I can’t definitively say where or at what exact moment the COVID-19 virus entered my body and truthfully this many weeks out, it doesn’t really matter. What I do for sure know is that my body freaking freaked out and this is my story; the surprising truth of COVID-19.
Labor Day is when I woke up with that feeling that something was not quite right in the body of Tammy. Honestly, it felt exactly like I was in the very early stages of a Ragweed allergy attack. Itchy eyes, drainage down the back of my throat, and just a general sense of hazy that those with allergies can identify with. I looked up the stats on the news and sure enough the Ragweed numbers were crazy high. I totally checked that self-diagnosis box and went on with my day. That night I was extremely restless and by the next morning I felt like that allergy attack had kicked into full blown sinus infection. My head was killing me, my body ached all over, and I felt the first tickle of chills.
Covid-19 Denial – Stage One
Still in complete denial but, in my defense, I have an allergy attack which turns to sinus infection every year at this time!!! However, I was hopeful that I could get into the doctor and get my antibiotics going before it got too bad.
Then Wednesday happened.
Because it’s the year of COVID, I went to get a test. I did the deed, which was awful! Who thought of that torturous devise! OHMYGOSH! Anyway, I entirely believed (denial anyone) that it would be negative. When I got the call the next day (Thursday) I sat with my mouth hanging open…. and I’m not gonna sugar coat this…. I said a couple of “words”.
Thursday – Sunday was a rapid decline in my stamina. The fever would not go down and hovered between 99-101. I’m old school in that I feel that we should allow our bodies to fight using the fever and not try to bring it down unless it gets over 102, so I didn’t take any pain meds. Sleeping was horrific, my appetite went to zero but, praise God, I was not throwing up.
Then Sunday night.
Covid-19 Anger – Stage Two
Friends, that’s when my body began attacking itself. I would stand up to walk to the restroom and my breathing would plummet! Scariest feeling, seriously! I literally would feel like I was going to drop to the floor at any second. I would try to get back to the bed as quickly as I could. Heavy panting, trying to get any air inside my lungs and just the awful feeling that I was in distress.
Then the stomach issue started. Down – not up.
I would have to go the bathroom, hyperventilate trying to get air in my lungs, become so lightheaded the vision would start to tunnel, and I would have to quickly get back to bed. I wish I were exaggerating; I wish I would have had a camera on me, (not really – well, kind a, nah-never mind) but it was all too real.
By Monday night I was scared out of my mind and knew that I truly needed help. Even though I was utterly rattled about paying for an ER trip. I also had a strong feeling that I would have to go into the hospital. I knew in my heart that it was bad.
So, my son drove me to the ER and sure enough, I was in bad shape. Within a week of feeling like I was having a Ragweed attack, I was being transferred to the hospital in an ambulance because my body was trying to drown me. The admitting physician told me I was experiencing ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and when I gave him the sick bed look of “huh?” he dropped it down to Pneumonia. Oh, okay…. I understand pneumonia.
Covid-19 Bargaining – Stage Three
Basically, ARDS is a condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen. So, I would stand up and my oxygen would hit the ground and then I would be gasping for air. I can’t even begin to explain how difficult it was to remain calm during these episodes. I now have a crazy awareness of those that suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Emphysema, or any other health issues that require Oxygen assistance.
The medical team hooked me up to all the wires and started me on low oxygen Tuesday afternoon. They also discovered that my Iron was very low, my potassium was wacked, and my phosphates were in trouble. They started me on IV Iron, pills, and massive steroids for 10 days. From what I remember the team telling me, the steroids are the number one way to help counteract what my body was trying to do to help itself. Like I said before, my body freaked out with this COVID virus and went full on war. My lungs were like WAIT! WOAH!
Covid-19 Depression – Stage Four
I was in the hospital from Monday night to Sunday afternoon. During that time, they were able to get me from having to use a bed side potty (ugh) to unhooking me from the pulse oximeter so that I could use the restroom again. That was a huge moment for me!! It’s the little things, ya’ll.
So, at this point in the journey, I have been on the COVID rollercoaster for over two full weeks (September 7 – September 24). I’m able to breathe on my own but I am crazy lightheaded still. Standing for more than a couple of minutes is difficult and I’ll be talking to the doctor about that.
The hospital team did one more COVID test on me right before I was released and I’m hoping to get that result today.
The surprising truth is this — I know people that have contracted COVID and did not have the health issues that I had/have. This virus hits everyone uniquely. I wanted to tell you my story so that you would know that some people react with mild symptoms, some with medium symptoms, and others may escalate into something shocking and scary. We must love on each other and be extra careful when we speak our views about this virus. I read recently someone saying that we need to get over it, this is just the flu. Well, I’ve had the flu, which is zero fun and very terrible, but this was a whole other dimension. My body took it up a notch for some unfathomable reason. There may be others around you that might nosedive quickly too. They will need you! Please be there for them.
It’s about all of us!
I don’t know a lot about this virus….but I will continue to be vigilant in my hand washing, wear a mask where I’m asked to, and know that it’s not about me, it’s about all of us. That is a truth that should not be surprising!
Covid-19 Acceptance – Stage Five
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.