I have Tested Positive — and I am doing better than expected!
About nine days ago, on Saturday during a regular workday I began feeling unwell. As a frontline healthcare worker we are currently placed in the line of fire each and everyday. I will go out on a limb and state that our PPE (personal protective equipment) is nowhere as protective as it should be.
The infection control nurse is the one called upon to interpret the CDC’s guidelines and she does a poor job of it. Her verbalized interpretations leaves us quite confused. We are often not in agreement when reading standard English. Of course she is also never the one in front when the battle lines are drawn.
About nine days I got home after a 12-hour shift feeling very tired. By the next morning I felt fairly ill. I checked my blood pressure several times throughout the first day at the urging of my hubby. He has been in New York at the acme of the pandemic and we we began the process of ruling out what could be ailing me.
My blood pressure was just slightly elevated while my heart rate and oxygen saturation were within normal limits. So using the process of elimination we were heading into scary territory.
I was hesitant to follow where the signs were leading because no one looks forward to contracting COVID-19. The second day, Monday I spent in my bed mostly napping.
I never developed a fever.
We are screened every day at work based on an outdated CDC model of screening for elevated temperatures but that is rarely a major presenting symptom. This stipulation was birthed when this dreaded disease was in its infancy and I believe that some of the guidelines should be obsolete. COVID dances to the beat of its own drum and may present with any symptom, from gastrointestinal to “I just don’t feel well”!
By Tuesday I began to feel a lot better and so I chalked it up to me catching a light summer cold. I had slept with a fan blowing directly at me in addition to the air condition being on “cold”. I was congested but got up and even went bike riding. I did find myself panting a little more than usual on the uphill climb but told myself I was no longer a kid.
Wednesday I was mostly fine with a little residual fatigue and on Thursday I went back to work. Each day we are screened at the front door and given our masks before entry, my temperature has never gone above 97.8.
I then began working my 12-hour shifts and would go home at the end of the day and crash. By the third day, Saturday I was quite tired in the morning and for the first two days I had been plagued by a headache on and off and was taking Tylenol to keep it at bay.
On Saturday I made myself the usual cup of French vanilla coffee but it seemed even more bitter than usual. Later we had a patient and the other nurse asked if I smelled alcohol. I had not smelled any alcohol … and then voila … the light bulb went off and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt… COVID-19!
I could not taste or smell my food or anything else. I had developed anosmia!
The evening before I had gone home and ate my dinner. I thought it was quite brackish, but I was more tired than hungry and off to bed I went. The next day, Saturday I would later realize that I had lost my sense of smell and taste. Anosmia along with a tension-like headache are among some of the classic symptoms of COVID-19.
On Monday morning I texted my boss (she is also the employee health nurse) to let her know that I needed to be tested for COVId-19 and within a few hours received the results … a resounding COVID positive.
I am to quarantine for the next fourteen days, keep a daily log of temperatures and symptoms, and will present myself to be tested for two consecutive negative results and then and only then will I be released to go back to work.
It has been about nine days since I first began feeling unwell. My symptoms thus far:
- I have fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Loss of smell and taste
- Some chest soreness with I take a deep breath
The Pièce de résistance — these excruciatingly painful headaches that never really goes away but waxes and wanes. The ache marches anxiously in the periphery covertly awaiting its next mode of attack. The pain feels like a pick axe made of ice that systematically circles my brain piercing cells with tiny sharp shards of ice.
Though I consider myself healthy, I am feeling weak and I could tell that my body is battling hard in this fight. I have lost the strength I had just two weeks ago. I feel so unsure of myself, I would not even walk away from my home by myself. I venture into the backyard for some sunlight.
COVID-19 is nothing to play with, currently Texas is teeming with this disease as well as ignorance.
Mostly because many persons did not and still refuse to practice social distancing and protecting themselves and others by wearing a damn mask. These same non-masking wearers then become infected and present to the ER putting myself and all other frontline workers and our families at risk.
Be mindful of others and wear a mask and practice basic hygiene! If not for your sakes, for the sake of others!
God is good, I remain faithful!