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The Footslog Through Swamp of Sadness

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Art by DELOR Guillaume

Artax! No!

If you grew up in the 80's the events of this scene are most likely seared onto your brain right next door to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Atreyu and his horse Artax, battling the depression inducing Swamp of Sadness until Atreyu begs, "Artax! You mustn't let yourself go! Come. Pull yourself out or you'll sink." In a devastating scene, Artax loses his will to live and is lost to the Swamp.

The last few weeks have felt like physically trying to drag Artax through the thick muck of the Swamp. I'm making it through, but I seem to have lost my horse.

I feel frustrated, irritable, and resentful. Why me? Why my horse? My physical limits as my body is in overdrive trying to replenish it's resources are keeping me wading slowly through the footslog of COVID.

The Footslog

I came across the word footslog when I was trying to find a way to express the daily ups and downs of long COVID. It can be used as a noun. As in, I can't wait to get out of this footslog. Or as a verb. As in, she footslogs through brain fog to remember why she opened the cabinet.

For me, it's a wide range of daily highs and lows. Sometimes, I have a couple of hours where I feel ok, granted I can't get up from the couch for more than a few minutes, but ok. A few hours later, I can't concentrate, see clearly, my heart is racing, and abdominal pain and nausea have me back in bed. The exhaustion paired with insomnia brings on crying and symptom fatigue and then I start all over again the next day.

I am fully vaccinated and have had my booster. The next question is usually, "Which one did you get?" I think my long COVID causes uncertainty for others who have also checked all the boxes, worn their mask, and been careful. Our COVID anxiety has us telling ourselves, she's not like me. She can't be.

Since you are likely still thinking, but for real, which one was it? I had Pfizer. I'm 43, I have no underlying health conditions, for most of my life I have been an avid runner (a bit more of a couch potato during the Pandemic), I wear a KN95 mask at work, all day every day, and my social life has been nothing to write home about.

If I hadn't had my booster, who knows how much worse this could be. If you haven't gotten your booster yet, make the time. We all have a lot to lose.

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