My Corona Diary

FYI, all measurements are Dutch/European. My normal body temperature is 36.5 Celsius. Normal glucose levels are between 5-8 mmol/l. Normal blood pressure for me ought to be 129/85, but I usually have 135/90.

(March 18th) Just to keep people posted, there’s a fairly big indication that I’ve contracted Corona or COVID-19 — shortness of breath, fever — so I’ll be housebound for the next week or so. I have no respiratory diseases or a weak heart, so I’ll probably be all right. I called the hospital and I have to call them back if I intend to leave the house or if I might go into respiratory failure (and need a respirator/ventilator), so for now I’m just going to chill out at home and hope it won’t get too bad.

(March 19th)I slept fitfully until 04.15, lay awake for a while, took my temperature 38.2, took paracetomol, vitamin c and magnesium citrate and took a shower. Mercifully I don’t have either headaches or coughs, but before I had towelled myself off I was soaked in sweat again from fever.But I’m up, walking around shakily but pretty lucid. Going to make myself some yoghurt with apple and muesli for breakfast and see if I can eat it. My stomach is unruly, but while I did feel nauseated, I didn’t throw up.I’d like to thank everyone for their sympathies, prayers and well-wishes.I’lll keep you posted how my day is going.

(March 19th) I had no energy whatsoever and spent the day mainly behind the laptop chatting or watching movies on Netflix. Even though I wasn’t hungry, I ate an oven dish and Indian vegetable soup. I took vitamin D3 and C and B12, and magnesium citrate. In the evening my shortness of breath became more acute and I felt that I was panting even when sitting still. I forced myself to take deeper breath even though it hurt. I came pretty close to calling the corona clinic and update them about the effort needed just to keep breathing. My throat felt like it had swollen until my air passage felt like I was breathing through a straw. I’ve always felt compassion for asthma/COPD patients, but for the first time in my life I felt what it was like to struggle for breath. I’m not easily scared, but I was nervous about getting to sleep and meditated to remain calm inside. I finally fell asleep around 01.30 hours.

(March 20th) I woke up around 04.15 with my head in a pool of slimy sweat and went to the bathroom to pee and take my temperature, which had risen to 38.4C. I had a hard time swallowing a Saridon paracetamol and went back to bed, sleeping on the other side of the bed. I woke briefly at seven, gasping for breath, dranks some water and fell asleep again. I woke from the phone around 10.15 when a friend called me who had been worried when she spoke to me yesterday night. I felt a lot better, more air and it felt like the fever had passed. My temperature was 37.4C (still high, but not a fever anymore), stripped the bed to wash the sweat-soaked sheets and took a shower. And now I’m having breakfast, feeling better than yesterday. More energy to do my laundry, but I will be taking it easy and reserve my energy to battle the corona (which I’m pretty sure is what I have, even without the coughing and splitting headaches). Will keep you posted on developments. Since 15.00 hours my air started to get constricted again, so I’ve taken some precautions — I called the clinic and they have marked me ‘Corona Positive’. If my breathing becomes as bad as last night, I will be taken to the hospital for oxygen/respirator/ventilator. So I pre-packed a bag with my medication and favourite travel typewriter (you never know) and made sure my ICE knows what’s going on.

(March 21st) Situation has worsened – I can only take shallow breaths without coughing. No fever anymore, but pain everywhere. I filled out the Corona Check with an update, may have to go to the hospital with respiratory failure, but still hanging in there. Can barely talk without coughing. Any effort = coughing. After talking to the clinic, they decided to send an ambulance. At my home, they found my saturation was 96%, but my blood pressure was 190/100 and my bloodsugar was 25 (normal is 7). So they took me to the clinic for bloodtests and a lung photo.

My lungs were clear, heart did well, but they thought I was diabetic, even when the bloodsugar dropped to 16.7. I had this before, where intense pain spiked my glucose levels, but I didn’t exhibit other diabetic symptoms (they tried to tell me I was enormously thirsty because I asked for water, but I didn’t have my water bottle and with my kidney stone problems I have to drink 3-4 liters of water per day, so I just flush my system, but I’m not abnormally thirsty). It took a while, but they ended up bringing me a carafe.

