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I’m not sure why it took me so long to finally come down with COVID-19, but it was rough enough to make up for any lost time. I got COVID-19 last week, so as an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) patient, the whole experience is still fresh in my mind. Whatever variant I got felt anything but mild.

Am I saying that Omicron, the current dominant strain of the illness, is not a milder form of the other strains? I really don’t know what to compare it to because I don’t know which one I had. It was definitely worse than the flu.

I knew pretty well going into it I would not be facing death. Still, I had to wonder how asthma would affect me and how the other lung issues I have would play into it. I think they did.

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When I used my inhaler, it made a difference at first but afterward, it was ineffective. Then came a lot of deep emotions that I don’t fully understand. I felt isolated from my friends and family. Another emotion was the feeling that I was beaten down from all the pain in my head, ribs, back, and generally the rest of my body.

Sometimes I cried out in sheer pain. Fearing liver damage, I could take only so much acetaminophen to handle the pain. I don’t like using aspirin or NSAIDs for medical reasons. As such, while I slept using acetaminophen, the back, rib, head, and throat pain and my fever would only ease. It seemed like sleep was always escaping me and on several nights I would wake up to the sound of myself wailing. I hope no one else in my apartment complex heard me. But I’m fairly sure they did.

My third night after testing positive and the following morning were my worst times. I had pretty much every symptom on the list. I wanted to go to the emergency room. But I waited because I couldn’t drive myself there due to my physical condition. I also realized my case may not be treatable at the hospital, so I needed to investigate.

It was interesting talking to a nurse the next day and doing a Google search. She told me shortness of breath is a concern and when I checked my pulse and oxygen, I saw some numbers that scared me, so I went in. My friend drove me there and my sister drove me home.

I didn’t get treated there but I found my oxygen levels were much better by the time I went in (the sixth day). This was great news and the day just seemed so much sunnier from that time on. I was breathing easier already.

I have to say I am thankful for family that brought me toilet paper and friends who were willing to help me in any way. After realizing my fever was gone, I couldn’t keep my eyes open for a while. There are certain things that lead to deep sleep, such as relief and exhaustion. That was today, and I have never been so happy to be able to lie down and sleep in peace.