Today's submission opted to remain anonymous, but we thank her for the strength she has displayed in sharing her experience.
"I wanted to share my COVID-19 experience. At this point, 1 in 100 Americans have it, and you might think you don’t know anyone who has had it. When Gov. Wolf first issued the stay at home order in March for PA, I was one of the very few still working in person. I took COVID-19 seriously, and I went only to work. I went directly to my car to an office and shut the door. No where else. I washed my hands at least 5 times a day, used hand sanitizer frequently. I had disinfecting wipes and wiped my desk twice a day. Cloth masks weren’t recommended. I didn’t wear one & neither did anywhere else.
Gov. Wolf tightened the restrictions for the lockdown, and I began working remotely. It started with a sore throat within 24 hours after switching to remote work. Within 4 days, I had to have a fan blowing on me to make it easier to breath as I would sometimes be struggling for air as I fell asleep & be afraid I wasn’t going to wake up. I was so tired I couldn’t walk upstairs to bed and began sleeping on the couch. I didn’t get to sleep in my bed again for almost a month. I started to get better after 7 days only to get much worse again and finally get the fever. This isn’t like a cold where you get sick and then feel better. It’s a wave of ups and downs with downs feeling more extreme and every day of improvement feels like false hope. And it often was. To be clear, this felt nothing like the flu.
I called my doctor and explained I had the symptoms right away. There were no tests available for me. As my symptoms progressed and we stayed in touch, she became more confident I was a positive & would be treated as such. I asked what to do if I got worse and basically heard that if I was confident I couldn’t get air on my own (& didn’t think I could make it) to call to see if I could be accepted to a ICU. She later prescribed me an asthma medication as my breathing worsened, but it was over prescribed and not available anywhere in Philly. An OTC drug helped, but the only way I got it was a friend offered a few pills left over in her cabinet (thank goodness) due to all the panic buying.
Any takeout or grocery delivery was pretty much impossible without a friend to help bring the food upstairs as food would be brought to the front of the apartment building and going down the stairs would be a violation of quarantine (& probably impossible physically). I had enough food, but I couldn’t help but to ration while trying to recover. I ate plenty of ramen.
As I got better, inflammation persisted & caused sharp stabbing pains periodically through different areas of my chest. I would set a timer to do dishes for no more than 15 min & lie down for a few more hours. Basic things like cooking lunch or making tea would be too much activity & result in more pain. These pains happened frequently until they were a little less and a little more and on and on. They persisted throughout March, April, & into May at times. Once in a while, usually after exercise, I still have them.
The worst part is I also gave it to my fiancé as we lived in a one bedroom apartment. I don’t remember how many weeks we stayed locked together in quarantine in that one room apartment. Despite my doctors best assurances that my chest pains were from inflammation & I had cleared the virus, I was terrified to infect anyone else & remained indoors maybe longer than necessary. There were still no tests available to demonstrate I was negative so my quarantine guidelines opted towards caution.
I worry a lot about others in my life taking risks right now, it’s hard to watch. I also worry about catching COVID-19 again, if there is already damage in my lungs, I don’t feel ready for round two.
I had a mild case of COVID-19."