Is there such a thing as The covid-19 Brain?

I made a huge pot of mashed potatoes last night to hold me over, thanks to my still very limited diet of chicken broth, potatoes and bread. And thanks to my COVID19 brain, I woke up this morning to discover I never actually put the Tupperware in the fridge. So now I’m out a bag of potatoes and have to figure out what to cook. Again. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Again. This is not the first time that I have blanked out on something that I was in the middle of doing and simply forget to finish the activity that I had begun. It’s been happening a lot and frankly, I’m concerned.

Before Covid-19, I had nearly a photographic memory, a high IQ and I could multi-task decently well on inconsequential tasks. Since Covid-19, I feel like a geriatric patient who can’t even remember my name. The other day I couldn’t find my keys, so I had to use my spare. Two days later, I discovered my car keys in the freezer. How does that even happen?

Forgetting food out on the stove overnight has become common habit for me as well. Hell, I can begin boiling water, turn my back to answer a phone call from the doctor’s office and I’ll have forgotten that I had water on the stove until the scorched pan is re-discovered.

I was having word recall issues as far back as March 2020, but I just figured that was from the high fever and extraordinary headaches while having the pandemic, Covid-19. It’s now July. I’m supposed to be getting better and recovering. Rather than improving, I feel like I keep getting worse. Or I’m experiencing new symptoms that don’t make any sense–and I am no longer positive.

I have reached out to my doctor about my concern, but apparently other patients aren’t experiencing the magnitude of cognitive issues and fatigue that I have been complaining about. Infectious Disease at Stanford wants to rule out any other infections or reasons I’d have lingering symptoms. However, my doctors suspect by my lack of recovering that Covid-19 might mimic viruses like Epstein Bar and cause the body to develop Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, can be understood when you break down the Latin. This quote from Verywell Health breaks it down best:

The word myalgic is used for muscle pain and/or tenderness.

  • My is a shortened form of myo, which means muscle
  • Algic is the adjective form of algia, which means pain

The word encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and the nerves of the spinal cord.

  • Encephalo refers to the brain
  • Myel means spinal cord and medulla oblongata (the brain stem)
  • Itis means inflammation

In other words, ME/CFS means that the brain is literally inflamed. If having the COVID-19 virus can cause ME/CFS to develop in patients like me that just can’t seem to recover several months down the road, I’m starting to wonder if we will ever recover.

Regardless, if COVID-19 does cause ME/CFS, there is certainly something called The Covid19 Brain.

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