Anyway, they gave me Metformine for lowering the glucose in my blood and sent me home. No corona test, since they reserve the few they have for people who are admitted into their ICU.

(March 22nd) I was still gasping for air, had some chestpain and headaches and was feeling like shit, so I called the clinic, who sent over a GP to test me at home. Same values as yesterday, but my saturation remained 96 when I was walking around and gasping for air, so my body does get enough oxygen. They told me to just take it easy and sit out the virus I might have. If my condition worsens, I have to call them again.Meanwhile, this evening I’m getting used to the shortness of breath and just move around slowly, so I don’t aggravate my condition.

(March 23rd) I slept reasonably well. My breathing seems to have improved slightly. I’ve contacted my own physician on how to deal with the diabetes. Perhaps I can get something to self-test. I’m carefully optimistic about having passed the worst part.

My GP just called. Since I’m not on insulin, I cannot get a self-tester for glucose in my blood, but they will send me a lab form so I can have my blood tested when I’m out of quarantaine.

(March 24th) Slept well, had dreams about aikido and my motorcycle getting stolen from an underground garage where the aikido seminar was held. I have more air now, but it feels more like the common cold now – coughing and sniffling. I have to get myself some camomile to steam.

(March 25th)My health goes up and down. Today is one of the better days. Still panting whenever I exert myself (like climbing stairs!), but I try to exercise by doing tai-chi in the living room. I put a Hermes Baby typewriter back together after ‘fixing’ the frame as much as I can. Neighbours have a group app now so I can ask for groceries and whoever goes to the supermarket can get them for me. I’m touched by the solidarity.

(March 26th) Bad day today. Sweat a lot during the night. Shorter of breath, pain is everywhere, I don’t want to move at all. Every exertion brings a bout of coughing. Twice I had to run (shamble) to the toilet to spit out a gob of slime coughed up from my lungs. Wasted day, really. Someone sent me a link to a list of free movies (mostly Oldies), so I watched Fritz Lang’s MEine Stadt sucht einen Mōrder, glad for a relatively slow movie where I didn’t have to concentrate too much.

(March 27th) I worry about my glucose, taking Metformine without knowing my current levels made me anxious, so I had a conversation with my GP (Huisarts) about taking measurements. There are home testing kits, but they are for diabetics who inject insulin. She did understand my anxiety, so she send a message to the apothecary to deliver a home testing kit, which I got in the late afternoon.

Following instructions I tested myself and my glucose was 15.6 (normal level 5-7). Makes me less anxious about popping Metformine pills.

(March 28th) I woke up feeling quite well, measured my glucose sober (15.2) and had a pretty good day writing three pages for DRONE on my late mother-in-law’s Olivetti DL typewriter my father-in-law gifted to me. And some poetry on the Royal FP.

Watched His Girl Friday, listened to Nine Inch Nails and watched their ‘snuff movie’ Broken on archive dot org. Have to keep myself busy.

(March 29th) Woke up feverish around eight-thirty and took my temp, which was 37.9C (38=fever). My glucose was 14.2 (!), so the Metformine is working, I guess. I took medication and went back to bed. Woke up around ten-thirty with a damp pillow, turned it over and slept until 12.30. I feel a bit better now, but still short of breath.

I feel resentful towards the people in denial. Saw a clip from some Trump rally where stupid people told reporters that it was just a hoax from the liberals/democrats. Unbelievable.

I also got another test result from my hospital visit March 21st, that states that I have ‘pleura’ fluid build up in my left lung. And back then they told me my lungs were clean…

(March 30th) Woke up this morning around eight-thirty with 37.8C. Glucose was down to 12.2. I took Metformine, but figured that today I’m going to let the fever run its course. Woke up again at eleven with 37.9C. In preparation for possible hospitalization, I removed my beard, since oxygen masks tend not to fit over facial hair. It’ll grow back when I’m healthy again.My kidneys feel like they’re trampled and my throat feels bruised from coughing. Lost all my appetite.

