If you follow me on social media, you know that I just got out of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 and wanted to share my experience with this virus. My symptoms were thankfully mild for the most part, but still present. I get tested twice a week with a PCR so on Mondays and Wednesdays, I have a now not so foreign object shoved up my nose. Also over the last month, I had been sick for at least 3 of the weeks (I was also sick for a week just a couple weeks before testing positive for covid-19, so my immune system has been taking a HIT).
The week I tested positive:
Monday: I did my PCR test before working. That day I had a patient I worked with earlier test positive (Several of my therapy patients test positive a week). Now when a patient tests positive (even though I have been exposed to positive patients for months) I also suddenly get a sore throat and begin to freak out. So that Monday afternoon a cough developed. Monday night the cough worsened and I became a little worried.
Tuesday: I woke up without a cough, and felt fine for the most part.
Wednesday: I woke up feeling more run down overall, slight cough later that night , and inconsistent congestion. It may be important to note that I get congested A LOT because my roommate has a cat that is obsessed with me and I’m allergic to cats. My test from Monday came back negative. At this point I was still a little worried just because I wasn’t feeling 100% and I knew I had been constantly exposed. I told my mom and she laughed and said I was being dramatic (because I do get dramatic). I was also more nervous/paranoid because I was supposed to be going to a testing center that weekend to take the jurisprudence exam for Florida licensure and stay with my aunt and uncle (they are in their 60s), so I was becoming very nervous at the possibility of being in Memphis on Saturday and getting a call that my PCR from today would come back positive and I would’ve exposed my family and strangers at the testing center. That aunt I was worried about ended up testing positive a few days after me from other exposure. She went to the ER, and is now home on oxygen so I am worried.
Thursday: Was the same as Wednesday of feeling rundown and off. I didn’t have much of an appetite and at this point I was becoming very nervous. I was also feeling like I was dying of thirst. I spoke with a co-worker who had it and calmed down for the most part. When I was driving home, I didn’t have any congestion but I couldn’t smell my car air freshener. When I pulled into my driveway I pulled out my burts beeswax chapstick and sniffed it, I couldn’t smell a THING. That’s when I was like “oh shit” and immediately made an appointment to get rapid tested that night.
Finding rapid testing: I did not go to the first place I found. I called around because rapid tests are pricey. Even though I have insurance I hadn’t met my deductible yet so they were going to still charge me $125. Another place was going to charge $100. The place I went to only tests if you are symptomatic and if you have insurance it was only going to be $50, so I figured that was my best bet. Now yes, my work does perform rapid tests. However, I did not think I would be able to sleep that night wondering whether I had it or not. Also, I had already been rapid tested just 2 weeks ago for having symptoms and it was negative and I was so insecure about being “the girl who cried covid”.
My testing experience SUCKED. When I was finally brought in for vitals, the girl did not speak to me unless to instruct me on forms to sign. She took my vitals and wrote them down without telling me any of them. Each time she would go to write something down without telling me my temp or BP and I would have to ask. I then waited in an empty exam room for 45 min without anyone popping in like “just a little bit longer”. It was almost 8pm before someone came in so I was convinced they forgot about me and I was about to spend the night there. The same social butterfly who took my vitals “tested” me. I use quotations because she assaulted my nostrils (and I am used to getting tested mind you). I’m pretty sure she hated her job and was taking it out on me. It is always humbling as a healthcare worker to go somewhere as a patient. When I have a bad experience like that, it just makes me extra mindful of how I act next time with patients (especially when I’m starting to feel burnt out). I knew at this point I was positive once I had lost my smell, and the test confirmed that. But I still couldn’t believe I had tested positive for covid!
The next few days were a blur. I was EXHAUSTED. I was sleeping like 10 hours a night and still napping during the day. I stood and talked to my roommate for like 10 min one afternoon and got back into bed and was completely WIPED. I had absolutely no taste and it was miserable. I would be starving and trying to eat to keep up nutrition and not wanting to because I couldn’t taste anything. This made me weak. I would be so hungry I would get nauseous. I still felt PARCHED and felt like I was constantly drinking water while I was awake. I still had my on and off cough. On and off congestion and my chest ached. Sometimes, the chest aches were minor but noticeable, and other times it was all I could focus on. There was one point I woke up a few times in the middle of the night because my chest was hurting so bad. I felt so weak and even my joints felt achy. I had some GI symptoms but those varied and were thankfully only for 2-3 days. It really is all kind of a blur. Like I had cold symptoms, but it was also all worse than a cold. Also for the females: my period was worse. I woke up in the middle of the night SEVERAL times because my cramps were so painful. My best friend who tested positive the same time as me also reported she had her period during coivd and it was worse. I stayed isolated in my room only leaving if I had to use the restroom or get food from the kitchen. And yes, I spent Thanksgiving day/night alone. My roommate was very sweet and wanted me to feel welcome to spend time in the living room or at least not stay locked up in my room, but I wanted to protect her. I wore a mask if I left my room and would wipe down the counters after myself. It ended up being a lost cause because she ended up testing positive a few days after me. After about 5 days, I was starting to feel less bad. Still no taste so I was definitely still pissed about that. I was already planning a feast and making a list of food I wanted to eat once I could taste again. (cheeseburger, charcuterie board, banana split). Today (12 days since my positive test) is the best my taste has been and it isn’t quite 100% yet. I returned to work yesterday and today was rough on my energy levels. Oh, and periodically I still feel like I am having a heart attack. Apparently if you had chest pains/ an achey chest when you had covid, you can continue to have chest pains for a month or so… can’t wait. Overall, covid-19 sucked for me and it is even worse for others. For medicine, I took dayquil the first few days, maybe some emergen-C, and vitamin D3. I have heard a lot of doctors prescribing patients vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, prednisone, and zithromax.
Update: it is now several months later. I suffered TERRIBLE chest pains for 6-8 weeks. They were so bad I finally went to a cardiologist after hearing about young, healthy, post-covid people dropping dead of stroke or heart failure. I also suffered a terrible headache every day for several weeks. Migraine-like pains. It felt like a rod going from temple to temple. Lastly, some foods have a weird smell/taste to me now. Peanuts/peanut butter is not near as delicious as it used to be. I’m not sure how to say this but the few food that now have this weird taste/smell, it’s all a similar weird taste/smell. It is almost like ammonium burning my nose hairs. Completely casual right? So like if anyone hears of any post-covid studies I can get in on as a test subject, let me know.
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