Jan. 25, 2021

Covid-19 Made Me 9 Pounds Fatter!

There’s a Virus Coming…

For me, the Covid-19 pandemic started in January of 2020. I know shit really hit the fan in March, but the news out of China and the first case in the US really came to light in January. I work in healthcare as a Physical Therapist, so this was something we were watching closely. At first, it was mostly a curiosity more so than a worry. But as the virus continued its exponential growth, the curiosity succumbed to fear and stress.

Healthcare is often referred to as “recession-proof.” Working in this field always gave me a sense of security. What we learned in 2020 is that healthcare is ironically not “pandemic proof.” Healthcare was one of the hardest-hit industries, along with hospitality and travel. Physical Therapy was no exception. As we entered into February and March, the company I work for began to furlough staff. The clinic I work in went from six full-time staff to two. Luckily (Was it?), I was one of the two that remained.

The Streak

Our clinic stayed open. I was the treating therapist, and my friend/co-worker Sarah remained as the office manager. We showed up every day. Most mornings, we started our day by listening to “Rise Up” by Andra Day. This became our pandemic anthem and symbolized that we made it another day. There was so much uncertainty to deal with, so we made our own habits and routines that we could rely on to give us some normalcy and comfort. We never said that this was what we were doing, but as I look back at it, that is what it was.

This routine went on for months. On many days I would see 20+ patients. For the first few months, none of us wore masks. We were told we did not have to, so we didn’t. We cleaned all day, every day. Spray, wipe, repeat. I have never washed my hands so much! Information about the virus kept changing, so every day we came in brought another change to the protocol. We never knew if that day would be our last day open or not. The rules kept changing. When all was said and done, we made it all the way through. We never closed.

My Luck Ran Out

Finally! 2020 was over, and it was 2021. Everything was looking up. The vaccine was starting to roll out, and new leadership in DC to help get this thing under control. Word came from my company that I would be getting my vaccine on December 29. What a relief! I made it to the end of this nightmare. The odds were not in my favor, but here I was. The 29th came, and I got the shot. Everything went well. My arm was sore for a few days, but I felt great. I was telling everyone that I was now a superhuman. Despite my newfound powers, I did continue to wear my mask, wash my hands, and follow all normal precautions. I knew that the vaccine would take a few weeks to work, and I also needed to make it to my second dose three weeks later.

Three or four days later, I had some sinus pressure and fatigue. I did not think much of it. This time of year, sinus pressure is normal, and the fatigue I attributed to the vaccine. Then, on Sunday, January 3rd, my wife woke up with a mild sore throat. As a home-care PT, she works with an elderly population. It is not unusual for her to have a sore throat this time of year, but nothing is normal during a pandemic. To be safe, she decided to get tested.

The following day, I went to work. Knowing that my wife was waiting for test results, I played it extra safe at work that day. My mask never came off, and I stayed as far from my patients and co-workers as I could while still doing my job. Then the call came…POSITIVE! WTF!! When I got the news, I was not surprised. I immediately got an order to get a rapid test. Knowing the answer, I waited 15 minutes in my car for the official call: POSITIVE.

Bread, Meatballs, and Candy…

On January 3rd, I was 204 lbs. I was trending down towards my goal of 200 lbs. It had been a long road to this point, one that took place over multiple years. During the past 6 weeks, I had made a concentrated effort to eat better and exercise more. The equation was working in my favor, and I was dropping pounds and body fat. The next official weigh-in and body fat test were approaching, and I was ready.

On January 4th, my two-week quarantine began. There were a few silver linings. My symptoms were very mild, and my wife and kids were going to be home with me. All-in-all, I was looking at an unexpected two weeks off from work. The downside was that I could not really go anywhere. The gym was out. Each day came with a lot of hours to fill and nowhere to go.

So we did what anyone would do. We ate. In our defense, we did run a few miles just about every day. But mostly, we ate. The bread machine, oven, crockpot, and griddle were working overtime those two weeks. I discovered meatballs, which quickly lead to meatball subs on homemade french bread. We made baked goods, drained the candy drawer, and expanded upon our already stout bread machine skills. Honestly, it was glorious. Each day I would have a casual morning of meditation, reading, and coffee. That was followed by a run and working on this blog. That seems like a lot, but there were a lot of free hours that we promptly filled with the comfort of eating.

9 Pounds Later…

The two weeks came and went. I convinced myself that the daily running offset the eating. I tracked my calories daily, and it did not seem horrible. The first Wednesday back at work, we were due for our weigh-in. I was ready? I weighed myself before getting into the shower the morning: 213.2 lbs. So I took off my socks: 213 lbs. Much better!

During my two week quarantine, I managed to put on 9 lbs. How gross! I realize that this isn’t all “real” weight. Some of it is bloat weight that will quickly come off. As of this post (3 days after the weigh-in), I am down to 207.8 lbs. This was a good reminder for me about how easy it is to go the wrong way and how hard it is to get back on track. It does not take long for the pounds to pack on. They certainly go on quicker and easier than they come off, that is for sure!

I received my 2nd dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. It feels like we are close to the end of this awful pandemic. This post is a little bit in jest. I am grateful that my wife and I did not get really sick. We were fortunate to have mild symptoms and to have each other and our boys to get through those two weeks. That all being said, 9 lbs in two weeks is a feat I hope never to replicate.

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