Thursday, April 2, 2020

My Experience With COVID-19

You never know what tomorrow brings...
Just like all of us I went food shopping, bought supplies got my home in order and basically got ready for us to go into PAUSE. Luckily my husband has a job that he can work from home and my son was able to finish his second semester completely online. Being a Public Health Nurse for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I was just waiting for the call to see where I would be placed to assist in this terrible pandemic. In the meantime I worked from home with breaks throughout the day for yoga, meditation and barre training. I could handle this, just stay positive and enjoy the time with the family, real life will again start before you know it.

Then BOOM......

DAY 1 : Body aches, chills and 101.3 fever
I told my husband I felt weird and I think I have fever. I take my temperature and of course I was correct. I did not think I had coronavirus, my first instinct was damn I just HAD to get sick in the middle of all this. Why didn't I think it was Coronavirus? Because I'm a super germaphobe. I wash my hands like no other, I'm constantly cleaning everything with lysol. Just to give an example, when we get to hotels I wipe EVERYTHING with lysol from the bathtub to the remote. My husband thinks its hilarious but appreciates it just the same. So anyway I knew it was not coronavirus.

DAY 2 : Body aches, chills and fever
No issues with breathing, just really uncomfortable. My husband suggested I call my doctor. Doctor said to give it a few days and to call back if I have any trouble breathing. He recommended tylenol and lots of fluids....

DAY 3-DAY 5: NO CHANGE! The body aches and fever never stopped. I still did not have any breathing issues or coughing so I didn't panic. I continued to rest and thought any day I should wake up and feel better...


DAY 6 : The cough begins... it started with a scratchy throat. It literally felt like sand paper when I swallowed. I was so ridiculously uncomfortable. I did not have any abnormal respiratory issues, however I did use my asthma pump a few times. This is pretty typical whenever
I get a cold or virus since I have asthma. My husband convinced me to call my doctor just in case so I did. He told me its a possibility I have coronavirus but he did not want me to go to the ER unless I had shortness of breath. He was worried I would pick up something worse or catch corona if I didn't already have it. So he sent cough medicine and asthma medication to my pharmacy and and told me to keep him posted on how I feel.

DAY 7 : Now its been an entire week and my fever finally broke. At least thats one symptom gone which makes my body feel more relaxed. I was in so much pain all week. It reminded me of how miserable I was when I was going through chemotherapy. I still have a bad cough so I'm staying away from my family. I went online and requested an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. I figured it was time.

DAY 8 : Still have my cough but no fever. I called the CDC to request a test because I haven't heard back from the first request. Since I'm not in pain anymore I decided to get up and shower to see if it helps me feel a little better. While in the shower I had a coughing fit and it scared me. I got out the shower, got dressed and walked downstairs to my living room but I couldn't catch my breath. I called for my husband and began to cry because I couldn't take a deep breath. My husband jumped into action and left a message with my doctor and asked our son pack a bag for me. the 2 of them scrambled to get things ready to get me to the hospital. While sitting there I tried to do meditation breathing to help me, it kept me a little calm however I was scared. I was scared I would be placed on a ventilator, I was scared to leave my family I was scared I was going to die. Not being able to breath is the worse feeling to ever have. I was taking very small breaths which made it impossible to even speak. I was scared.

We got to the ER within 5 minutes. It looked like we arrived to a movie set. Everyone was in full protective gear. As we walked towards the entrance a person in a hazmat suit pointed to a window. There was a lady behind the window who pushed a button to speak and asked us what was wrong. I couldn't speak so my husband answered all questions for me. She then placed 2 bracelets on me, the typical Name, DOB and MNR # and a bright orange bracelet with the date written on it. She then directed us to sit in front of a white tent. We waited for just a few minutes and then a nurse called us into the tent. I remember thinking please don't make me have to go in alone, but the nurse was nice and said he could stay with me. They took my vitals, my oxygen levels were good so they told us to just sit and wait and a doctor would see me. While sitting we watched other patients come in and explain their ailments. Some had the same symptoms as me. Others where there for other issues which you wouldn't necessarily go to an ER for, however they had no access to their doctor because offices were closed so they had no choice but to go to the ER. The nurses were great, they were overwhelmed but were very caring towards every patient that came into our tent. So while waiting, my phone rings and it turns out to be registration from inside the hospital, they ask my husband several questions and before he hangs up he asks, "Does this mean she is being admitted?" The person says that he doesn't know. Another nurse came over to me and checked my vitals again and whispered to me, "I know you had cancer are you on any treatment?" I shaked my head no and she smiled and said thats good. She then moved on to take care of others. Finally a doctor came over to exam me. She was very kind and patient. My husband explained everything to her. She checked my lungs and then told us all my symptoms and timeframe are consistent with the coronavirus. She said she's sure I have it and asked if I was in contact with anyone who tested positive. I told her I was unsure. She informed me that she understands its hard to catch my breath but I am getting enough oxygen according to the pulse ox meter so she was not going to admit me. She said if at anytime at home I feel worse to call an ambulance and have them bring me in. What I needed to do now is rest, drink lots of fluids, take my asthma meds and just wait it out. I asked her how long before I would begin to feel better and she said it would at least be another week. She said I was young and strong and I would beat it. So we went home and I went back to bed.

