I decided to write my experience because I know first hand how comforting it can be to find even a tidbit of first hand information, weather that information be discovery of answers sought or the sheer comfort of knowing the experience someone of similar infliction is going through. In the first months of COVID19 and still somewhat today, the seeking of knowledge or comfort in knowing one is not alone, no matter how mild or severe or what the combination of symptoms are, was and still can be futile. The following is an account of my illness along with my personal experience with doctors, what I did for treatment and bits of information I gleaned from a lot of research.
THIS IS MY STORY
On the night of March 19th, 2020, I fell asleep around 10PM. In a couple of hours I awoke freezing and covered in goosebumps. I slipped on my alpaca bed socks and pulled my scattered sheet, blanket and quilt tight up around my neck. Soon I awoke once more, still covered in goosebumps and freezing. I pulled my thick down comforter, that I had not yet totally removed from the foot of my bed since outdoor sub freezing temps had subsided, all the way up to my neck, on top of the other pile of covers. There I lay thinking it won’t be long now and I’ll be hotter than hell. But it didn’t happen.
Then it hit me, I must have a fever! Sure enough, 103 degrees. By the time I got back in bed my goosebumps were gone and the feel of the fever took over. My temperature stayed right around 103 for 5 days. I had a headache for two of those days affecting my left front and top lobe. Intense fatigue had set in on day one.
On day 6 the high fever broke but began to fluctuate. It fluctuated randomly and radically between 96 and 101.9 for 5 days more. With the high fever went my sense of taste and smell for no apparent reason. I had no congestion anywhere.
I would later learn that COVID19 attacks the nervous system, thus explaining loss of taste and smell, as well as attacking the lungs and can get into the blood stream, depleting oxygen, therefore causing damage and failure of other organs and ultimately death.
Also, the day the high fever broke and the next, I vomited each day and could not eat or barely drink anything. I was worried about dehydration and sipped water as often as I could. However, dehydration was winning. After the 2 days of vomiting my appetite normalized but I struggled to stay hydrated. Then at day 10 the random temps were gone and I was finally able to keep myself hydrated.
Keep in mind the extreme fatigue was present the entire time. Although the high fever had left, I had little energy to move. I lost 12 pounds in those 10 days. I am 56 years old, 5’7″ tall and found myself at 120 lbs.
My sense of taste and smell was absent for about 10 days which overlapped the next wave.
THE NEXT WAVE
Between days 10 and 14, I developed a mild dry cough. I had never experienced a dry cough before. I had thought, why would I have a cough if there is no congestion to move around? I know people with allergies sometimes experience dry coughs but there are allergens tickling their throat and lungs right? I was still not quite sure as to why the dry cough. Now I know it was an immune response to a havoc wreaking lung invader that I was not quite yet able to detect.
Also, somewhere in that 10 – 14 day period, I developed a rash. It came like the milky way across my mid section between my bellybutton and breasts. It was itchy. Initially for a couple days I thought I was having an allergic reaction to a new natural soap I was using and I stopped using the soap. That was coincidence. The milky way rash disappeared but left behind random spots of all different sizes and shades from skin tones I could barely see to bright red. At first some had clear fluid in the top of them but not quite describable as a blister. They itched but I refrained from scratching.
Until the cough came, I thought I had a bad case of the flu. The day before symptoms appeared I had been directly exposed to a person who had been H1N1A diagnosed and was still very ill. She did not see a problem with sitting on the other side of her desk from me while doing my taxes.
I decided to call my doctor. Yes I have one and until now I had only ever seen her for a “meet your doctor” appointment. Those who know me or who have read my previous health blogs, know I doctor naturally. I will however consult a physician if I need help with diagnostics.
At this point in time COVID19 testing was reserved only for those who had become critically ill, in a risk group due to age or pre existing condition or who were essential workers showing symptoms. I was unable to get a test because I did not fit into one of these groups and was told by my doctor’s office that the doctor was not seeing anyone and because I was not having trouble breathing she did not need to speak with me. Also, because the fatigue was lifting, the cough was mild and the other symptoms had gone, I must be recovering. And the rash was probably due to something else.
So, now I have a mild dry cough and an itchy rash with wavering fatigue that was not as intense as it had been. I began making myself get fully bathed and dressed everyday and refusing to get back in bed. Any naps would be taken in my recliner.
Spring was definitely here! I walked through my yard and snapped pictures of early flowers. On April 6 I journaled, “starting to feel normal”, referring mostly to the absence of fatigue and therefore the ability to actually clean my house and pull some early weeds. Although, I still had the cough and the rash.