GP told me that it’s about 90% sure that I have Corona, but not bad enough to be hospitalized – as long as I don’t develop pneumonia or need a ventilator, I’m better off at home.

(March 31st) My temperature went down to 37.2C and my glucose levels are now at 11.9. I feel battered and bruised like going a few rounds in a cement mixer, but apart from that I do feel somewhat better. More appetite, at least. Not a bad day altogether, did some tai-chi and sword training in the living room, cleaned up the windowsill so I could sit in the sunshine on the street side and hoovered the living room floor. Usually that takes me thirty minutes, but now I had to divide that over the day in order not to exert myself, but it’s better than nothing.

(April 1st) Woke up with cold sweat, but my temperature was down to 37.2 and my glucose was down to 9.9 (normal level is 5-8). Went back to bed and slept until 12.30. Time to do my laundry… I had to turn over my futon, which became a major chore, complicated by bursts of coughing. Was pretty much spent after that. Got some more meals from a girlfriend who volunteers at a kitchen. My neighbour cycled all the way to the other side of town to get the food. I’m so touched by all the support I receive while I battle this virus.

(April 2nd) My sugar was 10.2 this morning, but the rest of my illness goes up and down as well, so I’m not worried. I’m taking it one day at a time, trying to relax as much as possible and making the best of it, sitting in my ground floor window to catch some sun.

And then I take a downturn and cough my lungs out with the slightest exertion (like walking to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea). This is one messed up virus. It went so bad that I put a warm coat on over my clothes, feeling exhausted from the coughing. I took my temp and it was 37.9 again, fever. I took paracetamol and tried to go to sleep, but woke from nightmare time and time again.

(April 3rd) My temp was down to 37.3 and my glucose to 10.4. I feel like crap because I barely slept. Let’s see what this day is going to bring.

Another wasted day. I wrote one page of my draft, but too low on energy of doing anything else.

My GP explained to me today that Corona is an endurance race. This rollercoaster will keep going up and down for a while, just make sure the last part goes up, not down.

(April 4th) Had a good night’s rest and it feels like I have more air this morning. Temp went down to 37.1. Glucose is up to 12.4, but (according to my GP) I shouldn’t worry too much about that. Also, I read an article that claimed that Metformin — the medication I’m currently taking for my elevated glucose levels — tends to decrease the severity of the corona complaints, so that’s good news.

(April 5th) Woke several times from fever dreams with ideas for poetry. Weighed myself today and my body weight has dropped to 99.9kg. Which is the first time it got under 100kg for twenty years or so. Glucose is at 10.4, so not too bad. If I’m able to exercise more I will put more effort into it and see if I can get my ‘fighting weight’ of 90kg back.

Today I sat in the sun on the windowsill for a while, but it was almost too warm — it’s such a shame I cannot go for a motorcycle ride through the countryside, but I couldn’t risk it even if I wasn’t suffocating half the time.

(April 6th) Another feverish night. I took my measurements — 37.5C, 10.4mmol/l, 99.5kg — and went downstairs for breakfast. Today I’m coughing far more than yesterday, and I’m sweating with the slightest of exertions.

Most of my day is spent indoors — writing, making sure I eat regularly and take my meds, vaping cannabis six times a day, and trying to save as much energy as possible for my body to fight this virus. Still, I feel like a slacker, sitting in the window sipping tea and doing nothing.

Still, I feel like I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing nothing. I am doing something, I’m aiming to get well again. Within a few weeks, those who are helping me now might need me to help them.

I’ve been watching Stephen King’s The Stand — at least we’re not wading through corpses and trying to survive in a battle between good and evil. Not yet. So, now I’ll slowly head upstairs to bed, see if I can get some sleep.

