As could be expected we were quite tired and lethargic, we slept for the entire weekend. What we didn’t expect was that this fatigue plagued us for about two weeks. My lymph nodes, although less painful, remained swollen for a week. I somehow got the impression, from all the information in the media and on the internet about the disease, that it was only a small percentage of persons whose joint pains persisted after the other symptoms subsided, this impression was totally incorrect. Over a month after having the disease I continued to experience joint pains. The most painful and frequent being the pain in my fingers and wrists. I couldn’t open a bottle or grasp things properly. Getting up from the bed in the morning or from sitting for a prolonged period would result in pain and stiffness in my knees, ankles, back and hips. I hobbled like an old lady. It also brought new dimensions to wearing heels. My ankles, which normally give me no problems at all, hurt during and after wearing heels. ChikV is also quite talented at digging up your old injuries and hurting you where you’re already vulnerable. An interesting and attractive after effect of the disease that I’ve been experiencing recently is excessive peeling of the skin on my feet.
It’s not just me, I’m surrounded daily by others who suffer along with me. Just this Saturday I attended a wedding and encountered women scrambling for seats during the cocktails to relieve their “ChikV ankles”. Half my department at work contracted ChikV and on a given day you can find someone getting up super slowly, rotating a joint to ease stiffness, or limping. In the height of the outbreak in Kingston it seemed like half the office was absent at any given time. On a visit to Island Grill I observed a sign apologizing to customers for delays in service as they were experiencing a high level of absenteeism due to Chikungunya.
Although the symptoms still haven’t subsided completely, I’ve noticed an improvement this week. The severity of the pain and stiffness has reduced slightly. I’m hoping they will do me a favour and allow me to enjoy the holiday season in peace but we’ll see. Even while typing this post the joints in my fingers have been quite stiff and my right knee started to hurt from sitting cross-legged for too long.
The scary thing, which I don’t like to think about is that these joint pains can last for years. I pray it doesn’t, I pray for us all. This is only intended to be a three part series and I’d hate to be writing a post one year from now discussing continued symptoms and after effects. I’d much prefer it to be a distant memory. THE END … soon…hopefully.