Two days in a row I was able to work in my yard for 3 – 4 hours. I raked up the leaves that had been left from last fall and even spread a little new mulch. Then the next day I pooped out at less than 2 hours. I headed into my house thinking, “am I winded?”
The next morning I could feel the virus moving into my lungs. The fatigue that had temporarily relented worsened.
From the onset of my symptoms I had been taking an herbal echinacea formula called Esberitox. This immunity boosting formula has always worked amazingly in my body. Unfortunately it does not work the same for everyone but it’s always worth a try. It is purchasable over the counter. Now I began taking a Chinese herbal product, called Clear Lungs, along with Esberitox. Clear Lungs is also a product I continue to swear by for respiratory symptoms under “normal” seasonal cold or flu conditions. It is also an over the counter product. I had not been sick with anything in about 5 years. If at any time I thought something was trying to attack, I took the appropriate one of these herbal treatments and the virus or whatever it was never took hold. I also had not seen a doctor for an illness in well over 20 years.
I was now 3 full weeks into my illness working on week 4. Every couple days my breathing got a bit more labored. It was as though there was a belt strapped around my upper chest and each day it was being tightened a notch. Clear lungs was not strong enough to keep up, although I kept taking it.
One evening I had settled into bed to watch a movie when suddenly my lower chest felt painful. It was deep. I did nothing for a moment but analyze the feeling. A second of mental panic took hold as I wondered what could be making my lower lungs sore. At this point the restriction I was feeling was all in my upper lungs. I then palpitated the area and there was nothing there. No soreness or pain of any kind. I stopped and in a moment there it was. I pushed, and nothing. It was a systemic nerve pain. After further pondering, I realized the pain was being caused by the rash spots. This was the start of many weeks worth of rash flares and alternating itching and deep pain.
My cough disappeared after having it about 2 weeks. Fortunately it had stayed mild and did not worsen. I did not document the date of disappearance.
Over the next couple weeks my breathing became a concern I had never had with labored breathing caused by congestion. I have an oximeter and had begun checking my oxygen saturation several times a day. It was always 97 plus, 99 being tip top. This told me, although my breathing was labored and shallow, my body was still oxygenating. My heart and blood streams were still doing their jobs and my organs were not at risk for lack of oxygen. (Praise God!) I knew it was inflammation and viral crowding reducing space in my lungs. However, that in itself could turn deadly. How much longer would I have to endure?
THE STRANGE DOCTOR CALL AND MY COVID19 TEST
On Tuesday, April 21st, almost 5 weeks into COVID19, I became so winded while slowly drying myself off after bathing that It took a good 10 minutes to regain enough air in my lungs to feel like I was breathing evenly again, although shallow. I was freaked out by this incident. I called my doctor’s office immediately and got a telephone appointment.
The next day, April 22nd, at 1:PM my doctor called. It was a very strange call. I had to tell her all my symptoms from the beginning. I could hear her rapidly typing as I recalled them and their time frames. Throughout the conversation she seemed to want me to be saying I was getting better and at one point went as far as to try and put words into my mouth. After telling her what had happened the day before that had prompted the call, I asked her to please order a test for me. She said “But the worst part is over and you’re getting better right?” “No!” I replied. “I’m getting worse.” I hardly had enough breath to get the words out. She wasn’t going to order me a test! I reminded her I doctor naturally and although at this point I was certain I had COVID19, I wanted a proof positive test so I knew without a doubt what I was dealing with. I’m sure it wasn’t the crazy thing I said but the distress she heard in my voice as I said it that made her give in and order the test right then and there. I hung up the phone, got dressed and drove to the test site. Oh… and hang in there, the worst was yet to come.
At the test site a nurse suited up in no less than a HAZ MAT suit came out to my car and administered the test. It was the first test they had available even though I knew the new one was being used in other states. The swab went up my nose then down behind to the throat area between my nose and mouth. And woo! She got a good sample! The whole left side of my face went numb and became sore to the touch all the way up into my hairline. She must have scraped a nerve. That and my throat were sore until the next morning. I didn’t mind. I’d rather she got a good sample than a wimpy one.
My doctor’s office had the results in 24 hours although they had told me they would call me in 24 to 48 hours. So I waited. They never called and it was Friday. I received my POSITIVE test result the following Monday after calling them which was five days after the test.
WAITING FOR HELP TO ARRIVE
On Friday, April 24th (5 weeks in) my son’s girlfriend told me of a pharmaceutical grade homeopathic remedy (Viru-Chord) she had suggested her New York friend’s husband use for his COVID19 lung issue. It had turned him around in just a few days. I ordered it immediately. It would arrive in 7 days! Six full weeks in.
