On Sunday, March 1st, I woke up with a bad headache and a strong, dry cough. I did not go to church. I called my work and told them I was sick and would not be in until better.
On Thursday, March 5th, I still had that bad headache, the strong, dry cough was now accompanied with a sore throat, muscle aches and pains, and by afternoon I was shivering and shaking, teeth chattering, it was so bad I called my county health department asking what I should do. As terrible as I felt, in terms of do you need to go to the hospital my problems were minor. After our discussion, I called a nearby walk-in clinic (my doc is an hour away) I sometimes go to. They wanted me to go to my doctor. Thanks for that.
March 5th was the first day that they announced testing would be available for people. There were locations that were determined to be the providers for those drive-by tests. My private practice doctor was not going to be one of them, and regardless of that, I was not capable of driving anywhere. I did learn where to go and what to expect.
I was so damn cold and exhausted from the struggle to find direction from someone “in the know” I crawled into bed and slept for another 4 hours. My temperature was 101.3.
When I woke up I was no longer “freezing.” It was 5:30 PM and I knew I had to get going. I got dressed, got in the car, and drove to the town 30 minutes north of me where the tents and drive-thru testing was to be.
There were a few parking spots with cones at the front, I parked in the coned spot closest to the tent hoping they were watching from windows because it was very stormy, heavy, heavy rain and strong winds. My temperature was 103.3, I was sick, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.
And nobody really had any answers.
An hour and a half later, a nurse in full protective gear came to my car and took me through a side door to my room.
And, the reason the tents were empty, the status change for testing had not been made official. The doctor called the health department and pushed for me to get tested. It was late now, after 8 PM. The individual said I likely would not pass criteria to have the tests read but to go ahead and do it and the next day a decision would be made about whether she could submit them for processing.
So they scraped my throat again and then pierced my brain with their 12″ nasal probes, one per nostril which, once finding its destination was twirled around to get a good sample.
I was told 3 days. I would know in 3 days.
I cannot share with you about the next 3 days as I was flush with fever, delirious at times, sleeping pretty much around the clock. I can tell you I’ve never been as sick in my life as I was on those days. I was in deep pain, had difficulty breathing (thankfully I have a CPAP machine, which helped), and in those moments of lucidity, I was SCARED.
Three days came, three days went.
On March 9th, I called. I knew my test was being processed as I had called and gotten the confirmation that an exception had been made in my case (they had already used the test after all, and we had pushed the fact that I work with seniors).
The wait was now 7 days.
On March 11th, my fever broke. On March 12th I learned the results of my coronavirus test. Negative.
However, I am to remain in quarantine until all of my symptoms have resolved.
Today is March 17th, I am still coughing up my lungs, although now I occasionally get something coming up out of the lungs. Because I was sick so early, I was unable to prepare for this by shopping for food, toiletries, etc.
And yet, I am calm. I feel at peace. The earth is cleansing herself. Isn’t it interesting that the world’s children are not hard hit? I find it fascinating, it feels like a plan. And ultimately, I know that God turns all things for good.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash
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