"I am attempting to describe an incident. My listener is trying to focus her attention but with each hesitation I can see it waning. My brain stammers silently for the worms needed to portray the subject of my convultion. I say something but it is all wrong and not as insertive as I had originally impended. I give up in castration." Mrs Malaprop might have said this.
A sometimes humiliating, often frustrating and frequently overlooked aspect of Long Covid (LC) is its propensity to accelerate faculty degeneration. The humiliation quotient is all too often precipitated by well-meaning friends and acquaintances who, in their attempts to reassure, insist that the same happens to them as they grow older. Yes, advancing years do that, too. LC just adds an order of magnitude.
I struggle to string sentences together in most conversations. Words come and go, interspersed with blank pauses, leading to sentences being delivered in staccato. Kind interlocutors' interest or attention, despite best efforts, begin to fade.
Trouble is, the LC sufferer isn't always conscious that it is happening or has happened.
One of the aspects of this that leaves me mortified is a recent lapse into malapropisms (sometimes also known as acyrologia, or Dogberryisms).
Relating my embarrassment to Shan (my wife), I tell her that I had just told a mutual friend that a description he'd used was a "prerogative term" for a specific type of person. I'd meant to say "pejorative term" and it had been embarrassing, especially as I'd only realised after I had walked away from the friend.
"You do that quite often these days," she retorted.
I hadn't even realised and immediately started trying to recall all the previous occasions on which I had committed such Dogberryisms. Those who know me will probably testify that I can be a bit curmudgeonly on the subject of correctly spoken English. It's not that I'm especially grumpy just that beautifully constructed sentences are music to my ears.
Long Covid is not a thing
I've already referred to assertions by kindly people alluding to garbled speech being a normal progression, which occurs with advancing years.
I went from an encyclopaedic knowledge of local geography to complete shutdown in less than two years. The information is often still there but I cannot access it when I need it in conversation. Give me a bit of time and a keyboard and I can eventually get it out. Useful but also demoralising when the moment is lost after that "bit of time".
There is also the syndrome that causes the general populace to question the existence of life's vicissitudes that are not easy to understand.
First it was ME that became dismissed as "Yuppy Flu" and now people wonder if there really is such a thing as Long Covid. After all the government funders of the NHS initially promised generous sponsorship of facilities to help sufferers through their frustrations. I had an interview and some tests that were sympathetic enough but, when they didn't shed the expected light, malingering became not necessarily an accusation but you could tell the thought was there.
Just as it did for ME sufferers. Fatigue, lack of concentration, poor sleep, muscle and joint aches, irregular heart beat episodes; they come and they go. Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water ...
Anxiety or reduced confidence may or may not be attributable to Long Covid. All I know is that I was a pretty confident cyclist a couple of years ago and now I have to pluck up the courage to venture out. Could be self-inflicted, of course. Sitting around bathed in self-pity? Perhaps? A secondary affliction resulting from the first?
Perhaps, if the other symptoms resolve themselves sufficiently, anxiety will step away, too.
I do like my adventures.
On the positive side, I am now, at the end of February 2023, far more capable of walking than in the intervening 29 months since that fateful Covid episode in 2020. Progress on the walking front has been a series of peaks and troughs but each peak is higher and each trough shallower. Strange heart palpitations persist but less frequently. Muscle and joint episodes at night are definitely less frequent.
I have a smashing e-Bike that lets me sneak past the fit boys up hills (if I'm close enough to them at the bottom). Haven't got back on the Bianchi yet ... can't wait for the day when its 7Kg lithe frame is again between my legs and that feeling of freedom unleashes itself as I crest a steep climb unassisted ...
Or maybe my time is up ... run out of road after too many injuries, operations and pandemics?
I sincerely hope not!
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