The Symptoms! By Spyros Melaris

The Covid-19 Experience with Spyros Melaris continues, I can\’t believe the various symptoms that have emerged from this horrible virus. It\’s an endless cornucopia of the gift that genuinely keeps giving — as with all viruses their ugly side tends to not stay hidden. I\’m thankful that Spyros has been chronicling his experience as these articles could help many individuals.  It\’s a very frightening situation to be exposed to.  Furthermore, I wanted to add, that recently I heard that Georgia Melaris, Spyros\’ sister has returned back to the front lines after recovering from Covid-19.  That type of bravery, determination, and the endless efforts put forth by all the essential services provided on a global level has filled me with such awe and appreciation.  


Rania M. M. Watts, EIC CCIQ Press 

The Symptoms! By Spyros Melaris 

My doctor asked if I could describe ‘The Symptoms’?

I said “Marge has a tall blue Beehive hair do, and Homer is yellow, bald and fat. “ That one always raises a smile with me, but the serious business of Covid-19 has been a challenge for me to maintain a sense of humour. My first symptoms did not fit with what we were being told in the media or from the experts as what Covid-19 is. At the outset, it seemed that this virus causes a dry cough and no runny nose. In fact, if the patient did not have a dry cough and a fever together, they categorically dismissed it as not being Covid-19.

To be factually correct, the common name for the virus when the news first broke the story was ‘Coronavirus’ – Covid-19 was introduced into the public domain a little later. Covid-19 is now used because it was getting confusing to the general public who after just a little research discovered that ‘Coronavirus’ has been around a very long time! – this is strain-19 but still a Coronavirus. I suppose the big question is why the powers that be didn’t feel that Corona 1-18 wasn’t a big enough deal to prepare for? So, what makes Covid-19 different? The following is from my experience and although I firmly believe the following account to be a fair representation, I have yet to ask the same question to 3 different ‘experts’ and get the same answer.

On the 19th March 2020, my symptoms started with sneezing, a persistent cough, and a runny nose.  I felt like I just had a regular cold. New symptoms would add themselves to the list… every muscle in my body was riddled with pain. I developed a cramp but only in my right calf. When the muscle cramped up, I was completely immobilised for quite a long time, up to 45 minutes of agony.  I didn’t suffer from cramp before this. I now had severe headaches to add to the increasing list.

I was wrong, this wasn’t a cold, it was more like flu. They did say that Covid-19 did feel like having regular flu for some people, but I was assured my symptoms didn’t fit and I did have regular flu at this juncture. I self isolated to be on the safe side.  I also found that I was constipated. This lasted 6 days which was very uncomfortable indeed.

On the 1st April 2020, a fever hit me overnight, it didn’t feel like I had a fever at all. In fact, I felt very cold. My temperature was very high at 39.07 …

I now had: 

1) Muscular aches and pains all over
2) A persistent Cough
3) Loss of smell and taste.
4) A constant gagging reflex leading to coughing fits
5) A fever and the constant feeling of being cold
6) My eyes were itchy, and my fingernails were very painful indeed.

My constipation ended and was replaced on the 5th of April when I developed a very nasty bout of diarrhoea. *  It went from one extreme to the other. I say nasty because this wasn’t the usual and expected version of diarrhoea, we have all experienced at some time in our lives… this was a relentless and very aggressive rendition of an old theme. This ‘new and improved’ diarrhoea didn’t know when to stop. Even when the entire contents of my very being had been expelled, it wanted more. I suffered with it for 3 days hoping it would eventually settle. I wasn’t eating very much more than boiled eggs and dry toast in an effort to calm everything down. Eventually I took just one ‘Imodium Instants’ and that was that. It was like a miracle.

I felt like I was sleeping very well indeed. It was as if once asleep my body shut down. Breathing was shallower and my muscles had a chance to settle down and relax.  I told my sister that I had a very refreshing night’s sleep and she informed me that I was coughing very loudly all night! I had no idea whatsoever.

My appetite was nonexistent, but my mum and sister were cooking different meals each day. I was given a little each day and although I didn’t really want it, I knew that I must eat. My mum’s soup was like a miracle medicine. Easy to eat and very soothing. My throat by this time was quite sore and hot soup was just the ticket. My chest feels like it is on fire each time I breathed in. With every breath out I feel the gagging reflex which urges me to cough. I have learned to control the depth of the breaths and it minimised the pain. I knew I had to keep the lungs working, fear of them getting accustomed to accepting less air. I heard that this virus could cause fibrosis of the lungs and once this had set in that was pretty much damage that could not be remedied later. It was near impossible to force full breaths without instigating coughing fits. I had to gently chose the times I pushed my luck. Late nights seemed easier than early morning when the lungs had a chance to allow a build up of moisture. I wake up coughing each morning.

Unlike my sister, I do not vomit very easily. It’s always been this way. I’m usually quite resilient when it comes to motion sickness or vomiting at all. In my youth, I used to take flying lessons in a small Piper aircraft, and could very comfortably have a full English breakfast before the lesson with absolutely no problems whatsoever.