(April 7th) I slept well, with some weird dreams, and woke around nine, feeling like I breathing a little easier. Measurements before breakfast: temperature 36.8C, glucose 9.6mmol/l, weight 99.9kg. So that seems to be going well. I noticed quite a few dust balls running around the upper floor of my apartment, so I hope to be able to carry the hoover upstairs to clean the floors. Oh, the excitement of self-isolating chores.

Today I spoke with my GP (huisarts) and the GGD (Health Service) about testing for COVID-19. In the general interest, I’d like to share my findings:
According to the GGD, there are two tests.
One, the test everyone talks about, is testing whether someone has COVID-19. This should be done during the crisis, which (for me) was at March 21st, when I was in severe respiratory distress. This test would now be useless, as I’m probably too far recuperated to have the active virus.
Two, the test to determine whether someone had COVID-19. This test checks for corona anti-bodies in the blood, which would indicate that the body has fought with the virus (and won). This test is not yet available, as it’s not reliable yet.
However, due to my list of symptoms and the severity of my complaints, the GGD also considers me a COVID-19 patient, but one who is on the mend.

(April 8th) 36.8C again, 99.9kg and glucose up a notch at 10.1. Didn’t sleep that well, but it feels like I have a little more air than yesterday.
A friend came by from Speeltuin De Waag, the playground where I volunteer and hold Type-Ins for children, to bring me a Get Well card with the Corona Monster and three hand-crafted chocolate bonbons from Puccini Chocolatiers.

I’m so glad to have some many excellent people around me to support me in my time of need. Thank you, Alf, Saskia, Iris, and Adil.

This afternoon, I decided to pick up my sword again for some battojutsu practice. Out of shape and out of breath, my execution of kusanagi no ken was sloppy, but I hope my sensei will forgive me for that. You can find the video on my instagram account.

(April 9th) 37.1C, 99.9kg, 10.7mmol/l. The corona rollercoaster keeps going up and down. Today I’m going down — coughing, headache, exhausted and limited air supply — so I have to time my exertions to avoid tiring out completely. Maybe if I don’t overexert myself today, I will have more energy tomorrow.
Around 18.00 hours I didn’t feel well. Suddenly, as I was coughing in my chair, my mouth filled with vomit and I had to hurry to the toilet, where I vomited up some more. My temperature was elevated to 37.7C and I felt bone-tired, so I went to bed.
I woke at 22.00 hours feel feverish and took my temperature again, which was spiking at 38,6C. I took two paracetamol and went to bed, from where I called the emergency physician service (huisartsenpost). They were worried about my gasping, so they sent a physician. As my oxygen saturation was too low at 92%, she called an ambulance and I was once again transported to OLVG hospital. I was put on oxygen and they took blood and swabs and connected me to a machine to keep a check on me.

(April 10th) They kept me up all night, running tests. At five in the morning they announced that I would have to stay until my saturation normalized, so I was taken to the Corona ward. Since I was now officially hospitalised, they took the dreaded nose swab to test me for COVID-19,
Luckily, I have to vape cannabis. Since cannabis vapour might contain the virus in droplets that would penetrate normal masks, they gave me a private room, so I don’t have to share a ward with other sick people. At six in the morning I went to sleep.
I was woken at 8.30 for breakfast and meds. I called my ex to tell her about the situation (I had talked to her before she went to sleep, but she didn’t know then that I had to stay) and arranged for videoconferencing with the kids later today. The doctor updated me and told me that they expected the corona test results around 13.00 hours. Not that there is much doubt about that, but maybe I get a certificate…

My saturation is going up, so maybe I don’t have to stay in the hospital too long. I like having a private room – makes me feel like a celebrity – but the dry circulating air is giving me vision problems that I have to solve with artificial tears. Still, I can dim all the lights and leaving only the bathroom light on.

And the view is pretty good from the seventh floor.

