Our experience with the novel Coronavirus

March 28, 2020

Hey everyone.  I know I never post, but we live in the COVID-19 hot spot of Virginia and I wanted to share our experience because, if you haven’t yet been a victim of the virus in some form, you will soon.  We have the virus.  My wife’s condition is much worse than mine.  She has been very sick for nine days. Even though I keep hoping, she has not “turned the corner” yet.

I read an editorial in The NY Times by a woman who’s husband has the virus.  In it, she said that she feels like she’s living in the future, that most people just haven’t caught up with her virus experience.  That’s how I feel.  

So, let me start with the facts.

We live in James City County Virginia.  This county leads the state in confirmed cases of the virus.  I know, we are no where close to the number of cases in Brooklyn, LA, etc.  But, for allocation of state resources, this is important.  It highlights how bad we, all of us, are prepared for this pandemic.

If you don’t know yet, there are two ways you can get the virus; “Person to Person” or “Community Spread”.  These are important terms for health care professionals.  With person to person spread, the path a virus takes can be tracked.  If it can be tracked, then maybe it can be cut off, prevented from further spread.  With community spread, health care professionals can’t track it.  No one knows how a patient got it.  It makes it very difficult to stop.

Jame City County has had a number of cases of community spread.  I think that community spread has surpassed person to person transmittal here.

Thursday, March 19th, my wife left work early because she wasn’t feeling well.  Friday, I took off work and insisted that she see a doctor.  She had symptoms of the virus, a fever, cough, tiredness…  She was tested for the flu (negative).  The doctor agreed that she likely had the virus, but wouldn’t test her for it as they were rationing the test kits.  Their rules were: (1) the patient must have the symptoms, and (2) had contact with a person diagnosed with the virus even though cases of community spread were on the rise.

There was nothing they could/would do for her other than advise that we should come back if she started to have trouble breathing.  We needed to self quarantine.  She would be clear if the fever was gone for 24 hrs. (Bad advice.)

Eight days went by.  My wife added nausea to the list of symptoms.  Her fever came and went.  There were times when we thought it had run its course – 24 hrs fever free, only to have it come back as bad as ever.

My wife occasionally suffers from severe vertigo.  So, because she’s been in bed for more than a week, she added vertigo to her misery and nausea.  I became concerned about dehydration and that this would be a downward spiral if she just kept throwing up.  So, we went to the emergency room last night hoping to get an IV and tested.

Also, by this time we had found out a person we knew had come into contact with had become very ill and was hospitalized.  He was tested.  His wife was tested.  They were both waiting for the results (4 to 7 days).

While at the hospital, after my wife had been taken in, I found out that the wife tested positive for the virus.  It’s a sure bet that the husband also has it.  (He was put on a ventilator this morning.)  I let the medical staff know that now she had contact with a known, confirmed, diagnosed patient.  Surely, my wife would now be tested.

No.

In one weeks time, new rules were put in place.  Now, the only symptomatic people being tested are: (1) admitted patients, (2) health care providers, and (3) people living in group settings.  James City County, the hardest hit community in Virginia, doesn’t have enough test kits.

I can go on and on about this. I’m really pissed.

I want you to know three things.

~ The number of cases being reported in the press is a fairy tale.  There are WAY more cases out there.  They only report confirmed cases, but if they’re not testing, they don’t know.  The number reported is just the tip of the iceberg.

~ Symptoms can be very different than those reported.  As an example, one of our first symptoms was the loss of taste and smell.  I’m seeing that is now being reported in the press.  Another example is that my symptoms don’t match most of what’s popularly reported.  I have severe headaches, muscle pain, and an occasional fever.  If you feel sick, you’ve probably got it.

~ The most important.  Self quarantine.  Stay home.  Really.  Don’t go to the store for something you don’t absolutely need.  Klondike Bars don’t count.  STAY HOME.  You may think the odds are in your favor.  But, maybe they’re not.

Notice: Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.




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