While waiting for the Viru-Chord to arrive I got worse. I honestly believe most people would’ve been in the Emergency Room the week before. The 2 1/2 days prior to receiving the remedy were the worst. All I remember doing those days was trying to breathe. Mostly sitting in my easy chair or at my dining table, I contemplated dying. I knew this virus could kill on what seemed to be short notice. I also knew if my body couldn’t keep what foot hold it had on the swelling in my lungs that could also shut me down quick. I made sure my will was on my table along with the passwords to my phone and computer.
Should I get myself to the ER and get a nebulizer treatment? I had never taken Viru-Chord before but somehow I knew it would work. I could hardly bear the thought of the chemicals from the nebulizer flooding through my lungs if there was an alternative. However, I do confess, if Viru-Chord had not been in the picture I would’ve done the nebulizer.
But honestly…I was more concerned about the choices the ER doctors might make at a time when I was compromised and my closest relative would not be able to be there.
I held steadfast to my faith in God. I didn’t really think it was my time to go. I did talk to Him and told Him I’d like to stay here awhile longer but if I have to leave, I’m ready. (Sorry folks for the mess in the garage and reloading room I have yet to empty since my husband departed.)
Friday, May 1st Viru-Chord arrived! I tore open the package and had the first dose ingested in minutes. An hour later, I felt movement in my left lung and I could breathe easier. I happened to be on the phone with my mother and she heard a change in my voice, my breathing. Happy Birthday Mom!
I stopped taking the other two homeopathics I was taking and took Viru-Chord 3X a day. Each day I felt better. Then on May 6th I had a set back. It shook me up a bit and I realized I had missed my mid-day dose.
How much longer was this to go on?!
I began intently searching the internet for answers to questions I had. No more of: It’s new and no one knows. Baloney! The virus had been rampant through the world for at least 5 months. I know which answers aren’t possible to have. I just wanted some general questions answered. I wanted at least a ball park time frame of how long I may have to suffer with this. I didn’t care if it were a 3 month span of time. Just give me something! I know each individual is different but some had healed as quick as what? Others had taken as long as what? (I’m referring to those with advanced moderate to severe lung issues.)
Also, when can I get retested? I was told when all symptoms disappear plus 3 days. That is CDC guidelines. Made complete sense at first until I realized that the damage the virus does can cause “symptoms” and the healing response can cause “symptoms”. And then I found a published study coming out of Italy saying quite often patients aren’t developing rashes until 2 -3 weeks after testing negative. Were all their other symptoms gone? And a friend of mine who had positive COVID19 had tested negative 14 days later and went back to work, but he still had his cough. A cough was all he had during his illness, that I am aware of, but it was severely intense. If I was to follow my doctor’s instructions, I would not have gotten tested yet and I’m over 10 weeks!
I looked at the CDC website, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical, Duke University Medical, etc., etc., and actual research facilities that these sites and others also publish research from. I read international research, medical and foundation websites from other English speaking countries. I found no answers. I had blown far beyond any general length of illness any of these sites were stating other than for people who had been hospitalized. I also found no elaboration on how to know when to retest if there are still symptoms present. How would I know if they are symptoms of active virus or not?
My doctor had no answers. I had tried to see my dermatologist about my rash but he wouldn’t see me. He’s over 65. I don’t blame him.
I called the Ingham County Health Department because their web page says they have a COVID19 “medical” helpline. Not as described. It is a mental health helpline. The one they’ve always had.
I also didn’t personally know anyone who had COVID19 as bad or worse than I did. I wasn’t finding personal stories with any completeness either.
I finally called the VA hospital in Ann Arbor because the Top VA administrator boasted on TV about how well they’re dialed in on COVID19. It was there that a woman said to me that the doctors who are knowing the most about COVID19 symptoms are the ER doctors and do I want to be transferred to speak to one. I didn’t want to utilize their time. I chose to call McLaren ER instead.
MY EMERGENCY ROOM FIASCO
I called McLaren ER in Lansing Michigan and spoke with a nurse. I told him the length of my illness and the issue I had breathing. I told him I was taking a homeopathic that was enabling me to breathe a bit better but that I had a set back the day before. I wanted to know what stage of the illness my lungs were in and how much longer I should expect this to go on. And that I also had some general questions I had not been able to get answered and could someone please look at my irritating rash. He kindly told me to “come on in and we’ll do a complete workup on your lungs to make sure there is no pneumonia” and he was sure I would probably get most if not all my questions answered by the doctor who also would look at my rash.
