Post-Stroke: Feeling Ill

We all get sick, there is no way around it. I have contracted the flu, strep-throat, mono and whatever we all get. I primarily recover quick other than a year I had the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infection at the same time. I will never forget that illness (thank you, Las Vegas) Now in a post-stroke world, and still a bit fresh from surgeries, illness has become different to me. I fear vomiting, coughing or anything that places stress on my brain vessels because one might rupture. Is it a valid concern? I’m not sure, but I have been told straining is bad.

So far, I haven’t encountered an illness post-stroke other than typical allergies and bouts of fatigue here and there. Unfortunately, my bubble popped two days ago. Wednesday around 5 a.m., I had a severe bout of the stomach flu. It left me depleted and I slept most of the day. I took a shower and felt better toward the evening. I questioned if I had a food aversion or just got unlucky. I figured since I was doing okay during the evening, I would wake up the next day feeling great. This didn’t happen. I woke up this morning and it felt like a truck ran me over. It took a lot of energy for me to get to the sofa. I wrapped myself in blankets and slept for most of the day. I took another shower to see if I would feel good. The results didn’t work. As I type, I am slowly getting chills all over my body and feel a bit dizzy. Generally, I would brush this off as the flu and move on. Now we live in a COVID world. 

I haven’t been exposed to many people. I work from home and any errands I run, I have a face mask on, rush into the store and wash my hands when I get back. I don’t touch my face, and I haven’t been around others who have been positive for COVID (that they know of). I hate to think that I have it, but I decided, with some encouragement from friends, to get tested tomorrow. I hope my results come back negative and by the weekend I’m back to feeling good. If I do have it, I hope and pray and doesn’t progress much further because my immune system is compromised and can’t handle anything severe. 

Does anyone else feel scared about this illness, after stroke? Am I alone with this fear? I have been in the middle of writing my piece about self-love, however I need to press pause writing because self-love means I need to take care of myself first. It’s easy to write a short piece like this because there isn’t a lot of thought to it. Hopefully, if I recover by the weekend, I will have it finished by Monday because it means a lot to me. In addition to my piece, Eryn Martin, who experienced spontaneous perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage, graciously sent me her story to share. I think it’s very important that we stick together as a community and help one another out, so thank you Eryn for allowing me to share your story. This will be published soon.

To end, my message to everyone is listen to your body and be extra cautious. We are entering the flu and cold season. These illnesses mimic many symptoms of COVID. It’s going to be hard to tell, and I fear the strain of testing in the coming months. 

Wish me luck tomorrow. 

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