Underneath my yellow skin

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Sickness in the time of COVID-19

I don’t get a temperature. I have to start out by stating that so the rest of this post will make sense. Let me be clearer–I have a base temperature of 97.5, and I have never had a temp higher than 99.5. This is important because one of the main symptoms of the COVID-19 (I always want to call it ‘the COVID-19’ for whatever reason, and I’m never quite sure if it’s COVID-19, covid-19, or Covid-19) is a fever. When this started to become a world-wide concern, I tried to figure out what a temperature for me would be. Since I started a base of 1 degree lower than most people, was a fever for me 1 degree lower than it would be for others or would it be the same? I’ve seen arguments on both side, but very sparingly because it isn’t something that scientists seem to care about. In addition, I read denigrating comments about ‘those people who claim to never have a fever’ and it was really disheartening. I mean, how the fuck am I supposed to know if I have a fever if I don’t know the definition of a fever for me?

To me, the fact that I start 1 degree lower should mean that my fever is 1 degree lower than other people’s, but the (slight) consensus is that there’s a hard line as to what a fever is. It seems to be over a hundred? I don’t know it’s also difficult to find what exactly is a fever. Apparently, 100.4 is a low-grade fever, but anything over 103 is cause for concern. On the Minnesota Department of Health website, they say that 100.4 is considered a fever for COVID-19. And a fever is a big marker of COVID-19, though not everyone with COVID-19 gets a fever. I jokingly asked if I wasn’t able to get a fever of 100.4, did that mean I couldn’t get the COVID-19? I know that’s not how it works, but it’s my way of dealing with the frustration of not knowing what a fever means for me.

I woke up with my sinuses bristling. It’s hard to explain what I mean by that, but I’ll do my best. It feels as if there are a thousand little needles pricking my nose and theĀ  area around it. It’s very minimal at this point, so it’s the start of something. I do not have a dry cough, but I am fatigued. I’m always fatigued, however. But it’s been even more than usual. Also, the fever thing is baked into recovery of COVID-19 as well. What I mean is that if you’re three days free of fever, you’re considered well enough to go out again (if you’re also free of respiratory problems). It’s frustrating that yet again, I don’t have the easy touchstone.

In addition, I have plenty of sinus issues. I’m having a problem with it at the moment. I don’t have a dry cough or shortness of breath. I do have a headache, but I always have a low-grade headache. I have diarrhea on and off, but that’s a food sensitivity issue.

Side Note: I was watching an episode of Docter Mike, whom I had been enjoying for the first few episodes I watched. The third or fourth one I chose was about food allergies, and he had an expert on. The guy was affable, but it was soon clear that he was disdainful of anything other than true allergies. He said sensitivities were not a thing and that everyone had to deal with some unpleasantness. Doctor Mike joked about everyone having a leaky gut, and they both had a hearty laugh. I had a visceral negative reaction to the video because it summed up how doctors can be so incredibly callous. Neither of them were sneering openly, but they made it very clear what they thought of people who complained about food issues that weren’t allergies.

I’ve spent years dealing with food issues. I’ll call them intolerances because that’s what they are. They are not allergies. I don’t have Celiac, and I am not going to die when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me. I will, however, have to sit on a toilet for an hour, feeling my asshole getting progressively rawer and rawer. I get dehydrated and exhausted, and I don’t feel like moving for the next hour or so. Is it life-threatening? No. Is it debilitating? Yes, even if it’s brief. No, it’s not a life-and-death matter, but it definitely is a quality of life thing. Oh, and I would say I’m allergic to alcohol because I get a shortness of breath when I drink it. But, again, I probably won’t die from a single gin and tonic, so the good doctors probably wouldn’t classify it as an allergy, anyway. In addition, it’s strange to me that allergies related to foods are deadly whereas allergies related to, say, nature aren’t necessarily.


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