A very good friend of mine texted me over the weekend to inform me that his lovely wife tested positive with COVID-19. He was letting me know because I was over their house three weeks prior discussing the upcoming crisis we all knew was coming. I asked him if she would be willing to write a brief synopsis of her experience. Her profession is a Speech Language Pathologist (Speech Therapist) and she is in her mid-20s with none of the truly dangerous underlying confounding health factors. Here is her story. To see all of American Partisan’s coverage on the Coronavirus, please click here and check back often as we update it regularly with links to our new reporting.
To begin, I work in a Nursing home with the hardest hit population of this Coronavirus. Naturally, most of my patients are 70+ and have underlying healthcare conditions (diabetes, heart disease, COPD, etc). Starting in the last week of March, we have lost over 6 patients to COVID-19. That is the same week patients in my facility began to get tested. The Friday of that same week is when we as staff members were finally given the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This is 2 weeks after the mandated lock downs and recommendations for PPE in NJ.
The next day, Saturday March 28th, I woke up without my sense of smell or taste and a light tickle in my throat. While I had read that some people are experiencing loss of smell and taste, I truly believed it was the start of a sinus infection as I get one every year at the change of the seasons. These are the same symptoms I personally get with a sinus infection and just because COVID-19 is running rampant doesn’t mean other everyday illnesses cease to exist. I did not being to smell and taste again until 7 days later on Friday April 3rd. In that time, I had no other symptoms. No fever, no cough, nothing.
On Monday April 6th, I had an extremely hard time getting out of bed for work. Again, I didn’t think much of this. I have had my thyroid removed and am on replacement hormone which my doctor and I are still trying to work out the appropriate dosage for me to feel “normal”. Sometimes if I take my medicine late or eat something to upset my stomach, my medicine does not absorb appropriately and I feel fatigued the next day. On Tuesday, I started to get a little bit paranoid. I had several patients test positive for COVID-19 and I had been in their rooms recently with little PPE. (Note: I have been wearing a personal N95 mask since the middle of March and I wash my hands a minimum of 40 times a day)
I began to think maybe the fatigue I was feeling wasn’t because of my medicine. On Wednesday, I started to develop a very mild cough. When I say very mild I mean I would cough once or twice every other hour or so. Still no fever. That night, my cough had gotten significantly worse. I didn’t get much sleep due to the coughing fits. During the day on Thursday my cough was back to being mild and some added fatigue from a rough nights sleep. I was able to do a telemedicine call with my primary care doctor that day. My main concern was that I had contracted the virus and could potentially be spreading across the facility. My doctor agreed. I was given a script for a COVID-19 test and Z-pack as my doctor stated some of his patients with the virus had improved symptoms with it.
On Friday morning, I got a nasal swab done for the virus at my local community college where there was a drive thru test site set up. I was told I would get the results in 3-5 days. On Saturday around 4pm, I had got my positive test result via email. I began the Z-pack on Saturday along with steaming my sinuses.
On Sunday April 12th, my cough was much more prevalent than it had been. At times I was having moderate shortness of breath. Occasionally it felt as I had a large dog siting on my chest. But by the next morning, that was gone.
As I type this right now, 5 days after my positive test result, I feel fine. I have a very mild cough still. If this was just a cold, I would have gone back to work on April 14th. I never had a fever, no body aches, and besides the one day, I did not have shortness of breath. While I have been home I haven’t been vegging on the cough either. I’ve been doing yard work, moving furniture, baking, cooking, and cleaning. Other than my thyroid issues, I am a relatively healthy person. I could absolutely benefit from losing 20 lbs but I have no trouble keeping up with an hour workout class. I have never smoked or vaped. I have 3-4 glasses of wine a week and I am on my feet most of the day at work.
For me, having the Coronavirus had not been anything more than a common cold and a headache trying to deal with the unemployment office.