I drove straight to McLaren ER. After entering the wrong door and being rerouted farther on down the parking lot two more doors, I reentered and came face to face with a young woman working at a pre screening table and acting like a junk yard dog at its fence line. She barked out, “What are you here for?” Her expression was as though I had no right to be there. Through my face mask in short spurts of breath I told her I came to see an ER doctor. She stared at me a moment and asked, “for what?” I told her I was COVID19 positive and I needed someone to check my lungs. She slowly started to shake her head and said, “Naw, I don’t think so. You can’t go in.” I was momentarily dumbfounded. I wrinkled my brow and said. “I just talked to an ER nurse here who told me to come in.” She stared at me a couple seconds and with a backwards nod toward the next set of doors she said, “Okay, go on.” …Not a hello, a smile, a wish of wellness. Totally unfriendly, unprofessional and unimpressive.
I entered the ER waiting room and sat down. Sitting there was a young man, 30ish, with a sore toe to which he had done nothing. I wanted to say “let me look at your toe” but of coarse I didn’t. He too had just arrived. I watched him have great difficulty with his mask for about 5 minutes until an intake nurse called him just inside the next doorway, took his vitals while another gathered his insurance info and then she escorted him right back to an open room. I was called right in after him. I however had to return to the waiting room until a room became available. I sat alone in the large waiting room. About 15 minutes later a nurse came and got me, still alone, and escorted me to a private room past two others that were empty. These nurses were all very friendly and made me feel comfortable.
DOCTOR OR MAN ON A RAMPAGE?
I didn’t wait long, maybe 20 minutes. Then the ER doctor came into my room. He stood just inside the door he had closed behind him, crossed his arms and very sternly gave his name and asked what had brought me in. I told him in short form, what I had told the nurse on the phone. Without hesitation he began scolding me like I was a child in the principles office. He told me this was no place to come looking for answers. He said this is no game and this is a very dangerous place to be. There was more to what he said but these are the things that stuck vividly with me.
I was once again dumbfounded. I was actually hurt by his action toward me. He purposely tried to make me feel like I was a moron for even thinking about entering the ER. I know I had a look of shock and bewilderment on my face as I told him I had called before coming and was told by an ER nurse to come in and that my lungs would be assessed and my rash looked at.
A dangerous place to be? For whom? He was already working there and had complete protection available to him and I already had COVID19!
After hearing I had been told to come in, he sat down on a chair to my left, next to my gurney, crossed his arms and rested them upon the top of the side rail that was in the up position. He was a very tall large man. He asked me a series of questions while maintaining a cocky attitude. It seemed like it was all he could do to be civil toward me. In response to my answers he told me my illness was more than likely the flu and even though I had tested positive for COVID19 I probably had not been ill with it for very long. I asked him how I would’ve gotten it since my symptoms never ceased as they flowed one to the next since day 1 and I had been isolating for 7 weeks. This statement seemed to frustrate him. Then he said, “Well, as far as the medical profession is concerned, you have only had COVID19 since the day you tested positive. So, what’s that? Two weeks?” He told me anything before that didn’t mean anything and wouldn’t be considered.
That is absolutely absurd! If that were remotely true, doctors and researchers would never learn or know much of anything about COVID19. I have since reiterated this to other doctors who also have found his remark to be absurd.
I could not understand why he had entered my room defensively without cause from me. Everything I said he shot down as quickly as he could with some far reaching explanation, that a few times made absolutely no sense in any case. He was treating me like some hypochondriac maniac that frequented the ER.
Then he said, “Let me see this rash.” I tried to show him but he refused to stand up or to really look at it. His face was about 3 foot away and to the side of me. He had no magnifier on and of coarse wasn’t about to touch it. I told him how it had started and then left itchy/painful spots behind. And that new ones still appear. I also told him there are spots difficult to see but they still itch and hurt. I described the deep nerve pain. Instead of making any attempt to actually look, he leaned back in his chair and said, “Looks like folliculitis to me.” I stared at him trying to get past all that was flooding my mind in response to his absurdity. I finally said, “what’s that?” I basically knew what it was but I did look it up after he left the room. As I thought. Nothing like what I had or had described. If one has to question the absurdity of a doctor, it’s best to say nothing and once free, never see him/her again. (I have since told this to an endocrinologist I was conversing with. She burst into laughter. She too thought his diagnosis of folliculitis was absurd.)
He then stood up saying, “Well I can tell you this. It’s not any of the rashes associated with COVID19”. I since have actually found a picture of a COVID19 rash that appears identical to mine and also have now found identical descriptions.
He did decide to order a chest X-ray to make sure there wasn’t any fluid built up or forming in my lungs such as pneumonia.