Interestingly, my tests came back negative. As the lung doctor told me, that could also mean my Corona was too far in remission for a positive test, so the negative could be a “false negative”. So, they still suspect that I have Corona and will make a CT scan tomorrow, the standard practice to eliminate me from having active COVID-19.
If I don’t have Corona, we’ll have to figure out what caused the respiratory distress…

(April 11th) A new day in OLVG B7 Corona Ward. My bed felt clammy upon waking, so I asked for new bedsheets and towels to shower. Glucose was 12.1mmol/l, saturation 93% (with 1 liter oxygen), temperature 36.2, and blood pressure 139/94. I’ve asked to speak with an eye doctor today as my right eye is developing blurriness and halos around light sources, which is a sign of elevated eye pressure. Yesterday evening they couldn’t do much more than give me artificial tears against dehydration, but the air in this room is just too dry.

I’m in good spirits though and hope the CT scan will give more clues about what is wrong with my respiration. At least I have a pretty nice view from the seventh floor. The high tower to the right is the Rembrandt Tower, where I used to work.

I was taken to Radiology for a CT Scan with contrast fluids that could be pumped straight into my “Vampire Self Servise Tap”.

After the scan, I was brought back to my room again. As the afternoon progressed, my vision regressed so much that couldn’t read anything anymore, not even the large print “low vision” screen of my Kindle e-reader.. I became increasingly anxious and demanded contact with an eye doctor. This didn’t sit well with the nursing staff and lung doctor, who thought I was being unreasonable and disrespectful for “telling them what to do”. I told them that anybody in my position becomes impatient when doctors and nursing staff unfamiliar with my predicament didn’t assign the same urgency to my condition as my eye doctor would. And I added that their OLVG Urology professor ruined my left eye by prescribing the wrong bladder relaxant, so my mistrust of medical doctors and personnel is not unfounded. And I apologised for being demanding, but I was not a difficult patient, assisting the nursing staff as much as possible by grouping requests together with meals, taking measurements like glucose with my own equipment and using their monitor to check my saturation myself so they wouldn’t have to don protective gear to enter my room. Also, I showed that I increased efficiency by not pressing the red button that would make them rush to my room, but by calling the nurses’ station on my mobile to confer with them, That cooled down the lung doctor, who understood my anxiety. She told me the results of the CT scan, which showed traces of the Corona virus. The reason the COVID-19 test was negative was because the virus was on its way out. For this reason (and the potential side effects on my kidneys and eye), they wouldn’t start with Hydroxychloroquine, but she was confident I would recuperate under my own power. As long as I got my saturation to stay above 92% in rest.
Since I couldn’t do much with my blurry vision, I conferred with the nursing staff about taking out the oxygen assist and measuring my saturation while sitting in the chair by the window, At 17.15 I took the tube from my nose and connected the monitor. Sitting still without the oxygen, my saturation was 92-93%, but when I vaped my cannabis at 17.30 hours, my saturation increased to 96%!
It was already 17.40 hours by the time I got called by an eye doctor. He assured me that the lasered hole in the cornea of my right eye would make sure my Intra-Ocular Pressure couldn’t increase to dangerous levels. As he had my file on hand, I told him to check what happened with the first hole they drilled, which ‘disappeared’ a month later. Ever since then, my eye was checked every three months by my own eye doctor, who had instructed me to ring the alarm any time my vision became blurry and halos would appear around light sources.
He concurred and I told him that I understood that they may not be able to check my eye pressure right away, but he could prescribe Pilocarpine eye drops that would lower eye pressure. If that wouldn’t decrease the blurriness, we could see if my eye pressure could be checked tomorrow. I also asked for the more viscous Vidisic artificial tears gel that would do a better job of moistening my eyes in my dry room. He told me I’d get started on the Pilocarpine right away and he’d make sure I’d get the gel also.
I felt a bit better after talking to him, but when I spoke to the nursing staff, they told me the pharmacy had already closed, so they were searching the ‘polikliniek oogheelkunde’ to find Pilocarpine, This had been what I’d been afraid of, and why I had been asking for Pilocarpine since breakfast. They finally found a couple of vials at the polikliniek, so I got started on the Pilocarpine. I hope not too late, as the outer corner of my right eye has become inflamed, probably from my eyes drying out too much already from the incredibly dry air in my room…

