My Turn

So here I was, thinking for so long that I was somehow immune. Other people – out there – were contracting COVID during that recent, historic, horrific pandemic, but not me. I thought I must be doing something right, or maybe I had a stronger constitution. I popped lots of vitamins (especially C), took sufficient precautions, got the vaccinations, and reveled in my Taurus-the-bull stubborn, sturdy strength.

Two rounds of COVID, and I remained unscathed. Talk of a new variant in the wind, and I didn’t give it much thought. I’d read somewhere about a new, free vaccination drive here in San Miguel de Allende, like the ones held for the previous COVID iterations, which I’d taken advantage of; but I failed to make a note of this one.

Then this week I got a surprise. This week it was my turn to experience COVID first-hand.

For those who haven’t gone through it yet – and, in the interest of science (not to elicit pity; no sympathy notes, please) — I’ll share my still-raw experience. I understand the symptoms and severity vary from person to person, but this is my story:

First, this new COVID variant comes at you out of nowhere and thwacks you on the side of the head as if with a two-by-four, sending you reeling, then splat, flat. Everything – every bone, every tooth, every cell, every pore, every hair follicle – hurts. Especially your head; I had to hold mine in both hands to keep it from exploding.

It’s like the worst flu you’ve ever experienced because this thing has sharper teeth. You go to bed with a heating pad and spend a long, dark night of the soul shaking with fever and praying to die. Then when you wake and realize your prayers weren’t answered, you take action.

I asked my upstairs neighbor to try to find a COVID test for me somewhere in town. (My pounding head couldn’t pinpoint where.) He succeeded. The test’s instructions were in none of the languages I’m familiar with, so I couldn’t read them; plus my eyes hurt so much I didn’t try. I suspected COVID, but I wanted to have proof.

When my muy amable (very kind) landlord, Gabriel (“Angel Gabriel” to me), who lives next door, came home and learned that I was ill, he arranged for a doctor to come and see me here at home right away to examine me and  administer the test. Sure enough, within minutes, the test registered positive. The doctor prescribed several medications – Amoxicilina, Antiflu-Des, Ibuprofeno, and Histiacil (cough syrup) — which Gabriel then ran and got for me at a pharmacy in town.

(FYI: This young Mexican family-doctor’s house call cost only $600 pesos, or roughly $33 USD. All together, the prescriptions came to $410 pesos, or about $25 USD.)

I’ve been taking the medicine for the COVID symptoms (there is no specific COVID medication yet, I learned) every eight hours since, and I’m thankful to report I’m slowly on the mend. No more killer headaches or body aches, no more death wishes. But I still have some residual weakness and dizziness – and, of course, a scratchy throat and some coughing. I’m now in quarantine and will remain at home in my apartment until the end of next week. (For this introvert, having to stay home is not a hardship.)

So the question for me now is: How did this happen? Answer: I really don’t know. If a quasi-recluse like me can come down with COVID out of the blue, anybody can. And this new variant appears to be stealthy.

A writer friend wrote to me the other day when she learned I’d contracted COVID and told me, “After skirting it for 3-plus years, I tested positive in late August. It seems everyone I know who escaped it previously has not been so lucky this past season.”

Another friend, who’d recently returned to San Miguel after visiting her daughter and baby granddaughter in California, reported that on her return flight there were many people – all headed for Guanajuato – who were coughing and sneezing. “Only one other passenger besides myself was wearing a mask,” she told me. “Listening to all of the coughers and sneezers, I began to feel very sad for San Miguel. That’s why I’m still walking about heavily masked.”

Frida in a mask

The moral of this story, of course, is that we must actively seek out the latest COVID vaccine and, in the meantime, dig out those face masks we used to wear when they were mandatory and wear them again in public places voluntarily.

I’ve learned that none of us is immune to life’s unforeseen wallops.

I’ve learned that this new COVID variant is truly out there, lurking.

I’ve also learned (again) that I am very lucky: to be here in this apartment, which I love profoundly (despite the never-ending demolition/construction noise next door); to have a landlord who genuinely cares about my welfare; to have a large circle of friends, both Mexican and gringo, who’ve offered whatever assistance I need; to be the beneficiary of Mexican health care, which is excellent – and affordable for me.

