You can call me Gabs! Major Whovian. 20, Long Island, St. John's Pharmacy school. Basically a two-year-old stuck in a twenty-year-old's body.
to finally be feeling better. to finally be up and about and not stuck laying in bed all day. AND to be seeing my friends, which i wasn’t able to do for the longest time. i’m just happy all of my symptoms are subsiding and i’m at this point where i FEEL healthy, and just have to wait until i AM healthy.
okay picture this: for at least 2-4 weeks
it starts with lumps. one on the back of the head, two behind the ears (lymph nodes) and two on the throat. slight pain in the throat, but nothing unmanageable.
the pain starts getting worse. put in a phone call to the doctor, who claims it’s a double ear infection and throat infection. gives me meds which of course, don’t put a dent in the illness. she recommends i go to get a blood test to test for mono, and i laugh at her because hey, who would i have gotten mono from? but, to humor her, i go.
the doctor at the emergency clinic says i test negative for strep (hooray!). they’re sending in my blood for the mono test, and since i’m over 18, i can opt for the “quick result test.” she walks in and— SURPRISE— i tested positive for mono. no meds available because it’s a virus, but i get a handy little fact sheet on home remedies to aid my throat pain.
upon more research, i learned that apparently there’s a 4-7 week long incubation period before symptoms show, meaning i’ve had the virus for up to two months now without knowing and could have already infected people who don’t know it yet. not my fault, but doesn’t suck any less.
the next day, my throat feels like a hot iron was put down my throat, and my glands in my neck are so swollen that i look like a frog. my tonsils touch my uvula, and are pressing against the back of my tongue. they’re covered in pus, creating a terrible taste in my mouth. i’m told i can’t scrape it off, and have to let nature run its course. BUT— i can use warm salt water rinses to help get it off. naturally, i try it. naturally, i regret it. the rinse completely burns my tonsils more and dries them out so that they get irritated and make it unbearable to swallow so much as a little saliva, let alone anything else. i sleep every few hours in part because i’m exhausted (a side effect) and in part because i want to escape the pain a bit. swallowing my saliva (let alone any food or drinks) feels like hot knives are clawing at the inside of my throat, and the pain is unbearable. they tell you to drink a ton of fluids, but they don’t tell you how painful it’ll be to do so.
besides the throat pain, my ears are clogged and my nose is 100% stuffed. i can’t breathe at all through my nose, and my hearing is muffled. i tried to blow my nose a bunch of times, but nothing comes out. it just causes more pain in the rest of my body. consistently breathing through my mouth has my mouth and lips dry, and causes my tonsils to dry out, making them even more irritated. waking up is the worst part of the day because i have to scramble to medicate/sooth my glands because they feel like they’re on fire. while eating (when i rarely CAN eat solid food), i have to take breaks every few seconds to breathe through my mouth because i can’t breathe through my nose. it’s hard to drink because i can’t breathe either. everything is just so laborious.
the swollen glands in my mouth make it hard for me to talk. between my stuffy nose and my tonsils sitting on my tongue, i sound like what they call “potato mouth.” people can barely understand what i’m saying and i speak so muffled and unclearly no matter how hard i try. the pus on my tonsils that rubs against my tongue puts a disgusting taste in my mouth. no matter how much i brush my teeth, use mouthwash, or drink water, the taste is always there. a major side effect of mono is having bad breath— no wonder why.
if i walk up the stairs, i run out of breath. the fatigue is so heavy that even sitting and staying awake to watch TV makes me tired. moving around makes it even worse.
as time goes on, i get less fatigued, but the pain in my throat is worse. advil and tylenol don’t help, along with the throat-numbing spray my mom got me. the only remedy to the throat pain that temporarily helps seems to be 3 advil, a sucrets lozenge and a cup of hot tea. again, only temporarily helps.
as of now, the pus has started to subside as did the fatigue, but my throat pain is still present. i’ve began eating some solid food again, but it still causes me pain.
apparently i’m a lucky one because i didn’t get the “full package” with super high fevers and not being able to move, but this feels pretty damn shitty to me.
what sucks more than anything? you have to deal with these symptoms for 2-4 weeks before they clear up, and you’ll still be contagious for months after that. i’ll have to take a blood test in a few months to see if i’m safe. i’m sick of my siblings treating me like a quarantine victim, being scared to even come near me. it’s exhausting feeling like a sick diseased person. the doctor said apparently even after it’s finally completely out of my system, anytime i get stressed or anxious, the fatigue will almost always come back.
bottom line: when the stress of pharmacy school is breaking me down, the ghost of mono aka fatigue will come to make me fall asleep instead of studying.
i’m actually starting to feel better. nowhere close to normal, but better than i have been in the last week. i can go a few hours without sleeping, found ways to dull the pain in my throat, and the pus is finally starting to go away.
today i left my house for the first time in a week. mom treated me and jules to a mani pedi which was nice, but i got fatigued quicker than i thought. i was able to relax once i got home, which was helpful. i even was able to do about 3 loads of laundry and bring them up on my own, which is a lot considering the condition i was in only two days ago.
i’m hoping i’ll get healthier each and every day. i’m so lucky to say i apparently got the “lesser” strain of mono, and wasn’t in bed unable to move with over 100 degree fevers for weeks. doesn’t make what i’m feeling suck any less, but it helps to know it could always be worse. it makes me thankful. at this point, my only concern is keeping my germs to myself, not infecting anyone else, and getting healthy as soon as possible. i wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. yeah, it’s that bad.
hopefully next week i’ll be well enough to start meeting up with friends. the good thing is i’m not “contagious.” so long as i don’t kiss anyone or share any utensils, i won’t get anyone else sick. sucks that i can’t kiss ryan for legit a few months…but we’ll make it work. apparently it takes mono symptoms 2-4 weeks to go away, but people are still contagious for months after. the only way to know for sure is to do a blood test, which i’ll have to do to see if i’m still contagious.
i just want to see my friends again. i have a handful of people who i have prioritized that i need to see soon, and i’m lucky they’ve been so patient with me being sick and all.
as much as things may kinda stink right now, it helps to see the silver lining in everything.