(April 12th) I slept from midnight till three in the morning when the nurse came for my check-up. My oxygen was at 92%, my temperature was 36.1 and my blood pressure 132/85, so that was all good. I dripped more Pilocarpine in my eye and tried to get to sleep again, but the bed felt clammy and uncomfortable, so it took me at least until 04.30 hours to fall asleep again and I slept fitfully until 06.45 hours. My vision is still blurry, but if I concentrate I can write this diary. I will ask to visit with the eye doctor today because of the inflammation in my right eye.

The lung doctor just visited and told me I can go home this afternoon. I have to remain in quarantaine at home until all my Corona complaints are gone. He also took a picture of my eye to send to the eye doctor, who will call me before I go home. They’ll make sure I have the increased dosage Metformine 850mg pills and Pilocarpine vials to last until my GP/Huisarts takes over. Although my stay here was as comfortable as they could make it, I’m very glad to go home again.
At 13.00 hours I went downstairs to have my eye checked. The inflammation had gone down, as had the high IOP, and according to the eye doctor the irritation and blurred vision was mostly due to dehydration of the cornea. So I have to use the Vidisic Carbogel artificial tears to keep my eye moist and the blurriness should pass.
I was brought home by ambulance, as I told them I didn’t want to put a taxi driver at risk. I’m overjoyed at being home again and being able to look forward to a future when my breath returns and I can exercise again. At least now I know that exertion lowers my saturation and I just have to take a rest and allow the saturation to come back up again – spread my chores throughout the day and not do too much without taking long breaks in-between.

(April 13th) I had a good night’s rest, my glucose was 11.0, temperature was 37.1, and my weight 99.2kg, so I didn’t gain any weight from my hospital stay. My frequent use of the Vidisic gel is working, the blurry spots in my vision are shrinking. And it feels like I’m getting more air. The thing is not to get overly confident – I just donned my face mask and walked to the gate to get my mail, and I noticed my unsteady gait like a bowlegged sailor – no doubt my condition and stamina has taken quite a blow and I’ll have to train diligently to regain my physical prowess. Still, it could easily be worse and it looks like the damage isn’t permanent.

