I presented with symptoms for covid on November 28. I didn’t think that I actually had it – I thought I had bronchitis. I didn’t have the classic symptoms – fever, loss of taste & smell, and other symptoms. I had a covid test on the afternoon of the 28th but didn’t get my results until the evening of the 1st. I was shocked that I was positive. I was feeling fairly normal although I had a cough and for the next two weeks I had fever on and off but not a high fever and not consistent. I also experienced loss of taste & smell on the 3rd of December – I woke up without these senses. My biggest symptom was a non-productive cough. At least it was non productive until December 8 when I coughed up pink phlegm. On the 9th, I got up and showered. I think my shower was too hot because afterward, I almost blacked out in my bedroom which frightened me badly and my phlegm was getting darker pink. I took my blood pressure and it was really low, my temp was normal and my oxygen was normal. I called the hospital and scheduled an appointment with the on-line urgent care team. They called me back and advised me to go to the ER instead so I drove myself to the hospital. For the next 5-1/2 hours, I received fluids via IV, a chest x-ray, EKG, and CT scan. The tests revealed pneumonia so Dr. McNeel prescribed a 10-day course of doxycycline antibiotic for me. My original completion date for quarantine was December 10 but I extended it until December 14 just to be sure. Since then, I’ve made a daily trip to the post office ensuring distancing and always wearing a mask. I’ve been to the gocery store once and visited Dollar General to buy a small Christmas tree.

I’ve been alone here with my hub in California with our son. Thankfully they are together to support each other and I have been glad that we scheduled Sean to be there through Christmas. I have relied on help from my incredibly generous sister, Robin, to bring groceries and check my mail during quarantine. She and my nephew, Chris, have really done a great job helping me out. The most challenging aspect of the last two weeks has been the incredible loneliness of quarantine. No hugs, no visits, no human interaction. When I went to the ER, the staff there treated me with such respect and compassion I was moved to tears. In fact, it took everything I had not to completely break down in sobs. It had been the first real human contact I’d had in more than a week. Being alone is hard work. I do have my sweet dogs Joe, Oosti and Big Steve. They were well fed because of Robin’s excellent shopping skills. I still have enough food for them for more than a week. I also have my little donkey, Darwin, who sleeps with me every night – Sean brought him to me from Atlanta over a year ago and he’s slept with me ever since. I put up my little Christmas tree to bring normalcy to my world and I’m planning a much smaller Christmas morning breakfast for Robin, Chris and Tony, my little brother.

Having Covid isn’t anything that anyone should ever have to go through. I think its a terrible think for our loved ones and ourselves to have to endure. I was very lucky to have had a mild case compared with so many other people that continue to suffer months later. My brother thinks that the covid was created by the Chinese and that it was unleashed on the world , the US in particular, as payback of some sort. I don’t think that is true and I’m not sure it really matters at this point. What matters is that we work to get our people well, get everyone vaccinated and use this terrible episode in history to learn. I never thought I would get covid – I did everything that we were instructed – masks, social distancing, hand washing…unfortunately all it takes is one time, one moment, to make the crucial connection.

Things of importance have changed for me because of this illness. There are things that I considered massively important that don’t hold priority anymore. My foremost priority is my family. I’m so grateful that everyone is safe and that there is a possibility of seeing them all again. I’ll never take hugs for granted. I’ve always loved being in community events in Cherokee – stickball games, the Cherokee Fair, community Bingo – I can’t wait until the day that we can be together again. I also can’t wait to return to my church – I drive up Soco and turn in the church parking lot just so I can make the connection – it is a comfort. I’ve been singing hymns, especially Christmas songs, to help with my oxygen and lung capacity over the last week. It is a comfort. These dark days will pass and spring will be on us in just 3 to 4 short months. I can’t wait.


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