This week has been intense, to say the least. Anel, Amalia, and I have all been over here just trying to survive day by day hour by hour. Surviving self-quarantine. Surviving what everyone else is surviving.
On top of it, we’re all sick but I’m the only one who qualified for COVID testing because of my medical history. We still don’t have the results back yet, but based on what’s going on, I’d say there’s a decent chance they will be positive.
This is our story…
We started social distancing at the end of last week. On Saturday evening, Anel started feeling a tingling in his throat, but he thought it was allergies because his eyes were also itchy so he took a Zyrtec and went to bed. To be safe, he slept in the guest room, I disinfected every doorknob, high-touch surface, and Amalia and I washed our hands to the point of no return. On Sunday morning he had a full-blown fever, body aches, and a dry cough. We made him stay in the guest room all day except to come outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air.
His doctor had him call our local COVID hotline and they told him he didn’t qualify for testing because he didn’t have any underlying issues. They (and his doctor) told him to stay at home, rest, and drink liquids… Everything you hear on the news.
So we continued our self-quarantine and Amalia and I tried to make the best of it. But on Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I have had a cough for over a month (unrelated) so I thought if I got it, I’d at least get some sort of warning. But it came on hard and it came on fast. By Monday morning I was shaking hard and the body aches were intense. Each cough felt like fire in my lungs.
I called my doctor and she said I should call the hotline to see what they say since I have a frequent history of bronchitis and pneumonia. So I called, assuming they’d turn me away. But apparently I was considered high risk and they urged me to come in. Despite that fact, I didn’t want to go. So many people out there would kill to get a test right now and I’m young(ish) and healthy. But the person on the hotline convinced me that based on my history I should go in because my case could potentially be worse and I might need further treatment. You know, something you definitely want to hear when you’re potentially sick with a global pandemic.
I also felt terrible leaving Anel with Amalia because he looked and felt like a real zombie. #momguilt They sent me to Stamford Hospital’s ER where I walked in and was handed a mask upon arrival. They asked why I was there and I told them I needed to be tested for COVID-19.
They pointed me to a corner of the waiting area designated for the potential Coronavirus cases and took down my info from 6-feet away. When they also decided I qualified for testing, a security guard escorted me to another building that was double locked. I walked in and it was like a scene out of a movie. There were about 20 people waiting to be tested, all sitting as far from each other as possible, wearing masks and looking as miserable as I felt.
They eventually called my name and brought me into a back room. Two nurses took my vitals while a doctor asked me a bunch of questions. At the end of that, he said they were going to test me for strep throat and the flu first, and if those came back negative, they’d test for COVID. I sat in the waiting room shivering in my mask and trying to hold it together while I waited for the results. Never have I ever wished for the flu until that moment.
20 minutes later they came out to tell me that both were negative so they would do the COVID test next. It was a swab in each nostril and a mouth swab. Uncomfortable but totally fine. They informed me I would get results in 3-5 days. Don’t even get me started on that timeline… Today is day 4, FYI. No results yet.
When I got home from the hospital, things went downhill fast. The two worst symptoms for me personally have been the headaches and skin pain which is interesting because Anel didn’t experience either of these. The headache feels like the worst unrelenting hangover of your life x10. Motrin helps for a few hours but it always comes back about an hour before I can take another dose which is a fun little surprise every 5 hours. And the skin thing was really weird. It’s gone now but lasted for the first 3 days. Anything that touched my skin hurt. Taking a shower hurt. Clothes hurt. I couldn’t wear a bra because the tightness hurt.
So that day I did the bare minimum but we were setting up Anel’s online group workouts and I had sponsored content to post. Monday was my toughest day. We were both laying on the couch wrapped in blankets while Amalia played that evening and apparently I fell asleep because I woke up and it was dark and Anel had already put her down. He’s been amazing throughout all of this.
That night, Amalia woke up with a fever. She was up for about an hour, shivering until her Tylenol kicked in. Then she slept until noon the next day. When we went in to get her, she could barely open her eyes. She was weak because she hadn’t eaten much the day before and was just listless and sleepy. The pee in her diaper was brown. Any parent knows how hard it is to see your child in pain. That was the first time I cried. I got scared and I felt sad and helpless and sick as a dog on top of it.
