April 2, 2020: Written at the end of Day 9 of my adventure with COVID-19…aka Coronavirus
When I planned a trip to New Orleans from March 11-13th for a study group, I had no idea that we’d be on the brink of a pandemic. In fact, you couldn’t even tell that anything was going on…the streets were still packed and the bars and restaurants were full.
On the early morning of March 25, exactly two weeks after I’d been home from NOLA, I started vomiting and spiked a really high fever. This went on for 12 hours, and then I slept for about the next 24 hours. I had a consistent fever that would spike as high as 103 degrees. Day 3 I still had a fever and began getting congested. My body ached, my head ached, and I couldn’t sleep. On Day 3 I lost my senses of taste and smell, and those didn’t return until Day 8. Day 4 the diarrhea started, and I’ll spare myself from having to bring it up again, but it lasted until Day 8.
Day 4 is also the day that my roommate from my stay in NOLA called to inform me that she had been tested for COVID-19 and that it was positive. I let her know that I’d been experiencing flu-like symptoms, and she said her symptoms were similar. I immediately called my Doctor. We had a Zoom appointment that day where the Doctor asked me about my symptoms, my exposure, and the timeline. At that point they were almost certain I had it, but I needed to be tested. There are not enough tests to test everyone who shows symptoms. The Doctor’s office I attend said at the time they were getting over 200 calls with suspected COVID-19 per day, and they only had 50 tests. Here is how they determined who did/didn’t get tested:
- If you are over 60, and/or have a suppressed immune system, go the hospital to be tested.
- If you are under 60, do not have a suppressed immune system, but you have symptoms of COVID-19: Stay home, quarantine, and treat with over-the-counter medicine.
- If you are everything from #2 AND you’ve had direct physical contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you get tested at the Doctor’s office.
I’m sure not all clinics are handling it this way, and things are changing constantly. But at the time I was going through this I fell into category #3 so I was scheduled to be tested at my Doctor’s office. This determination was made on Day 4, but I wasn’t tested until Day 7.
Day 7, I was actually feeling a little better. My fever came and went but I was still having digestive issues and still couldn’t taste anything. My appetite had started to return a little bit by this point. For the test, I was instructed to stay in my car and park behind the building by the dumpsters. My husband, Jerod, had a theory that I was going to pull up and they were going to shoot me and dump my body. Luckily for me that wasn’t the case. I pulled up and someone came out in full medical protective equipment and swabbed my nose. It felt like they swabbed my brain. Ouch. I was told that results would take seven days, and that I may be feeling completely recovered by the time we found out if I even had it at all.
Here are the rules I had to play by until I got my test back, and had to continue to play if I tested positive for COVID-19:
- I had to stay on isolation quarantine (away from my family and in only one room/bathroom) for:
- At least 7 days past the first onset of symptoms, AND
- 72-hours following being symptom-free.
- My family had to stay quarantined in our home for 14 days following my last symptom.
Day 8 I started to slowly regain my senses of taste and smell. Slowly…“Do I taste this orange or is it a taste memory?” By that night it was almost entirely back, and I had tacos and ice cream for dinner. On Day 9, today, I felt good. I had some lingering stomach issues, but that could have been from the tacos and ice cream after 8 days of mostly broth.
Today, April 2nd, is also when my Doctor’s office called with the results. It took 2 days, not 7 like they had predicted. And the test was positive. Even though I was sure it was going to be, it was still crazy to get the news. My Doctor advised me to continue with the treatment plan of 72 hours isolation/14 day home quarantine. He hadn’t seen many (I think I was one of the first) positive tests, and he asked a ton of questions about where I’d been, my symptoms, the timeline, what amount of exposure my kids and husband had, etc. He decided at that point that my husband had to be tested right away. He is going to have a team meeting tomorrow morning to discuss my case and determine if they will proceed with testing the girls, and part of that would depend on whether or not they have enough tests.
My Doctor also let me know that my blood is going to be very valuable to help treat people now that I have the antibodies. So I’ll be donating blood as early and as often as I can.
Things I did wrong:
- Travel to New Orleans during what turned into a pandemic. I was joking about “the Rona” and really thought it was media hype. Things escalated really quickly, and I’m glad I got home when I did.
Things I did right:
- STAY HOME: As soon as I got home from traveling, I made a personal decision to quarantine for 5 days. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t start to show any symptoms. By the time that the 5 days were up, the epidemic situation had progressed to a pandemic and we were all being asked to stay home if possible. So I continued to stay home.
- I never went to the office or saw my employees or any clients.
- I never saw my parents, in-laws, or any family members outside my husband/kids.
Had I not stayed home, I would have seen my employees – one of which lives with her grandmother and would have then potentially exposed her. I would have seen my parents, my in-laws, my friends….What if it had directly or indirectly given it to my 96 year-old grandparents? The potential spread of this scares the living hell out of me when I think of how many people could have contracted this…because of me.
Coronavirus didn’t kill me. It made me really sick for a few days. But the same exact virus is quickly killing people. And not just those who are older or who have a suppressed immune system…there are stories of perfectly healthy people dying from the exact same virus I just tested positive for. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself knowing I spread this virus because I didn’t stay home, could you?
The next steps are for me to get healthy so I can be with my family again and give my husband a break because he’s been doing everything for the house and kids, including remodel our downstairs bath and be the teacher for the homeschooling we’re doing as a result of this pandemic. Luckily we have an amazing support system, as we’ve had friends showing up with food, supplies, etc. We are doing well, and the girls are actually handling this all like little champions.
Jerod will be tested tomorrow, and tomorrow we will also hear about a plan for testing the girls. Since my first phone call to the Doctor’s office I’ve been told that the CDC will get involved and interview me at some point, but I don’t know what that looks like yet. Do they just call me? Do they show up at my door in hazmat suits? I’ll let you know when I find out!