Long haul Covid-19 symptoms or something else?…Finally, possible relief…

Here’s today’s bill for the doctor’s visit, which includes the cost of four prescriptions. ZAR 460, US $28.47! Can you believe the low cost for all of this?

In April when Tom and I contracted Covid-19 while on a cruise. Symptoms occurred that morning, and right away, we tested? positive. Our regular readers know the rest of the story. Tom got a bad case of pneumonia, and I was left with a headache above my left eye on my forehead with tenderness on both of my cheeks, especially on the right side, where it was assumed I had a tooth abscess.

Now, I believe I don’t have a tooth abscess and will cancel my upcoming appointments with Dr. Singh to have a tooth pulled the day after we return from our upcoming trip, leaving a week from today, ending in a temporary bridge and an implant several months later. I asked Dr. Singh to take an x-ray to confirm I had an abscess, but he didn’t feel it was necessary. The pain in my face on the right side was supposedly an abscess, and on the left, who knows?

This poor warthog has a hole in her side. Amazingly, warthogs have robust immune systems, which should heal without her developing an infection.

Over the past several months since we tested positive for Covid-19 (Omicron) on April 20th, I’ve had a pain in my forehead slightly above my left eyebrow that has persisted for almost four months. Yes, there were days it didn’t hurt as much, and I may have forgotten about it for a few hours. Alas, the following day, I’d awaken, and the headache was back.

The headache wasn’t comparable to a migraine, which I never get, and no amount of Tylenol (Paracetamol) would make it go away. I even tried a combination of Tylenol and Ibuprofen, which didn’t work either. I brushed it off as a long-haul Covid-19 symptom that would eventually disappear.

Here’s a Big Daddy missing a large section of his left horn. He’s well aware of this since we see him tapping his good right horn when warthogs annoy him during pellet feeding. 

A few days ago, when I was washing my face, I experienced pain in my left cheek, to the touch. I attributed the pain on my right cheek to the abscess, but now the left cheek, the side on which I’ve had the persistent headache.  Last night when I was getting ready to go to Jabula with Rita, Gerhard, and Lee, I noticed I could barely touch either of my cheeks. This concerned me. What was going on?

While dining at Jabula, I wasn’t myself but didn’t say anything. I could feel pain moving up my face to my forehead. Was I having a stroke (which would be an obvious concern for a person with cardiovascular disease). I tried not to panic and didn’t. I stayed calm, and then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me…I have had a sinus infection since I first got Covid-19 (Omicron) and never had it treated.

Kudu youngsters are resting in the garden.

On our way home, I told Tom my concern; he was his usual supportive self. The clinic in Marloth Park is open on Saturday, and we planned to go there first thing in the morning.  I called an appointment and was told we could come in right away. Within minutes of my arrival, the diagnosis was confirmed. I have a raging sinus infection, most likely leftover from when we were sick with Covid-19.

Not only did I get a thorough exam, but a half hour later, I walked out the door with medication in hand; prescriptions for two different antibiotics and an antihistamine. The insides of my ears and nose were inflamed, along with the pain in my head and face. The hefty five-day dose of antibiotics and antihistamine should put me on the right track in the coming week.

Sure, I may have a tooth abscess, but the pain was most likely related to the sinus infection. For now, I will cancel the appointments with Dr. Singh, and when we return from our trip, I will go to the Marloth Park clinic to have an x-ray to see if I have an abscess. If I do, I’ll decide from there what to do. But, I feel I won’t save myself an unnecessary tooth extraction and subsequent temporary bridge and eventual implant, let alone the cost of all that.

It’s cute to see how the youngsters hang out together. We see this behavior in most social wildlife, such as kudus, warthogs, and impalas.

I found this interesting article here, from an ear, nose, and throat specialist in Atlanta, Georgia, that reads, in part, as follows:

“Persisting “sinus headache” affecting the frontal and ethmoid sinus areas (regions between the eyes and up onto the forehead) is the most common symptom following bacterial-negative COVID sinusitis.  This may also be present with a runny nose, usually on both sides.  But oddly, about half of the patients have no runny nose at this point.  Some patients (about 10%) will have scalp tenderness, pain, and even sometimes PAINFUL HAIR!  Pain at the top of the head is often found with occult sphenoid sinusitis, which can cause a serious infection of the eyes and even meningitis.”

Oh, good grief, this sounds like me! When I had Covid-19 (Omicron), I got what is called Covid-19 eye. I am certainly relieved that we addressed this now instead of waiting another day. I should be feeling much better by the time we leave a week from today.

Three wildebeest stopped by for a visit, including Bad Ear, Crooked Face, and Torn Ear.

