COVID symptoms after recovery

As I sit here to write this I am annoyed at the scratching along my stomach and chest. See I have a heart halter attached to me to monitor the irregular heart beating and shortness of breath I've been experiencing for the last few months.

I recently wrote about passing the pandemic in paradise where I talked about being trapped in Nicaragua when COVID arrived and started trashing the Americas. I also wrote about how I had COVID in March of this year.

Well about 3-4 months ago I started feeling very weird palpitations in my chest. It felt like my heart would skip a beat and a "wave" would go down my body and I'd have to take a huge breath to catch up. I don't know how else to explain it but that's what it felt like.

I'd also be dizzy and light headed. Once I sat on the floor because I thought I was going to pass out. Sometimes I have shortness of breath. Like I need to take super deep breaths to feel normal.

Other symptoms I have are numb hands, feet, shins and calves. It's mostly my hands and shins/calves but it's almost a permanent state. Sometimes my left arm feels heavier than my right, if that makes any sense.

The oddest symptom is the smokey metallic smell that lingers in my nose for periods of times. Sometimes it's just a whiff but other times It'll be there for an hour or longer.

I saw two doctors and had two video consultations with my California doctor while in Nicaragua. I had blood drawn (which led to another unlucky event dealing with my right hand but I'll skip that), EKG's, oxygen measurements, blood pressure measurements, etc.

Apparently I'm perfectly healthy. It's so frustrating to know you're feeling weird with scary symptoms and having your doctors say everything is fine. It's anxiety or lack of b-complex vitamins; two things my doctor told me was the cause of my symptoms. Hint: they weren't.

I found an interesting article by the American Heart Association that describes common symptoms for people who have "recovered" from COVID. Some lingering after affects for us lucky ones.

Chung and Fonarow advise those recovering from COVID-19 to watch for the following symptoms – and to consult their physician or a cardiologist if they experience them: increasing or extreme shortness of breath with exertion, chest pain, swelling of the ankles, heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, not being able to lie flat without shortness of breath, waking up at night short of breath, lightheadedness or dizzy spells.

This paragraph really hit me hard because it basically describes everything I have been feeling (except I don't have swollen ankles).

I printed the article out and took it with me to see my doctor last week. I figured I'd need the backup since he was now trying to say it's a mixture of anxiety, weight gain, and too much meat.

I quickly countered with not feeling anxious, I've gained a whopping one pound, and I've been fully vegan for more than 3 years. For some reason he really didn't want me to do any further investigation. I finally demanded some sort of ultrasound to see if my heart is enlarged.

He got mad, ordered the heart halter and an echocardiogram. I hope that shows something so I at least know there's an issue and hopefully be given a plan for treatment.

So for now I have about 12 hours left wearing this heart halter and my echocardiogram is scheduled for next week. I'll update this post once I know more but I have my fingers crossed that this virus didn't leave me with long term damage.

From Dr. Fonarow himself

As I was writing this post I decided to send a tweet to Dr. Fonarow and ask for some advice on how to deal with the symptoms.

He replied in a direct message. His response was:

Appreciate that this article may have been helpful. Best general recommendation would to be evaluated by your physician. At this stage there are not specific recommendations but some of the strategies used for those with symptoms after other similar viruses may be tried.

I'm very grateful that he replied but pretty bummed there seems to be no current course of action. Maybe this is just my new normal. I hope it doesn't last too much longer.