Sarah Tuttle-Singer
Sarah Tuttle-Singer

I was healthy. And then I got sick with COVID-19

Another snapshot from a recent trip to LA

Ripped jeans, bare arms, ink on display

But what you can’t see is that I still have an aching heart.

And not in a country music, sappy love song achey breaky heart kinda way.

My heart literally physically hurts.

It began after I recovered from COVID seven months ago. 

A dull, cold ache throughout my chest

Then, as though stabbed by a thin blade, my heart will seize with sharp pain so fierce I can scarcely breathe.

The doctors shrug. It isn’t a heart attack – it’s just… well, they don’t know except it happens to a lot of covid survivors. And they don’t know.

Good news: The vaccine *actually* helped – this used to happen alllll the time. Now it’s far less frequent.

But even though I am better, I can still feel it. And sometimes it’s debilitating and I need to lie down and I can hardly speak.

I get tachycardic – heart thudding like a herd of zebras stampeding across desiccated grasslands. Breathing like I’m sucking through a wet straw. My joints are stiff – and no, it’s not because I rolled them too tight LOLZ.

What you also can’t see are the holes in my memory, how they’re getting bigger, jagged around the edges, swallowing other parts of my mind, and yet somehow leaving space for new things that I can’t understand to take shape … how sometimes I am aware of pathways between the stars and thoughts that stretch between two people on opposite sides of the city, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I handed you my credit card to buy whatever it is I forgot I wanted at Aroma

I assure you, I wasn’t this way before COVID.
My heart and lungs and joints and mind behaved, thankyouverymuch.

And while I’m not like this *all* the time, there are some afternoons , or nights or mornings – or buried in the hours in between – when the specter of the virus shakes itself awake and emerges..shambling, baleful, merciless.


I’ll be ok.
But it isn’t ok.

Because when it comes for me – relentlessly staggering, drooling, eyes bulging, so so soooo hungry, I am not ok.

None of this is ok.

Why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you this because before I was sick I used to be healthy, and the truth is I don’t know what covid has done to me long term and neither does anyone.

And as doctors learn more and more about the effects of COVID on the body and the brain, they’re learning that no – it doesn’t necessarily go away. Not after two months. Not after twelve months. Maybe not ever.

So please. If you are eligible for the vaccine and haven’t yet taken it, please take it.

You don’t want this virus. It isn’t just the flu, or a bad cold. This thing is an exploding bullet and it can wreak havoc on you and limit your quality of life.

And that’s if it doesn’t kill you.

Again: I was healthy until I got sick.  And now? All I can do is take each moment as it comes – some are spectacular, others excruciating – and hope… really hope… that by telling you how truly awful this virus is, you’ll take the vaccination and do everything you can to make sure this doesn’t become YOUR story, too.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Israel with her two kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.