As soon as we returned to the house, I started taking the medications and looked forward to relief in about three or four days. This is not prevented from going through with tomorrow afternoon’s sundowner party. For our readers/friends. This morning I started a little prep for tomorrow and will finish everything else. Tom washed all the glasses and serving pieces which got very dusty on the open shelves.

Thanks for “listening” to my woes. But, none of this puts a damper on continuing to enjoy the bush, our animal and human friends. We are very blessed indeed.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 13, 2021:

This might be a serrated hinged terrapin, but it was difficult to determine from this photo. For more photos, please click here.

Everything could change for us with the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron…

A beautiful red-billed stork.

Last night, our dear friends Karen  (and fiance  Ruch) texted us, whose wedding we are booked to attend on February 11, 2022, in Apollo Beach, Florida. We have a flight booked from South Africa to arrive in Florida on January 24, 2022.

We had planned to stay at their home, per their enthusiastic invitation, before the wedding, upon our arrival on January 24, and after the wedding, as well. The four of us have such a great time together. We’ve been looking forward to spending this time with them.

We rarely stay at the homes of friends when we travel. We prefer not to invade the space of friends or family members.  Also, we have our own routine that is best served when we’re on our own in a holiday home or hotel. However, staying with Karen and Rich on past occasions confirmed we are ideally suited to spend time together when we stayed with them in the past.

Three giraffes by the Crocodile River.

However, last night, Karen’s concerns were well-founded. Suppose we came to their home on January 24 and had contracted the Covid-19 variant Omicron while in South Africa. In that case, we could infect them and totally ruin their wedding and, also possibly infect the many guests arriving from far and wide to attend their wedding, many of whom are over 80 years old with precarious health as it is.

There’s no way we’d put this kind of stress on them at this critical time in their lives. After chatting back and forth, we realized our only option is to self-quarantine from the day we arrive in Florida until the time of the wedding, of course, testing on the last few days. That would be a total of 18 days in a hotel in Florida, somewhere close to Tampa.

But, now, as we listen to the news and conduct research, our quarantine plan may prove to be a moot point. As more and more flights are canceled to travelers entering South Africa, what easily could happen by January 24 is a simple and probable fact…our flight could be canceled.

A blacksmith plover was near the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

If airlines don’t transport passengers from Point A to Point B and bacn, the lack of flights out of South Africa will be a natural occurrence even with borders open. We could end up in the same situation as we were in India. The only flights available for US citizens leaving South Africa could be repatriation flights, which cost thousands and thousands of dollars per passenger, many as much as ten times (or more) the typical flight fare.

A repatriation flight for these exorbitant rates didn’t appeal to us when we were in lockdown in India and doesn’t appeal to us now. Here, we can stay put comfortably in a house, cook our meals, be outdoors and continue to live somewhat of a normal life.

We’ll know more when President Ramaphosa speaks to the nation on Sunday (tomorrow) night. Will he shut down the country as he’d done in March 2020, banning restaurants and other businesses from operating normally, banning the sale of alcohol, forbidding public or private gatherings? The holiday season is rapidly approaching. How will that be handled?

Impalas were grazing on the opposite side of the Crocodile River.

We’ll know a little more after Ramaphosa’s speech tomorrow but won’t know the full impact until the severity of the Omicron variant is fully understood. Immunologists could take weeks/months to determine the severity of this strain, allowing politicians/leaders to make decisions about travel to and from their countries.

Pfizer has stated they need two weeks to see if they need to tweak the vaccine to work with this new stain. Hopefully, soon, we’ll know. But, this won’t be available to us here.

So here we are again. Uncertainty. Will the President extend visas for foreign nationals currently staying in South Africa? That in itself is a significant factor for us. But, in any case, if we can fly to the US on January 24, 2022, we’ll have no choice but to quarantine upon our arrival in Florida.

Giraffes now have plenty of vegetation in the treetops.

Today, to be safe, we’ll book a  fully refundable hotel for the 18 nights and play it by ear from there. Undoubtedly, President Ramaphosa will speak several times over the next few months, from which we’ll be able to decide the future.

This morning, like many other South African and visitors, we headed to the liquor store to stock up on wine for me and Brandy for Tom. The TOPS liquor store and the Spar market in Komatipoort, where wine is sold, were packed with shoppers.  We weren’t the only ones motivated to stock up on our favorite sundowner beverages. We don’t drink much quantity but didn’t want to run out.  During those ten months in lockdown in the hotel in India, I never had a single glass of wine, and Tom never had a Brandy.

We’ll keep you updated here as we discover more and more in the weeks to come.

Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago  today< November 27, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago today while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #249. Note our talk scheduled at 11:15 am on the ship activities program. We did a two-day seminar on the ship on traveling the world. For more, please click here.