This is what happened when I got sick.
The day before I got sick was a Monday. I remember I decided not to write that day and clean the house instead. I had good energy, so I cleaned everything from top to bottom. It almost felt like when women are pregnant and start nesting. Of course, there wasn’t much news about the Coronavirus back then, but I still felt it was a good policy to clean our surfaces and such.
The next day, I developed a fever up to 101.5 with a dry cough and soreness in my lungs. Oddly enough, I already had an appointment scheduled with my primary doctor for a checkup. It concerned me that my symptoms seemed similar to Coronavirus symptoms, so I called the office and spoke to the receptionist. She advised me to stay at home and said they would call in some medication to my pharmacy for me. I’m not sure what medication the lady was talking about, but they never called anything in anyway.
Just in case, I put myself under self-quarantine immediately to avoid spreading my illness to other people. I had food and medicine delivered from the stores and had the drivers leave it in the driveway. I ordered things from Amazon as well, because I knew they would leave my boxes by the door and leave without needing a signature.
Meanwhile, my symptoms kept getting worse. Also, the more days that passed, the more that Coronavirus appeared in the news. I already suffer from a severe anxiety disorder, but I started having panic attacks one after the other in succession. I feared getting sicker and needing to go to the hospital. I feared being put on a respirator if the illness spread to my lower lungs and even possibly dying. I’d never been so sick in my life as far as I could remember, and I felt sure that my symptoms were as a result of the virus.
While I was down, I rented all my favorite comedies: Mean Girls, Heathers, Clueless, etc. I sat and bawled watching them because they reminded me of happier times, back when there was no horrible virus spreading around the world. Everything seemed so simple then compared to now. I played my favorite music from my phone and soaked in the beauty of the notes I love so much. I sat in the sun watching my dog chewing on her toy turtle. Anything to take my mind off my situation and my racing mind.
I turned a corner a few days ago. My fever is now down to 99–100, and my lungs don’t hurt anymore. It’s been very slow progress with minimal improvement every day, but I’m grateful for any I can get. I’ve been practicing holding my breath and counting to ten, just to make sure I could do it. Without any other advice, I’ve had to come up with my own.
When I started to feel somewhat better, I called my doctor’s office back and said I suspected I had Coronavirus. They are a community health center, so I asked them if they had any COVID-19 tests and if I could get one. I told her what my symptoms were, and all she said was “oh no!” She told me they had no tests available, and I know my local hospital doesn’t either. I also asked her if other people had been calling and describing the same symptoms and wanting tests. There was a long pause, but then she said yes.
I realize there could be a stigma by telling my story. Last week, when I was so sick, I told a couple of close friends what I was going through. For the most part, they thought I was overreacting and possibly could have lost my mind. They didn’t think this virus would ever affect anyone they actually know, when in fact I believe it’s quite the opposite. Call it a gut feeling or whatever you want, but I’m worried it’s already too late to stop this thing. If I could have been tested, maybe my loved ones would have started preparing a week and a half ago.
I’m an introvert. There are only a handful of places I usually go every day to shop for stuff. I certainly haven’t been out of the country or on a cruise ship. That means I caught this illness locally. That alone should be enough to concern every person out there. I’m on day 11 of quarantine and was planning for 14 days, but now I’m hearing I should stay quarantined for 37 days. There is so much that we still aren’t sure of and desperately need to hear. I don’t know who has the answers.
I’m not ashamed of getting sick. I also can’t tell you for absolute certain that I had Coronavirus, even though I had every symptom listed. My gut tells me that I had it, though, and that’s the only thing I have to go by.
A lesson I learned through all of this is that we will always need each other. Countries need to help countries. People who are well will need to help people who are sick. There is only one way we will get through this. Together.