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Omicron Sent Me to the ER

So many people have the new Covid variant ‘Omicron’ right now. Hopefully, those affected have mild symptoms. In my case, the symptoms were so intense I had to go to the ER.

Thursday night, I felt off like I could possibly have a cold coming. I made a cup of NeoCitrin, watched some TV and fell into a deep sleep. Early Friday morning, at around 2 a.m., I woke up and found my breathing slightly strained. There was also a strange heavy feeling in my chest. I panicked.

Jason was sleeping on the couch to avoid getting sick so I headed downstairs and told him my symptoms, and that I was feeling scared. I asked him to monitor me.

At 5 a.m,. I woke up in what I can only describe as crushing labour-like pains (like level 9), but in my chest. The pain would radiate from my chest and heart to my back. With every spasm, I screamed in agony and would vomit.

“I’m dying, this is a heart attack,” I screamed, curled in a fetal position on our bedroom floor. I started having a panic attack and couldn’t catch my breath.

Jason wanted to call an ambulance but I remembered the whole thincrust pizza I ate that evening, washed down by a mug of Neo Citrin. I had suffered a gastritis attack back in the day and this felt somewhat similar, but worse in scale due compounded by the fact that I was already struggling with a chest virus.

At this point, I still had no clue if it was Covid.

We arrived to an empty ER and was admitted right away. That’s when the lengthy procession of tests began. First, they drew blood. All clear. Next they did a scan on my heart. Looked fine. Then it was time to insert an IV and do a full CT scan on my lungs. Since I had a dangerous blood clot in my leg last year, and am now prone to clotting, they wanted to rule out a blood clot in my lung as they were certain I had covid. Thankfully, that too was fine.

I was fine with all the test so far but was dreading the nasal swab — I had one before and it was the worst. “Please be gentle” I whispered as she prodded my brain through my nasal cavity.

I was given medication to quell my stomach and was told they were pretty certain I had Covid. The ER doctor said he’s been seeing lots of crazy gastric reactions like this as a result of the variant from young(ish) healthy double-vaxed people like me.

ALSO READ: WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO QUIT DRINKING

I’ve had to quarantine in our bedroom the past 48 hours not knowing if I had covid, but the text came last night proving that I indeed am positive. Even though I’ve had the symptoms, and on some level, knew I had it, it was still a shock. After all, I’ve had like 5 tests the past year and they’ve all been negative.

During the day, I’m feeling okay. Just like I have a foggy chest, brain and minor cough. Nightime is when it gets a bit rough. I struggled to catch my breath last night and the cough went on for hours. I’ve also had some crazy, vivid dreams.

I am keeping myself occupied by making memes, looking through old photo albums, rereading old blog posts, watching Selling Sunset and listening to serial killer podcasts.

Why post this? I am 40, I have never smoked, I don’t drink, I normally eat well and I work out 5 days a week. I’m also double vaxxed, and yet, I feel like total crap.

My youngest daughter, Zoe, is now showing symptoms, too. She had a mild fever that went away after the first night, but has had a constant headache the past week that won’t let up. She wakes up, eats, then gets back into bed. Our oldest daughter and my husband have been symptom free.

I know the general message out there is that Omicron is no big deal, that it’s mild, but that’s not going to be the case for everyone. Yes, it could be a lot worse – I could be hooked up to a ventilator. But as a busy mom of two kids who works and goes to school, the last thing I want is to be confined to the walls of our cramped townhouse for a week– make that 10 since Zoe isn’t vaccinated yet.

I posted on Facebook about my experience and received an overwhelming amount of support and messages from people who are experiencing similar severe symptoms. A few are even a couple of weeks in and are still feeling sick and tired, which terrifies me.

I’m a mom, I don’t have time to be sick and tired for more than a week.

I worked from home today and as soon as my shift was over at 2:30 p.m. I slammed my laptop shut and headed for bed. Our house is in shambles, I’ve lost track of how much screen time my kids have had, I can’t remember that last time I made us a healthy meal and our dogs haven’t had a proper walk all week.

If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that we’re supposed to have some immunity now for at least three months. Here’s to hoping they’re right.

I can’t do this all over again.

LISTEN TO MY INTERVIEW ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON CBC RADIO

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