Hypothesis – Breathing, meditation and Corona.
Something a doctor at the hospital said got me thinking about how mental attitude and training in certain skills could decrease the severity of dealing with the symptoms of the Corona virus. What worked for me does not mean it will work for others, but trying to do what I did certainly won’t exacerbate the situation.
One of the doctors who saw the CT Scan of my lungs made on March 12th came into my room and noticed that I was playing around with the saturation monitor and how I wasn’t using the extra oxygen anymore. He told me that he was amazed that I had been able to battle the virus unassisted for weeks before I needed hospitalization, and how I was only put on 2 liters of oxygen for one day and 1 liter the next.
Judging by the presence of the virus still in my lungs, he mentioned how I must’ve had severe dyspnea and how exhausting that had to have been. However, he had checked my March 21st anamnese that showed pretty high saturation, 96%, while with the acute dyspnea I had back then, I should’ve had dangerously low oxygen levels that would require supplementary oxygen to not pass our or slip into a coma. Instead, according to the notes, I presented a calm but alert demeanour without any of the grogginess I should’ve had from the dyspnea, hypertension and extremely high glucose content in my blood. And the virus raging through my lungs, invisible to the x-ray they made.
However, since I had been experimenting with the saturation monitor, I showed him how my saturation would drop when I was physically active from 92-93% to 85%. I could see him looking askance at the oxygen tube I had hung from the rail over my bed, but he watched the monitor as I sat back down and started my breathing exercises, showing the saturation would immediately return to 93%. He surmised that my breathing exercises must’ve helped me get through the weeks as my lungs had more and more trouble to supply oxygen to my blood, causing me to be hospitalized and needing supplementary oxygen when I became exhausted.
That was not the case. If you read back about my situation on Thursday, the sequence played out differently: I felt reasonably okay during the day, than around 17.30 hours I ate three sandwiches with cheese and tomato. About two hours later I had stomach cramps, threw up in my mouth, rushed to the toilet to vomit for a while until I was exhausted and crawled upstairs to my bed and went to sleep. Around 22.00 hours I woke with a fever, took two paracetamol and decided to report this negative development to the huisartsenpost. A GP called me back, was worried about my breathing, sent someone to check on me and she was worried about my 92% saturation and decided to call me an ambulance.
So I wasn’t exhausted from fighting the dyspnea, but from vomiting, which tired me so much I went to bed and my body became feverish again. At that point though, judging by the presence of the virus in my lungs, I had all but won my battle against the virus. The vomiting in combination with the dyspnea was just too taxing for my weakened system, but if I hadn’t had to vomit, I doubt if I had been so exhausted that I would’ve called the huisartsenpost and probably wouldn’t have been hospitalized as a result.
With that in mind, the hospital did give me a reprieve from the battle with their supplementary oxygen, but even without that I would have stabilized and beaten the virus without assistance. On the other hand, without their CT Scan, I wouldn’t have known for sure whether I had contracted Corona, and without their saturation monitor, I wouldn’t have been able to measure the results from my breathing exercises and meditation to calm myself and increase my oxygen levels after exertion.
For those interested in trying my breathing method for themselves: I breathe in as deeply as possible through my nose and breath out through pursed lips, like blowing out a candle. And I keep ‘blowing out the candle’ until it feels like all of the air from my lungs has been used up. And then I breath in through my nose again to fill my lungs back up.
My hypothesis: while inhaling is important, the more important part of this breathing exercise is in the exhaling. Most people only breathe using the upper part of their lungs. As they only use about half their lungs, I surmise that the rest of the lung is filled with ‘old’ air that is much lower in oxygen content and that upper register breathing doesn’t use your lung capacity efficiently. By exhaling with pursed lips until you run out of air, you exhale both the breath you inhaled plus part of the deoxygenated air lower down in your lungs. And so your next breath, rich in oxygen, can penetrate deeper into your lungs, and help the lungs oxygenate your blood. As I’ve been using this breathing technique for several decades of martial arts training to recuperate from the exertion, I can often effortlessly perform martial arts kata that exhaust younger, less experienced martial artists.
And I assume how that deep breathing technique helped me to stay calm when I was in severe dyspnea and keep my blood highly oxygenated.
So, if you want to try it out, exhale through pursed lips, squeezing out as much air as possible, and breath in through your nose until your lungs are ‘full’, and repeat. Let me know in the comments if you feel like you have more air.

(April 14th) Slept quite well. Took my stats this morning, temperature normal at 36.8C, glucose pretty low at 9.8, and my weight has gone down to 98.5kg. I called the pharmacy to check if they can fill my prescription for the higher dose Metformine, and gave my stats to the assistant of my GP. Hope this day will bring improvement in my dyspnea.

Since my recuperation might take another two weeks, I need to buy medical equipment (not covered by my health insurance) to measure the saturation and my blood pressure. Figure that’s going to cost me at least another 60 euro, on top of the 60 euro I had to pay for the glucose meter. It may not seem a lot of money, but since I’m on Welfare it’s a big bite out of my budget…

I received a copy of the letter sent by the hospital to my GP, that lists my CO-RADS designation as CO-RADS 4, which means that as far as the hospital is concerned, I’m COVID-19 Positive based on my CT Scan.

