Living with COVID-19

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Disclaimer: This is NOT medical advice.  This is one Mom’s experience of living with COVID-19, for which she tested positive for (not presumptive).  Be sure to use virtual visits to connect with your healthcare providers if you have concerns about your health.  

Yes, you read that title correctly. On Tuesday, April 7, I received the news that I tested positive for the COVID-19. It was late afternoon and I saw my phone lighting up with several incoming phone calls at once – all with numbers I didn’t recognize. I had a bad feeling, so I went online to see the results before hearing them from someone else. My result said “detected;” what I wanted to see was “not detected.” I was without the symptoms that had been burned into my memory: fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. So what prompted me to get tested in the first place?

I had woken up on Friday, April 3, prepared to go to work. I manage two adult family homes, so I am considered an essential employee. My employer had been excellent about educating us employees on what to look for as far as symptoms of the virus.  So, I went to simply get out of bed, and I couldn’t. My entire body hurt…even bending my fingers and toes hurt. My knees felt like they would snap if stood up. I hobbled to the bathroom to pull my hair up into a ponytail, and the pain in my arms was so excruciating that I couldn’t complete the task.  In addition, I felt like I needed about 12 more hours of sleep. I did not have a fever or cough or shortness of breath at that time. But luckily my employer had trained me well, and I knew that I should call my doctor for guidance. Friday, April 3, ended with me getting tested for COVID-19 and influenza.

Since I have been diagnosed, I have read a lot about people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and no two persons’ stories of living with COVID-19 sound the same. My experience was split into distinct time periods: Week 1 and Week 2. Week 1 I experienced fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and weakness. Again, I did not have a fever or cough. I slept between 12 and 15 hours a night. It took a lot of effort to do simple things, like walk into the kitchen to get something to drink. It reminded me of when I had mono when I was 17. I couldn’t do anything, but I didn’t feel overwhelming pain or sickness.

living with covid-19I felt the most ill during Week 2. I had heard that the virus often gets bad from Days 10-12. I did go to the emergency room once in Week 2. I wasn’t coughing. I had some shortness of breath. The main issue was pain in my chest and what felt like my ribs. It felt like my muscles were sore from coughing, without the coughing. I had periods of time when I had the chills; other times I would sweat. The thermometer never showed a number higher than 98.0. I was still sleeping as if it were my job. The first time I loaded the dishwasher I felt more accomplished than I did when I got my Master’s Degree. Toward the end of Week 2, everything began to turn around. My symptoms slowly slipped away until they were gone.

What I want you to take away from my experience living with COVID-19 is: pay attention to what your body is telling you. I had a deep feeling in my gut that I was getting sick. Normally, I would have “pushed through” those symptoms and gone about my daily life, unknowingly exposing everyone within 6 feet of me. I listened to how badly my joints hurt and knew it was a different pain than I’d felt before. I had gotten plenty of sleep the night before – I shouldn’t have felt like I need to go back to bed and hibernate for 2 weeks. It is possible to have this virus and not have a fever or a cough, so pay attention.

Don’t panic.

Living with COVID-19 is scary, sure. But I fleetingly thought of the scary statistics and quickly moved on to thinking about survival rates. I had a COVID-19 plan in place for weeks and quickly put it into action. My younger son had to quarantine for 2 weeks with his dad. He was safe and I knew he would be monitored properly. My older son had been staying with my parents in UP to get home-schooling. My employer and the health department made the contacts that needed to be made on my behalf. This eased my anxiety and helped me focus on one thing: getting better.

living with covid-19

I do see a silver lining. I am truly grateful. My immune system is stronger than I gave it credit for. I’m in awe of everyone at the clinics and hospitals who risked their lives to take care of me. My doctor called to check on me every single day. The quality of care was top notch. I felt loved and supported through this entire ordeal. To the people who checked on me daily, to the people that stopped by to drop off food, groceries, drinks, Easter baskets, treats…thank you. To all those that offered to help and sent well wishes…thank you. These are the things that made me get better, faster. 

Finally, I’m grateful for FaceTime. Being without my boys for weeks is something I never imagined. It was far worse than any physical symptom I had. I at least got to see their smiling faces several times every day – and that was the only medicine needed!

 

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I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and moved to Green Bay in 2005. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Michigan University and a MBA from Lakeland College. I manage two community-based residential facilities in Green Bay. I have two boys, ages 11 and 3. Moving to Green Bay from the UP was a great decision for me. There are so many things to do in this area and a lot of them don't cost anything. My boys love time spent outdoors on the Fox River Trail, Voyageur Park, and any of the public swimming pools/water parks in the summer.