I’m still weak and woozy, but I’ll be all right soon. Please take care of yourselves. Get your shots. Wear those masks.

56 thoughts on “My Turn”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this first hand account. I’m heading out to grocery shop. I will be wearing a mask.

  2. Que lastima! My dear, how awful for you! I have escaped the lurking evil so far. I had a slight cough for the last few days, tested negative twice. After reading your harrowing tale, I’m grateful for dodging the bullet once again.

  3. Absolutely, get those vaccines, for flu, RSV, and the latest COVID. Your body will thank you.
    Stay strong Bonnie!

  4. I’ve had Covid twice… nothing like you describe so I guess that I’ve been lucky. Yesterday I went to our local pharmacy and got my shot… I’ve heard too many horror stories about this new strain.

  5. So sorry to hear this Bonnie. Hope you are on the mend and aren’t we lucky to have such good support systems here?

  6. Bonnie. OMG—I am here from Florida and had told Colleen I want to take you both to dinner. Continue to FEEL BETTER. I adore your writing. I’ll be here until end of November. Let Colleen know when you are ready to get out. COVID is wicked!

  7. so happy you are on the mend Bonnie ! My family here has all had covid- except me- will be getting the new booster pronto. Take care xxjudy

  8. A Taurus through and through. No doubts that your bull will carry you through this. But in the mean time, can I just say lo siento.

  9. Glad you are on the upswing Bonnie. Indeed I’m seeing more masks and hearing more stories like yours, although no one I know has had it with the intensity of your symptoms. So glad you have perfect vecinos.

    1. Gracias, Querida. Actually, it’s not so bad now. The first couple of days were tough, but it’s getting easier — I just loll around and read and sleep! Malaria was a lot tougher than this.

  10. So glad you’re on the mend! And surrounded by caring friends and neighbors.
    I had Covid for the first time at the end of May. Definitely not the variety you describe, but I had wicked congestion and cough and FEVER for a week, something I had no recollection of at any other point in my life. Didn’t feel truly fully well again for a month.
    On another note, planning to return to SMA for the month of February and look forward to seeing you then!

    1. Good to hear from you, Cheryl, and I’m happy to know you’ll be back in SMA in Feb. Yes, COVID does seem to come in lots of varieties. Mine hasn’t affected my lungs much. I’m hoping, of course, that it passes quickly.

  11. Hi Bonnie. Glad you are on the mend. I just had it and just got a pulmonary embolism. Be aware this can cause clotting leading to embolism. Any chest pain right or left head to a hospital. I am OK now but on blood thinners for three months.

  12. Love that masked-up Frida! And in that holy candle! I found a votive with Robin Williams in saint’s garb, which stands in our living room.

    1. I’ve just looked into this, Sondra, because several of my “senior” friends in the States who took Paxlovid when they contracted COVID recently asked me the same question. It seems that Mexico does have it, but not for the private sector and only for emergency use. You might ask Dr. Google to get a fuller answer.

  13. Dear Bonnie
    We met you with dear Adam earlier this year. So very sorry you went through a pretty awful case of Covid. But you have survived and will once again be, fit as a fiddle. My husband and I haven’t gotten it, yet. There is always a first time but we are up on the latest vaccines. Hope to see you on our next visit to SMA. Cheers Kathy Higgins

  14. I missed you at Urban Sketchers today. Now I know why. I was equally shocked last August 2022 when I got Covid. Everyone I knew, said, but you are the most careful person. No idea where I got it, but it only takes a moment. I hope you feel steadily better each day.

    1. Thank you, Karen. Yes, “it only takes a moment,” and who knows when and where that moment was? I’m glad you recovered from your bout with COVID. I’m looking forward to the end of mine!

  15. Dearest Bonnie,
    Its really awful when one is sick. I understand the pain in the joints and a headache that felt like my skull was being crushed! After 3 years of avoiding it, I succumbed when a family member brought it home. I took nothing and had no appetite for three weeks but was incredibly grateful that my lungs were unaffected. I’ve heard about new cases popping up recently, so it seems this wretched virus will be around forever along with its derivations. Drink lots of fluids and rest-probably the best you can give your body. I’m glad you have a few people who care enough to keep an eye on you. I hope you get better very soon.

    1. Oh, my, Loula! You took nothing for it? For three weeks? How awful. I’m so sorry. Like your experience, my lungs haven’t been affected either. But my head still feels like mush, and sleep is my main accomplishment every day so far. I’m glad you pulled through. Thank you for your well-wishes, BB

  16. I too just came through the gauntlet of the new Eris Covid. I went to the US and had to wait for several hours in DMV with about thirty others. Voila, both myself and my neighbor came down with it.
    Brutal, merciless, unforgiving. Emergencee drinks helped, Theraflu in the beginning. The Paxlovid must be taken within the first 5 days, and it has side effects to other meds. I was past five days when I got my test. I learned you can continue to test positive for weeks after you are no longer contagious.
    The aftermath? I had to delay my return to SMA. I was not able to endure three flights, and was still coughing even if I couldn’t spread it. I do not have my normal energy back, and must take “slow time” in the afternoons. Pace myself.
    They define this as a “lighter “Covid,but that is not the case it seems for those of us who are seniors and did not get the first Covids. The vaccine is evidently only helpful for about four months , so I think our time of enduring the hacking and gasping, may be of more protection than the vaccine could be now.

    Easy breathing to you,
    Fiona MacNeill

    1. Dear Fiona — Thanks so much for sharing your experience with this new COVID variation. Yes, it packs a wallop. I hope you’re doing better now. I learned about Paxlovid only yesterday; several WOW readers in the States wrote to me about it. But here in Mexico, I understand, it’s not readily available. And even if it had been available to me, I would have missed the window of opportunity. So we carry on — pacing ourselves. Best wishes, Bonnie

  17. Thank you for this important public service post. I wish the 2 people I know (and like) here in SMA who refuse to get vaccinated would read it. It is possible to get COVID and to have no symptoms. That person would be lucky, but they could spread it without knowing it. Where can I get a good cotton mask with a pocket for a filter that has a Day of the Dead design on it?

    1. Thank you for this, Charmane. Maybe you could share this post with those two friends and urge them to read it, for their own sakes? I’m afraid I can’t tell you where to buy the mask you describe, but I’m sure if you ask around town someone will guide you.

  18. I’m so relieved to know you’re on the road to recovery. I have thus far managed to escape the scourge. Knock wood. Good reminder to buy some new masks and pick up a couple kits before I travel south. Bee well bee bee.

  19. So sorry that Covid finally got to you Bonnie! I guess I must count my blessings that I only leave the house about once a month for an appointment and no one is around when I do! I have not had covid and had the two shots that were available in Mexico. BUT, there are no shots available now for the new variant although a flu shot is available now.
    I am heading to the USA in December for the first time in six years and flying! I will be sure to wear two masks
    in hopes of protection. I already have lung damage hence I am VERY careful……….So glad you have help and that a dr. came to the house. Isn’t it amazing that we can get help here from neighbors and friends? The doctor coming to the house thrills me each time. Take care.

  20. May each day bring you more health. As someone who has not yet had covid, your story gives me the reality that no one is out of the box. Laura

  21. Far worse than you let on when we ‘talked.’ Take care and allow your friends to help. Looking forward to out PVRHS tea. Abrazos, Suzanne

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I’m actually much, much better now. I’m out of quarantine and up and about (masked). Yes, I’m looking forward to our mini-reunion too — lunch, not tea. — 🙂

  22. Dear Bon,
    Your post is a wonderful public service announcement. I was away last week and wore a mask the whole time I was in public. On Amtrak, I would guess 5% of the passengers were masked. I don’t think I’ve had Covid, and your video is a great reminder not to let my guard down. I’m so happy you’re feeling better!

    1. Thank you for this, dear Paul. Yes, I was hoping this post would urge people to be more aware. I think I — and likely others — had become a tad lax. I am feeling better, thanks, but it’s a surprisingly slow process. Stay well! — BB xx

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