Hi. My name is John, and I’m a COVID Longhauler.
My earliest symptom of COVID was this horrible, disgusting, metallic taste in my mouth. Before the exhaustion, before the brain fog, before the positive test, there was this invasion that made me feel like I had some sort of liquid, nasty, blech squishing from my salivary glands.
It wasn’t until after my diagnosis that the mouth sores came. I had a particularly bad evening with that metallic taste, and then there were a few bumps on my lower lip. Then my cheek was like ground beef. It got worse.
Ew. Just… ew.
For the past two months, these mouth sores have come and gone. They are very much connected to how bad that horrible taste in my mouth is. I’m starting to notice a connection between overdoing it during the day, getting exhausted, the bad taste being really bad and the mouth sores just exploding.
It’s disgusting. It makes me feel disgusting. Like there should be a Mouth Sore Colony like the leper colonies of old.
Last night was such a night. I had worked two hard days (well, COVID long days, anyway) and felt good about it because I love, love, love my work. I took my normal breaks to rest, but when I got home, I felt it. Exhaustion. It starts under and around my eyes, like this deep, sunken feeling. The bad taste got worse and worse, and it was like my mouth was a mushroom patchafter a good rain. First my lip. Then my right cheek. Then my left. My teeth feel like they have about an inch of some film on them, especially the back of my front teeth. I brush. Nothing comes off. I use mouthwash. It helps alleviate the taste for a few minutes.
I spent the evening looking like The Joker from The Dark Knight, licking my lips and opening my mouth just to try to feel better. (“Do you know how I got these scars? ….”
I have found nothing… nothing… that can make this stop once it starts, except maybe going to bed. When I wake up in the morning, the bad taste is minimal, and all that remains are the sores, which, if there’s not another flare-up, take a few days to heal.
Longhaul COVID comes with many indignities. Spending at least a few nights a week feeling like your mouth is rebelling against you is just one of them.
So in the spirit of what all us Longhaulers do, “Anyone else have this happen to them? Any clue on how to address it?”
John Agliata is a professional storyteller. You can try to start a conversation with him by emailing him, commenting or sending him a carrier pigeon. He was diagnosed with COVID on Nov. 14, 2020 and is now officially a Longhauler. He fully recognizes that every person’s Longhaul journey is different. This is simply his journey, which he shares in the hopes that it will help fellow Longhaulers explain their lives to those who love them.