I began self-distancing before the order in Oregon was even put in place. As a heart patient, I knew the importance of protecting myself, and the ones I love from this plague of a virus.
I did everything right…. but I still got Coronavirus.
I know the moment of my exposure – I knew it was happening even when I was in that moment.
I had been working from home, and made the decision to pick up a 90-day supply of my thyroid medication from the pharmacy, as to not have to worry about short supplies and a potential inability to leave my home. I had my thyroid removed back in 2010 after I went through a thyroid storm. I was just 25 years old and they found both cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. I now take thyroid medication every day to keep me alive, because without it, my body is no longer able to maintain metabolic function by converting food into energy and heat.
Back to my story, I head to the pharmacy to pick up my 90-day supply. The only issue? They messed up and only filled it for 30 days. After explaining that it needed to be 90 days, the pharmacist asked me to wait around for 25 minutes while they fixed the problem.
During this time, people were coughing around me and all throughout the store. Individuals in masks, and most without. When I got back into line, I had two people standing very closely to me, talking loudly, coughing, and discussing their body aches and fever. I texted my husband, was freaking out, and chose to wait in line for 10 minutes until I could get the medication I need. Afterwards, I immediately went home.
Over the next few days, I stayed home, other than to ride bikes around the neighborhood, or head to an open field to watch my son throw his javelin.
3 days after the exposure, I woke up in the middle of night, and everything was spinning. I got out of bed to use the bathroom and almost fell over. I had to hold onto the counter and the door frame just to make it back to bed. I laid my head down, and the spinning continued. Twice more I woke up and the spinning was worse and worse. By the time morning came, I told my husband what was happening, and he helped me to the bathroom. Within 15 minutes or so after awakening, the spinning went away.
Throughout the next few days, I was constantly taking my temperature, increasing water intake, and just praying I wasn’t sick. When the shortness of breath started the next day, I had no fever, so I told myself it was just allergies. To prove it, I did a 3-mile sprint, 45 minute TRX workout, 5 mile bike ride, and kicked a soccer ball around with my son that evening.
By that night, I was blind-sided by a high fever, diarrhea, and uncontrollable chills. I took tylenol, but my body continued to shake uncontrollably. This lasted about 6 hours.
My heart rate spiked into the 180’s, respiration increased to fast, shallow breaths, and I couldn’t fall asleep. My jaw was clenched tight from the pain and shaking, and my head throbbed. Out of an abundance of caution to protect my heart and prevent an arrhythmia or cardiac arrest, I took emergency beta blockers to help my heart.
I cried and told my husband that I was so sorry. I don’t know why I apologized – I think it was just the uncertainty of what was going to happen to me. I had done everything right, and protected myself, and my son. When it became obvious I was infected, I immediately began using a separate bathroom from the rest of my family, stopped kissing my husband, and even stayed away from snuggling my son. I knew respiratory droplets, and even viral shedding could be on my hands. Every time I blew my nose, I washed my hands. When I coughed, it was into a tissue or a shirt.
I had to protect them.
Days 3 through 12 of this virus were really rough, and broke me in so many ways. My digestive system was completely off, shortness of breath didn’t go away, my fever lingered 24-7, and I was neither getting worse or better. My amazing medical staff at Providence Tanasbourne stayed in touch with me multiple times every week to check my symptoms, call me back, and even do virtual meetings. I was given medical advice, testing options, and at-home care options.
Every night I went to bed, I both cried and prayed. I didn’t know what would happen to my heart and lungs. I just asked God for strength to fight this, and hope that I would see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Some days were worse.
Days and nights were filled with anxiety and anguish. I needed my heart to be okay, and my lungs to be clear – I need to be here for my son, and my husband. I needed my body to fight, and win!
I don’t think I have ever been this exhausted. Even walking up the stairs had me out of breath.
Today is day 14 of the virus. This is the first time I have not had Tylenol around the clock. In fact, I have not needed Tylenol in 20 hours! My temperature so far today has been very low to the point of almost average. This is the first day that I feel like my bod is trying to recover.
I still feel slight shortness of breath, and am a little tired, but this was the most energy I have had! I played video games with my son, made breakfast and lunch for myself, and even brought lunch upstairs to my son when he was video chatting with his classroom.
The last 14 have been hard, and I could not have done it without my husband. He has made every meal for not just myself, but even my son. He did all the dishes, laundry, cleaning and everything in between. All while having a full schedule at Nike the last couple weeks. He never once complained or made me feel bad. He consoled me every night before bed when I was anxious and scared, and even consoled my son when he struggled through anxiety in this unknown time. He is super man!
In this day and age, there is no such thing as being too careful. I didn’t make any mistakes, and did everything right. It just took one infected person, to ignore their symptoms, and head out into the population any way.
I am overjoyed to still be here, and able to share my story.
It will likely be another 14 days until I am able to enter back into society and the pains of trying to find rice at the grocery store.
Research shows that most individuals are no longer shedding the virus around 72 hours after symptoms and fever are gone. However, there are many cases where it has taken 14 days from being asymptomic before the virus is no longer found in an indvidual. To make sure that this virus stops at me, I will not be going out into the world until 14 days after my symptoms are gone. As of today, my temperature is still not completely normal, so my clock does not start yet.
For those of us who do get sick, I believe it is our social obligation to take measures to ensure the virus stops with us and doesn’t continue spreading. I don’t want my mistakes to cost someone their life.
It was once believed that Coronavirus ONLY affects those with underlying medical conditions. Although that is now debunked, it’s important to remember that someones “ONLY” is another person’s EVERYTHING. Life is life and it is always worth protecting.
“Shallow men believe in luck; wise and strong men in the cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson