Yesterday morning, two days after first experiencing some symptoms and wrestling with whether they were due to anxiety or allergies or an actual indication of the Coronavirus in my system, I called an urgent care facility. I explained what was happening and they said to come in. After a full exam (which included ruling out flu, strep and pneumonia), the doctor said he is 95% sure I have COVID-19. The only way to say 100% is if I get tested, but since there are so few tests available and I am not in a high risk group, he did not recommend getting one at this time.
He instructed me to go home, quarantine myself in a separate room from my family for the next ten days and ride it out. He gave me a doctor’s script that says I am presenting with COVID-19 symptoms so that I can go directly to the hospital should I have difficulty breathing, but also assured me that I am a healthy person and should be fine.
So far, my symptoms are manageable. They come and go. I will list them in detail at the bottom of this post. I think the worst part is being scared about how it will progress. I feel better now that I am separated from my kids and they know what’s going on, because during the “am I a hypochondriac?” phase, I was having trouble trying to keep a distance while also trying not to alarm them. I had anxiety about whether or not I had it, what that would mean and if I was actively spreading it to my family. I was also running around trying to be Super Mom. Entertaining the kids, teaching the kids, feeding the kids, taking care of the kids, and trying to get work done.
Now at least, I have one job— to get well.
Mike is so far feeling fine and taking great care of me. He is truly amazing in a crisis and has been since we got out here. I joked that we could play Love is Blind in reverse and talk through the door. I think he is having fun leaving food by the door like I’m in prison.
I’ve stopped watching the news because everything sounds too dire. What makes me feel better is reading real accounts from people I know. When I say “people I know” I mean Tom Hanks, Idris Elba, Debi Mazar and Arielle Charnas. Arielle is a fashion blogger I follow on Instagram. I saw that she had COVID-19 way back before I thought I would personally affect me, on. Since I started feeling symptoms, I’ve been checking her Instagram repeatedly. The other day she started feeling better and posting videos of her girls again on her story, and it gave me life when I was in a very dark place.
That’s one reason I decided to be transparent and totally open here.
I was also encouraged by my dad, who has been very diligent for weeks, and wants me to help people understand how necessary it is to stay home, even if you are feeling fine.
I believe I contracted the virus on March 11th from a friend who got sick two days later. It was back when schools were still open and they were saying no gatherings of over 500. This was a gathering of two.
That means I had the virus in my system for 8 DAYS and felt totally fine.
Another thing to note is that neither me or my friend have gotten tested, even though both our doctors believe we have it. I know three more people personally in the same position. This means that whatever numbers are being reported, it is exponentially higher. Most people just don’t have symptoms severe enough to warrant using up one of the few tests we have.
Here is the timeline of my symptoms:
Thursday night, March 19th: Felt a few waves of dizziness and became hyper aware of my breathing and a tightness in my chest (although I honestly couldn’t tell if there was a problem or if it was due to anxiety), woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat (which was alarming but also something that happens to 45yo women occasionally)
Friday: Diarrhea in the morning but otherwise felt fine, decided everything was just due to anxiety (they are now saying that some cases present with diarrhea, but at the time, I didn’t see any mention of that being a symptom)
Saturday: Had a tickle in the back of my throat and a tingling in my nose which, after googling “how can i tell if it’s Coronavirus or allergies?” I attributed to allergies. I played soccer with my family in our yard and had some shortness of breath (which I thought could be attributed to playing soccer for the first time in about 30 years). That night, I got a few more waves of dizziness and a headache, but no fever. These definitely didn’t feel psychosomatic. I took every immune support thing I could think of, including eating an entire clove of raw garlic.
Sunday morning: Woke up at 4am with chills and weird feelings running up and down my body, but still no fever. I called an urgent care doctor, described my symptoms and he told me to come in. After examining me, detecting some wheezing and ruling out flu, strep and pneumonia, he said he was 95% sure I had COVID-19. He told me to go home, quarantine myself from my family for the next ten days and ride it out there. He also gave me a doctor’s note so that I could go directly to the hospital if I started to have trouble breathing.
As of today: Headaches have increased but temp not that elevated. More consistent body aches that come in waves of nausea and tingles. Occasional light-headedness, which I think happens due to shortness of breath. No real fatigue and not much coughing. Distorted sense of taste and smell. I ate a piece of cheese and it tasted like a pillow. Headaches are worse at night. Symptoms come and go. Sometimes I feel totally fine and sometimes I feel more obviously sick. Miss my kids.
If my symptoms stay like this, they are sucky but manageable. The fear is that they may take a turn for the worse. I have heard stories that go both ways. I am keeping positive. I have been talking multiple times a day to my friend who I believe I contracted it from. Our symptoms appear to mirror each other, although she is eight days ahead of me. She is feeling much better, but not quite 100%.
One more thing you should know. I hate sympathy. If you are leaving a comment, encouraging words are much preferred!
If you would like to follow my progress, I’ll be posting in real time on @mommyshorts Instagram.