Parts of a COVID-19 Infection Look and Feel Like MS
A recent bout with COVID-19 felt a lot like a multiple sclerosis relapse.
Well, we made it all the way to Independence Day 2022 before the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), known to us all as COVID-19, crossed the threshold of our Milltown Cottage.
On that morning, I woke at about half past 4 knowing that something was beginning to feel quite “not right.”
Symptoms Crept Up One by One
When I returned from my morning walk with our wheaten terrier, Maggie, my wife, Caryn (who was working from home), asked who I’d met along the way. The loop that Maggie and I tread most mornings takes almost exactly one hour. When I told Caryn that we’d had no chats at all, she noted that we’d been gone nearly twice our normal time.
Everything was taking longer, and then a cough began.
I’d tested negative that morning, and after a phone conversation with my doctor it was determined that since the lateral flow test wasn’t positive, I likely had some other respiratory infection. On Tuesday, however, as the fever took hold and the cough became more intense, I tested positive. Caryn followed suit the next day.
When any of my fellow people with multiple sclerosis (MS) read about a fever, they likely think of Uhthoff’s phenomenon, and of how a fever can play havoc with MS symptoms. Well, it did.
Once It Hit, It Hit Hard
In many ways, it brought back those early days of multiple sclerosis exacerbations, when just getting up to pee required a two-hour nap to recover. Between what the high temperature was doing to my MS symptoms and what COVID-19 was doing to my body, I hardly got out of bed for the next four days.
Fortunately, Caryn’s symptoms were more manageable. She reported that it was just like having a bad sinus infection, while I, on the other end of the spectrum, was finding flecks of blood along with the other colors I was coughing up.
We both lost our sense of taste and smell on day three. Those are still not right for either of us. It’s a version of what I’ve experienced as an MS symptom when I lost parts of my sense of taste. This was a total loss of all of it.
Some COVID-19 Symptoms Are Lingering
Though Caryn’s course of COVID-19 was milder than mine, both she and I are still experiencing episodic fatigue. And while I’d never wish this MS symptom on anyone, Caryn has said that she now understands what I mean when I speak of profound “lay down or fall down” MS fatigue. When it comes on, there really is nothing for it but to stop what little I’m doing and rest.
Other lingering symptoms include a nagging cough for me and sinusitis for Caryn.
My legs are heavy, like they are after an MS episode. My stamina is much lower than it was preinfection, and we both have experienced what they’re calling “COVID brain fog,” as well as an increase in very vivid dreams.
The dreams also brought back memories of an MS experience, as I had plenty of odd dreams when I was using low-dose naltrexone to cope with some MS quality-of-life issues.
Thank Goodness We Were Vaxxed and Boosted
All in all, we’re well on the road to recovery. I’d say that we’re about 80 to 85 percent back to fighting form at the one-month mark. We are both ever so thankful that we were fully vaccinated and boosted, as I can’t imagine what it would have been like to experience it without them.
So, like after my MS attacks, I set out at a different pace and on a slightly altered course. But I’m moving again. I just can’t wait until I can taste food properly and smell the late summer wildflowers. Fingers crossed …
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
TrevisMy book, Chef Interrupted, is available on Amazon. Follow me on the Life With MS Facebook page and on Twitter, and read more on Life With Multiple Sclerosis.
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.