Keep in mind what I had been through up to this point and the severity of it. On this day I was again very fatigued. Walking from my car into the ER (twice) had worn me out. I was also worn down emotionally. Just before he left the room, I thanked him for ordering the X-ray. I told him I was worn down and I had been praying for those people in hospitals and on respirators. I knew how ill they had to be. What I was going through was enough for me. Tears ran down my face as I said it.
Interestingly, when the doctor returned to deliver the results of my X-ray, he was a different person. He was kind and respectful. He also answered my questions intelligently and to my satisfaction, as though he cared. He actually smiled and wished me well.
The X-ray came back clear which gave me peace of mind.
On my way out of the ER, I walked slowly looking to assess how busy they were. There were several more open rooms than when I had arrived. I only saw a couple of doors closed and the ward that only had curtains as walls had about 4 people in it. The waiting room was still desolate. I had never seen an ER in so vacant before.
UP TO THE PRESENT
The next 2 days after my ER visit, the rash run rampant. It covered my back and sparsely dotted here and there on my neck, around my hairline, my left breast and my left leg. To this day I still have the rash. The pain stopped about a week ago but the spots still itch daily and I still get a new one occasionally. I mentioned previously that a study published by Italian doctors said that some COVID19 patients are not getting the rash until 2-3 weeks after testing negative for the virus. I still have no idea how long I could have it.
The ER doctor told me that when I was able to speak without having to break for air while sitting still, I could go retest. I retested a week later on May 13th. I tested Negative.
Dr. Hyde (not his real name) explained that I could still experience symptoms the same or different throughout the healing process. This made sense since a cough is normally an immune response to an issue, not a symptom an issue actually creates such as the raw feeling I felt in my lungs after the virus had tore its way through ripping and tearing as it clenched for its life while my body waged full scale war. This raw feeling lasted a good week. I could feel it dissipating as the days went by.
My lungs were feeling pretty darn good for several days. I was amazed at the speed of my recovery. Then hot humid rainy weather hit. I had stopped taking Viru-Chord a couple weeks before but I needed it again. I have now taken it only in the evening for a few days now. There is a restriction I am battling and I find myself often clearing lung excretion (which is not like phlegm but more like water) away from my throat. My research now tells me I could possibly have issues like this for several months to a year.
I believe my energy is back to normal however my lung power, of coarse, is not. Most days I am working in my garden and even able to do some taxing projects. I haul dirt, mulch and rocks in my wheelbarrow, dig, rake and shovel. I am very thankful for being able to do these things on good days. Days I feel more lung restriction I stick to much easier chores. I can always scoot along and pull weeds.
It is now 10 1/2 weeks since I first awoke with symptoms on March 19th.
NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS
I was led to believe that those suffering severe COVID19 symptoms were mostly if not only people in the at risk groups. There are also now many YouTube channels hosted by natural health gurus who claim to have thwarted COVID19 due to their diets and clean living practices. Maybe so, but do they really know? Were they directly exposed and in one of the at risk groups and did not become ill? Do not get me wrong. Many of these peoples channels I subscribe to and believe they are doing a great service to those willing to listen to their ways of healthy diet and living.
I do not eat processed foods other than an all natural gluten free pasta dish, always accompanied by vegetables, once about every 6 weeks or so. I eat fresh fruits, vegetables and greens daily. Never canned. I also eat plates of these, on a regular basis, raw. If I do heat vegetables they are lightly steamed or sautéed but still crunchy. I am 100% organic at home. I am gluten free, sugar free, sodium free and dairy free. I have faltered a time or two with sugar and cheese but I always get back on track. I am also back to juicing daily. I live totally free from chemicals in my home. I do not wear makeup or dye my hair. All my personal products are natural. I clean with pure plant based agents such as vinegar, lemon and soda. My cleaning products are all natural. And I doctor naturally. You have read to what extent. I am not in any of the at risk groups and I am rarely ill. My point being that although I know I could do better compared to the YouTube gurus, I am still way ahead of most as far as my overall health due to diet and natural living. And….I got COVID19. In my opinion, on the low end of severe. Just sayin’.
FYI: During the first part of my illness I was unable to juice. My body wasn’t having it. In fact I wasn’t eating much of anything. But what I did eat was organic and whole.
Once I reached the stage of healing (raw lungs), I was able to juice again. I drink approximately 32 ounces of fresh apple carrot juice per day. I use a PURE 2 stage juicer. I am positive this juice has expedited my healing process with its flood of bio available nutrients.
I AM HOPING THIS ACCOUNT OF MY COVID19 EXPERIENCE WILL PROVE TO BE HELPFUL AND APPRECIATED IN MANY WAYS.