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Covid and Coriander

A year ago, I was poorly with Covid.

I knew something was up as we had splashed out on a treat lunch for my eldest’s birthday that Tuesday & my husband pointed out that I was eating coriander. The worst of all the herbs. Soapy weed. I was chowing it down as a garnish on my ramen. Then the wee guy threw up. Were we all going down with a start of school year tummy bug?

Initially, I felt like the afternoon of a bad hangover, lethargic & tearful. I’d not had an alcoholic drink for weeks. As my temperature soared, my symptoms became flu-like, I don’t mean like a heavy cold with a temperature, I mean actual achey can’t move world is wobbly eyes thumping flu. I went from normal day to unable to move from the sofa in a matter of hours.

However, by the Friday afternoon I felt slightly better, relieved to text a friend “I’m over the worst of it - it didn’t hit me too bad fortunately” but the very next day, Saturday, I was finding it hard to breathe. My husband and I had a conversation - or rather he told me as I couldn’t think straight - about what we would do about the kids if I needed to go to hospital, bearing in mind they both had Covid. How would we get there? Could I walk myself in (no I don’t think I could have)? Would anyone step in to care for the kids? Did he have to choose between us? We laid out a few items in case a grab & go situation arose.

I was not thinking straight enough to appreciate how frightening it was at the time. For all of us. We had a really good family chat in about mid October, on the way home from

a half term day out. My youngest, A, had clearly been very upset seeing me grey & breathless, Daddy looking very concerned “Are you going to have to go to hospital one night mummy?”

It took two weeks after that breathless frightening night for me to function again. Like an infant I needed frequent naps, small regular amounts of food, and didn’t really take in much. Another month to be able to walk anywhere without being badly out of breath, the daily headaches that would knock me out for a couple of hours dragged on well into October. They tapered off from then, less frequent or long but slowly decreasing. It was March, yep seven months, before I’d say I was actually well & not having to manage my energy levels - and likewise for my eldest who really struggled too. My youngest fortunately was fine within a couple of days. My husband never caught it 🤷‍♀️

I was very worried about my eldest for a long while too. It isn’t normal for an 8 year old to come home in tears of exhaustion begging for bed daily. We took him to GP & had a few tests to check him over. We had chats with school about how to help him keep up with his learning, and I’m grateful for their support. Since Easter he’s been back to himself, his energy levels normal.

Fast forward to now: I had a very busy week last week & burnt the candle a bit hard. I expected to be tired. Anyone would be. I avoided alcohol y & upped my vitamin levels in preparation. (to note: I don’t actually drink alcohol even weekly, just a few social glasses with friends, but with lots going on, I wanted to make sure my energy levels were at peak). The nasty headache I associate with post Covid recovery came back nonetheless. It’s not the same as other headaches. So something lingers. Also, with regards to the hated coriander, detested my whole life and now I really love it. I’m actively seeking out this new taste sensation. Fragrant delicious herb. And I don’t mind raw onion in salads and stuff anymore. So that’s weird.

I know we now have the vaccines to protect us and yes, we can all get back to “normal”. It’s been great being back at the Edinburgh, Film, Fringe & Book Festivals, hugging friends, meeting & sharing. I don’t think the cyber world can in any way replace the need for togetherness. I was listening to Devi Sridhar speaking at the Book Festival yesterday and she was talking about how after the 1918 flu pandemic, no one really spoke about it, it was sort of hidden away, pushed to the corners of conscience. Very little art / writing spoke of that pandemic, and while everyone wanted to move on & get on, many were still dealing with the effects of it, whether physically themselves or simply dealing with the trauma of going through a few years of masks, high levels of caution & precaution, missed family events & all of that. We need to move on but we still need to heal on many levels, and we need to ensure those still suffering from Covid / Long Covid / Covid related grief or trauma aren’t left behind. Moving on & healing for many will be talking about it all. Still. For a while. & I’m always happy to listen.

And go for meals full of coriander 😬

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