How It Started
July 22,2020 started out just like any other day. I got up got ready went to work. Worked my 8 hours then headed to my Dr’s office. It was an appointment I had scheduled in February to get the second round of my shingles vaccine.
Little did I know this appointment would go as it did. I arrived and call to let them know I was there. When the nurse comes out I was coughing as I had been for a couple of days. Sneezing, coughing, itchy watery eyes allergies right? She proceeds to tell me the Dr will not want you in the building with that cough. To which I of course reply but I’m not sick its allergies.
She goes back in and very quickly returns to tell me that he would be calling me. No shingles vaccine, no office visit. During the call he asks my symptoms and says of course I can’t make you but I really NEED you to get tested for COVID. The next day my mom and I who had been having similar symptoms went to be tested
Waiting For Results
We went through what seemed to be never-ending questions, then a physical exam before the test was administered. As the days pass we both begin to have more symptoms. I was experiencing shortness of breath and spending my days in bed because I was completely drained.
July 28, 2020, they call with results and both of us tested positive. While on the phone with the CNP she said I can hear you struggling to breathe. I need you to get yourself to the hospital as soon as possible.
Which created a bit of a dilemma since I was too sick to drive and couldn’t expect someone to drive me. My only option was to call for a squad to take me. Once they arrive they check my oxygen level and it was 85% which apparently isn’t good.
We arrive at the ER, go through all the normal procedures. I’m put in a room with a big sign posted letting everyone know I have COVID. It wasn’t long before I was told I needed to be admitted and they were looking for a bed at another hospital with a COVID ICU. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen so I was admitted at the local hospital.
I was there for 2 days and at a point, they weren’t comfortable keeping because I continued to get worse. I was maxed out on oxygen and staying around 85%. Too weak to stand up and could only say a couple of words without struggling to breathe.
The decision was made to be put on a ventilator and transferred to a hospital with a COVID ICU. Once they found a bed open to transfer me to they prepared to put me on the ventilator.
While intubating me ( I was sedated of course), they had a little trouble, and it took 3 attempts. A front tooth was broken off. This means nothing in the big picture just worth noting things don’t always go smoothly. Oh and on top of that, they also lost my partial! I can’t do anything about either until I’m cleared and no longer under quarantine.
Over the next few days as I am on the ventilator fighting for my life and heavily sedated my family had to rely on nursing staff to keep them up to date on my progress. These few days were hard for them not being able to visit or even call me. They found it harder by the day to get a report so they were left to worry and wait. The reports would conflict with one another so what should they believe was going on.
I was having hallucinations and pulled my tube out. I can only assume I didn’t know what it was or got scared and grabbed it. My heart rate dropped and was on an EPI drip. Needless to say, the first few days were not easy for the family. I don’t remember much from the first few days but from the posts, my sister shared daily to update friends and family I can tell you those first few days were a nightmare.
What I didn’t know for several days is that my mom had been admitted to the same hospital!! Thankfully she didn’t have to be put on a vent. This only added to the worries for the family. Since no one wanted more worry on me they decided not to tell me.
Finally, after 5 days I was off the ventilator but still having hallucinations/delirium. I remained in ICU for another day. By now I had been in a hospital for 7 days. Day 8 I was moved out of ICU to the COVID unit. Still on oxygen for 2 more days and extremely weak and unable to get out of bed.
Finally Out Of ICU
Finally out of ICU and able to get calls from the family! Still having shortness of breath so the calls were short. It wasn’t until the second day out of ICU that I realized my cell was in my purse. Texting would be much easier than talking. My vision was blurred so I have no idea how many texts I sent that made no sense.
It’s really hard to explain what I felt like because I have never experienced anything like it in my life. The exhaustion is beyond any I could imagine,the pain was excruciating. It felt as though my bones were shattered and ripping through muscles. The feeling of not being able to catch my breath was the scariest part. Severe headache, dizziness, weakness, sore throat, nausea, vomiting diarrhea you name it I was feeling it.
Day 10- I was able to get out of bed, but couldn’t take more than 2 or 3 steps before my legs gave out. Day 11 I was able to walk several feet with a walker. Being able to sit in the chair for a little while felt amazing after being in bed for so long. No longer on oxygen and had received my final dose of Remdesivir and 3rd unit of plasma. The Dr said if I improved throughout the day I would go home the following day.
Day 12 going home!!! A word of advice from the DR before being released was don’t expect to recover in a week or two, your body has been through a very traumatic experience and there were times we weren’t sure you would make it!! Sobering thing to hear.
Home And Recovering
What a journey!! I’m so happy to be home and sleep in a real bed and not be woke up every 2 hours. However, I discovered real quick being home was going to be a challenge. Getting up on my own was hard. Relying on a walker to go from one room to another it felt like learning how to walk again. Frequent breaks were needed because of the weakness, my legs gave out on me.
My entire body was weak, exhausted and in pain, so the first few days I slept a lot. After the first week, I could get up and walk on my own, though not far.
Fast forward to today, out of the hospital since August 8th. I’m close to 75% recovered on most days. There are still days I can’t get out of bed. New symptoms popped up after I got home. Rash, nausea, and vomiting, stuffy nose, nose bleeds became worse, plus still experiencing most of the symptoms from the onset. Still quarantined, no visitors, no work, it’s a very lonely time. Top all that off with worrying about finances with a lack of income and medical bills coming in.
The fear, it needs to be mentioned because it’s real for many recovering from COVID. Fear of reinfection and not surviving, fear of loved ones getting it. Fear of going back into the world, fear that you will never fully recover.
I could go on and on about what this has been like for me and for many others. I think I will end it here by thanking everyone for the thoughts and prayers. 100% believe those prayers saved me!!
Have a blessed day,