Late last summer, my husband, Paul, and I contracted COVID-19. Those days were quite the experience, to say the least. There were periods of time where we felt so bad, we knew would surely die. Thankfully, we recovered and went about our lives as normally as we could, with limitations.
Before COVID, I had developed a fitness routine that was beneficial to my overall well being. I was losing weight and feeling great. Being ill slowed that down considerably. But I was determined to get “back to normal” and resume my routine ASAP. It took me a few weeks, but I did it!
Paul and I had read articles about people experiencing residual health problems as a result of COVID. We prayed we would not be in the group of folks who had yet to return to their “normal.”
Alas, my prayers have been answered…..kinda. I’m physically healthy. My sense of taste and smell have returned. And for this, I am eternally grateful. There is one complication that still plagues me, however: “COVID Brain” or “COVID Fog.” These terms are not the official names or even clinical terms. But they serve to describe an umbrella of cognitive deficits people who recover from COVID have been experiencing, including me.
For me, “COVID Brain” has presented itself as forgotten words, problems with both remote and recent memories…. lots of what I call “brain farts.” What makes these experiences worse is the fact that I am a therapist: I talk and analyze for a living. I THINK for a living. So imagine my total embarrassment when I am in the middle of a sentence and the words literally stop forming in my brain. Imagine having to totally depend on notes (taking notes for sessions is a habit I picked up early in my career) to remind me of past sessions. For someone who has crafted a career from REMEMBERING, forgetting or not being able to recall facts you KNOW you know, can be devastating.
I have been very honest with my clients. They were aware I had COVID and even now, as I have done with them, remind me to “Slow down Ms. Keischa” and “Don’t forget self care Ms. Keischa.” My boss is also very understanding and checks on me regularly; she understands my “Type A” personality and can sense when I’m having a “not so good day” cognitively.
In the midst of all of this, my hubby continues to be supportive. I tell him all the time my mind reminds me of the scene in the movie Inside Out, where the little dudes in the teenager’s mind are sucking out all the unnecessary memories and throwing them away. Except in my case, I need the memories they’re taking. Sometimes they come back; some have not.
I am a person of faith. I believe no experience is wasted in my life. Everything I have endured has a purpose to teach me something. However, I know this to be true: I am still Kei, Paul’s wife, Mom or Ma (depending on who’s calling me), “KP” to my friends and colleagues, and “Sis”/Spiff” to my family. “COVID Fog” hasn’t diminished who I am or my character; I’m still ME.
Peace and Blessings,