My sister was in the next room to me and was still suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting as well. We had similar symptoms, but our individual bodies dealt with them differently. My main issue was that my body was depleted having had 3 weeks of quite heavy Flu, and then in that weakened state I contracted Covid-19. While in hospital I had various blood tests and a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed a dark shadow on my left lung, this was the defining difference between how the virus affected me and how it affected my sister Georgia.  Georgia was lucky and was able to avoid the chest infection. This was a major plus in her favour.

When the ambulance came, they asked me if I have noticed any bleeding from anywhere…The doctors at the hospital asked that same question. The nurse who checked my temperature and blood pressure etc. also asked if I had any bleeding anywhere. This made an impression on me, and although I did not have any bleeding at all, I was interested to know more. Why hadn’t I seen this as a symptom of Covid-19? Or is this a generic question they ask all patients? Suffice to say, I was now very vigilant and looking for bleeding. I wasn’t sure where I might bleed from, but I was aware and monitoring the issue.
On the 14th April I noticed speck of blood on my tissue after blowing my nose. This was not a full-blown nosebleed but speck of blood. Again, not wishing to overreact, I monitored this, and it stopped after a couple of days.

It’s April 23rd, 2020, and it looks like I still have another 4 weeks to shake this chest infection. Other symptoms that persist are headaches, sporadic fever which comes and goes. The diarrhoea also comes and goes, and I am still lacking my sense of taste and smell. The cramp in my right calf has gone and is replaced with a muscular pain I cannot even describe on my left thigh. I am sleeping on my side and typically my left thigh is getting all my body weight while I sleep. I’m hoping it is just a matter of consciously alternating the sides I sleep on to even it up a bit. My concern is that the pain I am feeling is so excruciating that it feels like nothing I’ve experienced before.

I’m hoping it’s not deep vein thrombosis, but it seems possible. Is it a by-product of spending so much time in bed? Or is it something more sinister to do with Covid-19? I suppose I will just have to monitor it closely and see how it progresses. I don’t really want to keep calling doctors out when they are already overwhelmed with more cases than they can handle. So far, most of my ailments has dissipated of their own accord.

The main characteristic I’ve seen with this virus is that it is capable of laying dormant, and re introducing itself a few days later. I read that viruses in general will seek to take over a healthy cell, and immediately make that cell its own, without hesitation the virus splits and duplicates itself. The host body is therefore aware of the invasion and the threat. Covid-19 has the ability to take over the cell but, lay dormant and therefore undetected (the incubation period). It will wait while many other Covid-19 viruses occupy more cells and also remain dormant, giving the body no clue that it is being invaded.

When there are sufficient cells occupied, the virus becomes active and duplicates itself within each cell across the board and the invasion comes as one big attack. This tact will seriously compromise an elderly person or an unhealthy or otherwise compromised body. In order to survive, the host body must now produce more healthy cells which can in their own right swallow and disqualify the intruding viruses. The longer the host body takes to achieve this, the easier it is for the virus to get a hold on the lungs and to cause permanent damage, even death.

In my case, I had already had 3 weeks of heavy flu, so my body although generally fit, was already busy working overtime to contain that flu. The second infection of Covid-19 caused my immune system to work double time to try and contain the Covid-19 virus as well. My understanding is that once the body has overcome a virus, it builds an immunity to it and that person cannot get that same virus strain again. Experts argue that they don’t know enough about this Covid-19 virus and they can’t say if an immunity will be automatic or short lived.

I believe that once the virus has been beaten the host body is immune to that virus strain. Many experts agree with me based on the historical data of other Corona-viruses and viruses in general. This is my understanding of how viruses work. To rewrite the book now because we haven’t seen this specific virus before seems overly cautious and absurd to me.
Perhaps they are confusing the issue by including the fact that this virus is capable of laying dormant between attacks. Personally, I am not out of the woods yet, but I do feel a lot better. The muscular pains (except my left thigh) have gone, the fever is not with me all the time, and the last time I woke up with a fever and cold sweats was on the 20th April.

I am fine at the moment. The diarrhoea has also gone, and I am coughing a lot less. My chest is heavy, and I feel that it is now at a stage where it might start to expel mucus which is something that hasn’t happened yet. The infection in my left lung is still quite severe. Although I am feeling a lot better than I was, I’m not relaxed, as I have seen this virus rear its ugly head after being dormant a few days, giving me a false sense of security. 

We were originally told that the virus had an incubation period of about 14 days. The reality is that it can be anything between 3 and 27 days!  The reasoning behind the extended 27-day period is thought to be a resurrection period, where the virus ‘comes back’ after laying dormant.
Hopefully, this is the tail end of this ordeal for me. I will keep you informed.

Spyros Melaris is a director and producer, known for The Alien Autopsy (1995), Mr Magic, Dirty Tricks (1999) and Beckham Mania: The Kick Off (2002).

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