March 5th was a blissful and exciting day. My husband and I had dropped our kids off at Grandma’s house for a long weekend while we hopped a plane to Las Vegas. We had planned this trip for months – get away for a bit as grown-ups, meet up with some friends, and relax while the kids had some quality time with my mother-in-law. At this time Coronavirus had just started making the news, only 200 cases in the US, and it was only affecting very isolated cases. Or so we thought.
We had taken a few precautions – I brought antibacterial wipes and honestly felt a little silly wiping down the seats on the plane. Even now it feels like a ridiculous thing to do – disinfect your plane BUT when you get there literally touch poker chips, casino doors, slot machines…
We returned on Sunday the 8th to our children who had a glorious time. Did I mention they were about 30 miles from the Washington COVID-19 epicenter in Kirkland? Yeah we didn’t think about it because isolated cases. But by the time we returned home to Portland on March 9 there were 663 cases in the United States. Still, wash your hands and you’ll be fine.
Three days later my husband woke up with a minor sore throat but did what he’d normally do and went to work. Within 20 minutes his boss sent him home. He remained home until he was symptom-free on March 27th and by then his office has transitioned to working remotely. He had a dry cough, minor fever, and fatigue. His doctor said rest and isolation. He felt fine within a few short days but still had a nagging cough.
By March 13th the schools announced closure. I was fine. Kids were fine. Then March 23rd I woke up with a sore throat. By that time there were over 42,000 cases in the United States and 378, 830 worldwide.
I knew it wasn’t good. I knew I needed to watch this. I called my doctor and they said “rest” but call 911 if I can’t breathe. Otherwise stay home which I had been doing.
My symptoms are as follows:
Day 1: Sore throat, fatigue, not anything I couldn’t deal with though.
Day 2: Dry cough. My chest started tightening. Fatigue. I slept a lot. My back began to hurt at this time.
Day 3: More of the same with an added ache throughout my entire body. My sore throat had subsided just a bit but I was tired and weak. Taste and smell? I didn’t know them.
Day 4: This was when my ears began hurting, like built up pressure. I could barely walk without getting tired and out of breath.
Day 5: All of that. Plus headache. Also my chest started rattling. Taste and smell came and went as they pleased like a stray cat, which started to seem normal.
Day 6: headache gone, still tired, but not as much as the day before. My cough began to get a bit less dry. My chest rattled a little less. I felt like I was getting better. But hello insomnia!
Day 7: I was wrong. I felt like I had glass in my throat. My chest was tight. I got winded easily. My head pounded and nothing would help it. I emailed my dr.
Day 8: See day 5.
Today is day 9. I am tired. So tired. My limbs feel like dead weight. My ears are ringing every so often. My cough just won’t go away and my chest is still gently rattling. I walked to the kitchen to get some water and came back to my bedroom tired, which is where I am currently stationed with my sidekick Indiana.
As I write this there are over 188,000 accounted for cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 3889 deaths. This doesn’t take into account the presumed cases.
When I spoke with my doctor she asked very detailed questions. Then she said – and I quote – “I really wish we had more tests”. See, I am not a high risk. Unless I spiked a fever (never did) or physically couldn’t breathe I was not eligible for testing, even though I had traveled to two different states right before this blew up. Right after saying this she let me know that I had to try and knock this myself. No steroids for my chest or ears because she was worried that my symptoms would worsen because I was assumed to have COVID-19 and she didn’t know how anything but Tylenol or Benadryl would react.
So here I am. Isolated. Unable to leave my home, even for a walk around the block for the next unforeseen future (not that I’d have the energy to do so anyway). I can’t leave until I am at least 72 hours completely symptom free, and even then I need to wear a mask in case I am still carrying this.
Oh, did I mention I discovered that the first patient with Coronavirus in Las Vegas was at the hospital the day after we arrived and his girlfriend who also tested positive? Although I am not sure where we picked this up (my suspicions are on the flight home but I will never know), this goes to show you that there’s more than you think.
So you see, this virus is EVERYWHERE. If you think you are fine because you are young and healthy and feel fine, think again. It took 14 days for me to develop any kind of symptoms. Between my assumed exposure and the onset I had been to the grocery store to stock up, did some quick shopping, saw friends, teachers, and spoke with cashiers. My own children. It’s scary to think of all of the people I might have unknowingly infected just by being there.
You could be incubating this right now. Which is why it’s so important to stay home. No tailgating in front of your house. No going to the park. No going anywhere unless you absolutely have to. STAY HOME.
I and so many others have been displaying the exact symptoms that coronavirus patients have, yet we can’t be tested. It’s frustrating not not knowing how many of us there are. The unaccounted for.
*by the way, so far the kids are showing no symptoms but we are watching them. I also want to thank Brittany and Katy and countless others for sharing their stories. Stats are courtesy of Worldmeter and World Health Organization.