DAY 9 : Still unable to take deep breaths or even talk. My husband has been very strict with giving me my meds every four hours. I'm drinking fluids, lots of tea, and thankfully I still have an appetite. I have been eating well and resting. Im not better but i'm not worse so thats something!

DAY 10 : Still have coughing and shortness of breath if I move too much but I am beginning to speak more normal today. Im still really tired and sleep alot.

DAY 11 : I can take deeper breaths so thats good. I'm dying for a cup of coffee but my husband wont let me. I still have a cough so I keep my mask on all day. I'm still pretty tired so I still spend most of the time in bed. I'm going to try and take a walk to the backyard today to see how I feel. I miss the sun. BTW I called the CDC for the 3rd time requesting an appointment to be tested. I told the representative Ive been calling since last week and I was in the ER this week and I have yet to be tested. He told me there were just so many people requesting to be tested they just haven't gotten to me yet. I asked for an estimate and he said he couldn't even give me that. He mentioned people were calling for every symptom they think is corona related. People are scared.

DAY 12 : I woke up feeling better then yesterday. I've been drinking my tea and taking my cough medicine. Unfortunately as the day went on my chest started feeling tighter. Its hard to explain, as an asthmatic when I'm short of breath I can feel the wheezing and take my inhaler and feel relief. With this virus it feels like a large marble is in the center of my chest putting pressure with each inhale. No wheezing and my inhaler doesn't provide relief. Its definitely a scary feeling. Anyway I don't have body aches anymore and I'm slowly starting to get energy back. If I exert myself I do run out of breath so I'm resting and taking my time. Let's see what tomorrow brings. Good night xoxo
Almost forgot, called the cdc hotline again and I spoke to a rep who told me so many people have been calling to get tested they are overwhelmed. I told him my situation and he said all I can do is wait and I will get a call eventually.

DAY 13 : I definitely feel better then yesterday. One thing I have noticed is that I wake up feeling better then I do at the end of the day when I go bed. My chest seems to get tighter as the day goes on and I can go all day without a cough but then in the evening it comes back slightly. Nothing like when the cough began but its still there. My energy levels are up but I do get fatigued still if I do too much. I spent some time in the backyard to get some fresh air which I definitely enjoyed. Im still taking my cough meds and my asthma meds. All in all it was a good day. Still no call back to be tested.

DAY 14 : I can't believe its been exactly 2 weeks since my first symptom! I woke up feeling great. I actually got off my butt and cleaned up my kitchen even though my husband yelled at me to stop and relax the entire time. I felt the urge to lysol everything, I did keep a mask on the entire time. It felt good to do something. My husband grilled some burgers today so we spent some time in the backyard again enjoying each others company. I felt so close to normal minus the mask of course. We listened to music and even made some s'mores. Today was great. It's currently 8:20pm and I feel my chest tight again just like yesterday. It's so strange it gets worse at the end of the day. It just feels like pressure right in the center of my chest when I take a deep breath. I can't wait for that feeling to go away. Anyway, I still haven't heard back regarding being tested. At this point I'm gonna start taking bets. How have all these celebs been tested when some don't even have symptoms meanwhile I've had severe symptoms and have called several times requesting one? Guess I'm not rich enough? Maybe because I live in the Bronx? Makes you wonder just how accurate those numbers are that they share with us each day. Things that make you go hmmmmmm...... Well my people have a great evening.

DAY 15 : I JUST RECEIVED A CALL TO BE TESTED AT 1PM TODAY! I'm wondering if by now I'll test negative, which will mean I'm no longer contagious to my family. Keep you all posted!