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COVID got my January

On the Bright Side

In early January I was fighting what I thought was a head cold. Sniffles and stuffiness. Then it went into my chest, making me cough up all kinds of gunk, and breathing became a little difficult. I was exhausted; I was sleeping all day in my recliner and sleeping all night in my bed. I wasn't eating anything because my sense of taste was gone and I couldn't smell anything either. Being in a state of denial, I insisted it was just a really bad cold and I stayed home from work.

I ached all over and had a high fever with chills. Friends were getting worried but I did not want to go to the hospital. I was still sure I did not have the flu (or, gasp, the Coronavirus) because I wasn't throwing up.

An uncomfortable episode of severe diarrhea finally scared me enough that I called a friend to take me to the emergency room. I was pretty out of it but I imagined the ER doctor would probably examine me and tell me to go home and rest some more.

That was not to be. I was met at the emergency entrance with a wheelchair, wheeled in and examined right away and tested for COVID. The results came back in a very few minutes; I was positive. Chest x-rays confirmed I also had developed pneumonia.

I wasn't going anywhere any time soon. In fact, there were no beds available in the hospital, so even though I was admitted, I wouldn't be leaving the emergency isolation room for three days. Fortunately, someone there exchanged my ER bed for a regular hospital bed, which was adjustable and much more comfortable. Unfortunately I was in a small room by myself with no TV or radio and only nurses for company when they needed to take blood out or put medicine in. Good thing I slept a lot.

Eventually I got moved to a regular room, and I had the room to myself for the remaining five days of my hospital stay. Isolation is no fun, even though in that room I had a TV to keep my mind busy (whenever I managed to stay awake). I think the food was pretty good, too, although in all honesty I couldn't really taste much. At least I was starting to feel hungry.

I was given a series of Remdesivir in IVs to fight the COVID, and a number of antibiotics to fight the pneumonia, and some steroids and I'm not sure what else. I wasn't all that coherent during the whole ordeal. But I did get better and stronger and finally I was able to go home.

I don't remember much about the specific nurses or doctors who cared for me in Tehachapi Hospital except that I felt well taken care of. They were slammed with other patients in addition to me, but I never felt slighted or rushed; they were always cheerful and helpful. I wish I could thank them individually for taking such good care of me.

I wouldn't wish COVID-19 on anyone. My experience was bad enough, and I'm grateful it wasn't worse (i.e. I never had to be intubated). I also don't know yet how I contracted the disease as I'm careful to wear a mask when I'm out and about, and I don't go out and about for much. I suppose I got it from someone in the grocery store or gas station, but I guess I'll never know.

Meanwhile, none of the friends who helped me out with rides to and from the hospital or food deliveries came down with it, and none of the people I work with at my store came down with it, so there is much to be thankful for.

Now I'm feeling pretty fine and just waiting to get vaccinated (I have to wait 90 days after recovering) and I continue to wear a mask and urge others to do the same. This COVID business is no laughing matter and the steps to stem its spread are so simple.

Take care everyone. And be well.

© Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local photographer/writer and co-owner of the Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at [email protected].