On Friday, 14 December 2012, I would experience the sudden onset of an illness that, looking back almost a decade later, bears a powerful resemblance to the narratives of those suffering from long Covid.
That night, I had plans to meet a woman I was seeing. At the time, I was working as an adjunct English professor at a local college in Westchester, New York, commuting over the George Washington Bridge from my fourth-floor walkup in Hoboken, New Jersey, and trying to persuade distracted 19-year-olds to appreciate the black comedy and cryptic comeuppances of Flannery O’Connor. After walking back to my apartment from the gym, I showered and sprayed on cologne. But before I could leave, a wave of weakness and disorientation crashed over me. My balance became wobbly, and my stomach lurched forward and back. I staggered through my apartment as if it was the cabin of a boat heaving and pitching in a storm.
This weather, I was soon to find out, would never pass.