My COVID-19 Story
Earlier this month, I posted about my experience on Facebook. Much to my surprise, the story resonated with many people and it was shared over 29,000 times. Below Is what I shared:
This was me 5 days ago at the West Allis Hospital. I have COVID-19. I tell you this because it has been a terrifying moment in my life and I urge you to take care. I also share this really personal thing with you so you can see a face of someone who actually has it. This global pandemic felt so abstract to me. Until it didn’t.
I am a generally healthy person. I have no underlying health conditions. Before March, I had never spent a night in a hospital bed. About 3 weeks ago, I started having chest pain. I self-quarantined but I wrote it off as anxiety. About 2.5 weeks ago, I got a fever. Despite regular Tylenol and ice packs, it could not be controlled. After a week of this and sleeping 20 hours a day, I went to the ER. They tested me and sent me home. A few days later I barely had the energy to get to the bathroom. I was so tired and winded. I went back to the ER and was admitted.
For the week I was in the hospital I had to have help going to the bathroom. The doctors were having a hard time controlling my fever. I slept covered in ice packs. My blood pressure was dangerously low. I was getting IV fluids because I was severely dehydrated. I could barely eat. I was on oxygen because I had a hard time breathing due to the pneumonia and fluid in my lungs. I feel so lucky I didn’t need a ventilator. When I had moments of physical relief, I sobbed. I tried to focus on my meditation app. I tried to reply to texts. I reflected on my life. I told my mom and Patrick I loved them.
I was released from the hospital 4 days ago but it’s not over. I am tired. I can do a little something and then have to rest. In fact, I write this with my head on a pillow.
The doctors are confident I’ll pull through, but there is always a caveat (“We aren’t sure exactly how this virus works.”). This caveat leaves me edgy. I’m afraid of taking 2 steps forward to take 3 steps back but so far I’m trusting the improvements my body is making. I feel a little better every day. Being home has really helped my spirits.
If you are afraid, I understand. I’ve looked face first into the beast and I am still afraid for me and for all of those who have yet to get COVID-19. If you have been diagnosed and are losing your mind, I want to be there for you to the best of my ability. DM if you are able. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t talked since elementary school, or barely at all. While not everyone will get as sick as I did, many will have mild symptoms and unknowingly spread it. Some will be more sick. I hope very few.
As I was being discharged, my pulmonary doc earnestly said, “Please tell people what happened to you.” I’m setting aside my tendencies toward privacy and I’m honoring his request. I guess it’s the least I can do to thank him for being on the frontline for me. Please take care of each other. And please take care of yourself.