in good health conditions

overwhelmed by their life and by the wrong choices made before the pandemic

 

in my case, I feel my body weakened by this virus, 

but I’ve never felt so alive inside

 

 

for sure I can’t draw or paint

but I can think, dream and write

 

I can also have phone meetings, with a little patience and training ^_^

 

I am reinventing my whole life, my beliefs and my motivations

 

I observed and listened in silence, I chose the people I want to have close to me in this new life

 

and I prepared a huge restoration project, because I want to be better, today more than yesterday, always 

 

despite the COVID, or perhaps even thanks to it 

in a couple of days, the PHASE2 will start

 

a gradual reopening of the padlocks that will make us understand if we have enough diligence to be able to keep the virus under control without a new wave of infections

 

are you familiar with the arrival of a child into a family? or with the arrival of a new puppy?

you suddenly realize that the house is not safe, and you start fixing things up as the newcomer shows them to you… but COVID is invisible

 

will we still be able to make this world a safer place?

 

from Monday, we’ll be able to see our families again

 

well, not me

 

because my immune system is compromised, and I could get sick very easily and make room for other problems

 

so, on Monday I’ll have to call my relatives and tell them everything, the whole truth

  

I’ll have to tell them “I’m sorry, you can’t come over to see me, and gather all in the living room, united but distant, wearing masks, gloves and a glass of wine while having a chat… because I tested positive to COVID more than 60 days ago and my body is weak and you could get very sick”

 

those healthy people, my family, they are my bacteriological bombs

 

 

 

May 12, 2020

I went on a trip to the First Aid again, again my values ​​were shitting and it was better to spend a day at rest in a stretcher, rather than under the cherry tree, to have some tests done

 

every time I get out of there I feel better, I have more certainties, a bit of numbers and drawings that tell me that “everything will be fine”

 

Sunday I took the last pill of my treatment cycle and I decided that yesterday was the last day to be sick

 

today I’m starting to take new pills, this time it’s not medicines but restorative bombs

 

I decided that there is no infection in my body, even if the values ​​are not perfect

I decided that the heart and other muscles just need a little help, but they are fine

I decided that if my hands are shaking and I cannot write, it is only my body destroyed, but there is no battle going on

 

like after the war when you have to start with the reconstruction works and you know that the dictator is no longer there and not even his generals

 

I decided that the “PIMP MY BODY” PHASE begins

 

I decided that I will publish this article, as soon as I have the strength to hold the cellphone in my hand for a little longer 

 

because I want everything to end

 

I was a volcano of ideas, despite everything

 

I never stopped dreaming and carrying on my dreams

it took me much longer, it’s okay

 

I found a new way of life, like when a black swan crosses your street and you suddenly react to the impact

 

I want to put a point to this chapter and write the word “end”

I want to not add more pages here, but to open a new diary

 

what a coincidence…. when the free pages of this Diary end right now, right here

 

 

I love you Beppe, thank you for listening to me for 72 days, see you there, among the pages of the next Diary

 

it will probably starts like this:

“Dear Beppe, I have been positive to COVID, but now I am fine”

 

. The End .


BENEFIT