She didn’t want food or water so I made her drink Pedialyte and eat as many popsicles as I could get into her little body. At one point I had her chewing on ice just to get hydrated. We sat and watched a movie as she dozed in and out of sleep with a washcloth on her head, wrapped in blankets on my lap.
While we were zoning out, Anel had to see his clients virtually which he probably should have skipped but we’re really nervous right now about our businesses so he pushed through it. He’d come up from each session looking as white as a ghost. He has the immune system of an ox and rarely gets sick so to see him in this state is shocking to me.
A few hours later, Amalia asked to nap and slept for another 3 hours. She woke up in bad shape again so we went back to movies and popsicles. That night she was up on and off all night so I slept in her bed to comfort her. We both sweat through our clothes and had to change twice. It wasn’t a great night if we’re being honest here. But the good news is that she popped up at 7am and said she was ready to go downstairs.
On Wednesday she had a little bit of smoothie and a bite of toast which felt like a win, and she chugged water all day. She was able to play and read books and do low-energy activities. Anel and I were both still in pain and feverish but had to work and take care of her so we took turns and just did it.
But it was pretty much survival mode. The kid has had more screen time this week than she has in her whole life I’m pretty sure. I had to stop looking at Instagram because everyone else is posting schedules and activities for their kids and here I am just trying to sit upright and eat a saltine.
Work-wise, I had two blog posts lined up from last week so I let them go live. But I had terrible anxiety over my client work. Out of everything going on, that is what I couldn’t stop focusing on. But that’s how my anxiety works sometimes. Instead of focusing on the major issues (you know, like a global pandemic and a sick toddler), I focus on things I can control. But this time I really couldn’t do much. Every time I tried to work it felt like a fog rolled in over my brain and my head would start to hurt. I eventually just had to stop.
As far as respiratory symptoms go, we all three of us have a pretty intense cough. It started dry then got deeper and now (sorry if TMI) stuff comes up when we cough. It feels like a burning in our chests when we do cough but besides that, neither of us has shortness of breath which is what my doctor said I really need to be looking out for.
Wednesday night, Amalia’s fever spiked again before bed and she was inconsolable saying Mommy, I’m so cold which just broke my heart, but yesterday she was fever-free. Just very low-energy and still not eating much. Her pediatrician said to keep pumping fluids and let her rest as much as possible so that’s really all we can do right now. She has definitely bounced back quicker than we have which is the best news of all here.
That is where we are now. We are getting better and better each day. We will be ok. Anel says he’s at 75% and while I’m not quite there yet, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I no longer have a fever and my body aches are pretty much gone. My headache is still there but getting better and the cough is unrelenting. I just feel like I’ve been hit by a giant bus. Very tired and kind of dazed out.
While everyone may experience it differently, it was most certainly nothing like a regular cold for us. It was physically and emotionally trying. The best way we can explain it is that it’s like having the flu with bronchitis and a hangover. So if that sounds fun, by all means, go out and shake some hands…
Obviously that’s a joke. Please stay home. I cannot imagine anyone who is old or sick doing well with what we went through. Please. Please. Please stay home. Please follow the CDC guidelines. If not for yourself then for everyone else.
But also know that people do survive this. We did. We’re almost on the other side.
As far as my anxiety goes, it has been oddly in check besides the work stuff. I think being sick hasn’t allowed me to think about much else so I’ll report back on that anxiety front once I feel better.
Our friends and family have been so supportive and loving and check-in on us by text or phone calls multiple times a day. One of my friends even texted me to look out my window and just waved and smiled from her car. She said, “I thought you could benefit from seeing a friendly face.” You can imagine the waterworks when that went down. It was so touching and it’s a great way to make anyone feel a little better right now.
One thing that this experience has taught me is how people can come together in a really beautiful and powerful way during the hardest times. I’m sending each and every one of you love and hope and support from our tiny corner of the world.
Update 5/19: My test result came back negative after 11 days. Anel and I both recently got antibody tests and mine was negative. His was inconclusive. So we’re assuming we didn’t have COVID-19 at this point! Just something totally bananas.