Starting in the latter part of 2019 I begin having a persistent cough and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath was so severe at times that I couldn’t lay down. Or if I did lay down I would sit up suddenly in a panic a short time later unable to catch my breath. This went on week after week.
I saw several doctors about this including a pulmonologist. The pulmonologist wasn’t sure what was causing it so he gave me prescriptions, and finally after repeated calls to his office he ordered a CT scan of my sinuses which was negative. He said if it was negative he wanted to do a bronchoscopy by the end of that week. I called his office repeatedly over several weeks trying to get it scheduled. But his office staff would not return any of my many calls. I became so angry and frustrated that I even resorted to calling the emergency number after his office hours trying to actually speak with the doctor. He apparently returned the call but unfortunately the answering service person wrote my number down incorrectly.
Finally I was able to get in touch with him and he had his staff schedule the bronchoscopy. I went in for the bronchoscopy on February 10th. It was an outpatient procedure so I was discharged to home at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Within an hour I developed severe shortness of breath, fever and chills. I had to call EMS to take me back to the hospital emergently.
I was in the emergency room for what seemed like an eternity. Staff would intermittently come in and do a task and leave for extended periods of time. During that time I was extremely short of breath and on high flow oxygen through a mask. Finally I was given strong anabiotic’s and was taken to a room on the telemetry unit.
To say I felt like shit is an understatement. I was given strong IV antibiotics and oxygen through a nasal cannula. My home medication regimen was fucked. They didn’t have quite a few of the regular medications I take on a daily basis and they did not give me adequate insulin coverage to control my diabetes. They didn’t understand my HIV medication regimen and would only give me one pill of the two pill combination that I needed to control the HIV. Finally things began to smooth out and I felt better after several days and most importantly I was less short of breath.
It was interesting to see after I was discharged and looked at my medical records through the patient portal that I was actually tested for coronavirus which thankfully was negative on February 10th. That was back before coronavirus was taken seriously in this country and the little orange man in the White House made light of the situation.
I actually felt I was discharged home to soon. I didn’t feel well at all. I was weak and still a little short of breath without the oxygen. But I went home. I had no one to help me or to be with me during most difficult days ahead. Oh, I do have a roommate, but in actuality I don’t think he would piss on me if I was on fire. He was no help at all. Not even once did he ask if there was anything he could do for me or if I needed anything. What a slub!
Now that I’m completely recovered from the pneumonia and bronchitis I was fighting in February, I’m faced with the possibility of becoming infected with COVID-19 through casual contact. If I become infected it will likely be a death sentence for me. I don’t say that lightly or flippantly. In actuality I’m living with multiple comorbidities and at my age I have become what is considered high risk.
I’m sheltering at home and avoiding most all social interaction. I’m practicing social distancing quite fervently when I do have to go out. I only go out of the house a couple times a week and that’s to go to doctors appointments, the pharmacy or to get groceries. Otherwise I’m stuck at home looking at TV and watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos continuously.
Sometimes I have a bit of a cough or a shortness of breath or sinus congestion or headache or some other vague symptoms that could be preliminary symptoms of infection with coronavirus. When that happens I become overly concerned and hyper vigilant and to a degree hypochondriacal. Even last night I was concerned because I was coughing quite a bit and I started sneezing. I had a lot of pressure in my head and I was starting not to feel good. I couldn’t get comfortable with temperature – I would go from really hot to freezing. I kept throwing the covers on and off and on and off again. So I started looking on the Internet for symptoms of coronavirus as if I didn’t know all the symptoms already.
So all this attention to illness and now fear of contagion has been a death nail to my libido and my ability to procure a willing sex partner/boy with whom I can have an intense BDSM play session. I have had no opportunities to wear leather or to go to classes or even to a bar that caters to the BDSM/kink community.
Being isolated at home I find that I’m spending way too much time in my bed in front of my television watching meaningless show after show, movie after movie. I actually feel like I am getting weaker and losing muscle mass because I cannot go anywhere or do anything.
The only good thing that has come out of this I guess if you can say it’s a good thing is that I have fully committed myself to learning Spanish. I’ve thrown myself into hours of study every day and I signed up for a tutor three times a week for a one hour lesson each time. He is a young, good looking man who lives in Buenos Aires. We have Zoom meetings and he helps me with my pronunciation and writing exercises. Anyway it gives me something to think about and it is a diversion from the reality of what is going on outside my apartment.
I survived the scourge of contagion in the early days of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. So I think I’m not gonna let this fucking little virus kill me. I’ve lived through much worse… Well not really. This is really a very dangerous and easily transmittable virus. The projections are that this country will have between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths because of COVID-19. My goal is to not be one of them.
As I close this post I am planning a quick trip to the grocery store which in all reality is a risk of infection and death. I never thought going to Publix could actually kill me but now it is a definite possibility and a new reality.
Be safe guys, and live to fuck again, on another day hopefully not in the too distant future.