(April 15th) Slept well. Took my stats this morning, temperature normal at 36.9C, glucose as low as yesterday at 9.8, and my weight has gone down to 98.2 kg.
I’m grateful to my (former) father-in-law, Erik, who has come to my financial aid by gifting me a sphygmomanometer, so I can keep track of my hypertension. It’s due to arrive tomorrow. I’m not someone who usually craves to know exact numbers, but in these trying times, I’m monitoring myself much more closely.
I had some fun reading my hospital discharge papers, which mention: Physical examination: Not sick. Sits in lotus position. Speaks in complete sentences. (Lichamelijk onderzoek Niet ziek. Zit in lotus-houding. Spreekt volzinnen). I wasn’t sitting in lotus, but just with crossed legs, and I wasn’t gasping after each word I spoke, but my neighbour Simone said that it sounded like I was sitting there like some buddha dispensing wisdom. And she added that I pretty much always spoke in complete sentences, so if I didn’t, that would be a reason for worrying.
I thought I was doing better today — had some long phone calls with a friend in need of counselling, and in person with a friend who brought me my groceries — but when evening came, I was getting chills and pains in my joints reminiscent of arthritic pain. I put on a pair of lined Helly Hansen pants over my yogapants for extra warmth and took two paracetamol. It’s unnerving how my state goes up and down and how easily I get exhausted still. When will this be over?


Love you all, thank you for your support!

Feel free to comment on this diary, I love to hear from you. And if you wish to support me in any way, read my novels!

22 Comments on “My Corona Diary”

  1. Richard P says:

    It sounds brutal! I hope you keep moving steadily in the right direction. Hey, at least you’re nice and slim now, right??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, shedding weight is okay for now, but it shouldn’t drop too far below 90kg. Yesterday I had 99.9kg, today I had 99.5kg, so I think I’m going to weigh myself every morning to see if I’m not shedding too much weight.


  2. susrig says:

    You have been going through so much! I appreciate your journal of you illness and hope you start having more upswings with your health. Your GP sounds good and knowledgeable. Don’t push yourself. This sounds like a marathon, not a sprint. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. T. Munk says:

    Best of luck in your healing journey. Pleased that you can get good medical care – I kind of doubt that’s going to be the case in the US. I suspect our best chance will be to just not get it until a couple months from now when our system might finally be operating in “we know what we’re doing now” mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. susrig says:

    As difficult as it is, your journal is giving us such important information on this virus. It sure has been a long struggle but I am hopeful you will soon be well. And forget about getting rid of those dust bunnies. Just name them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. joevc says:

    All the best to you. Thank you for sharing with us the details of your ordeal.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. susrig says:

    So sorry this illness keeps going on and on. Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lilian says:

    I hope you will regain your health and strength soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sharkbytes says:

    So sorry, Martyn… hang in there

    Liked by 1 person

  9. KatlaBumperSticker says:

    Sorry this has taken such a toll on you. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mink says:

    Sjesus Martyn, hang in there. Ik huil met je mee. Virtuele knuffels en vergeet niet dat er aan je gedacht wordt. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Annemiek says:

    Fuck Martijn, wat een gruwelijke uitputtingsslag ben je aan het ondergaan. Mn hart bloedt bij het lezen van hoe zwaar het voor je is (om de eoa reden had ik vooralsnog je Corona-dagboek niet gelezen).
    Ik hoop intens dat je zo snel mogelijk eindelijk in beter vaarwater terecht komt.

    Hele dikke knuffel.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. susrig says:

    I guess my last comment was too long because it would not post. I just wanted to let you know that I have tears reading what you’re going through and I hope they finally find the answers and you get well. I consider you a friend and I want my friend to be healthy again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’m sure I will survive this ordeal, the nursing staff and doctors at OLVG are doing top notch work. There might be a long recovery ahead, but I’ve survived worse than this. Stay healthy!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. susrig says:

    Dang, my comment disappeared. I wrote that Although this has been a long journey, maybe you can use this experience in one of your books. I am sending you positive thoughts for a steady recovery to health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I use many personal experiences in my books, twisted (of course) to protect the reprobates, and I’m sure my experiences will enhance the verisimilitude of my work.

      Thank you for your well wishes. Stay safe and healthy.


  14. […] from the hospital and document my convalescence.You can find the first part of My Corona Diary here.You can find the second part of My Corona Diary […]


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