“I’m Lucky To Be Here. Period.”

An area healthcare provider who is typically on the front lines of medicine—and chooses to remain anonymous—shares their personal experience with testing positive for COVID-19 on March 25th.

“Three weeks and change after being diagnosed with COVID-19, I finally was released by our local public health department to rejoin the land of the living again. (Read that: I’m now allowed to leave my house.) Only problem? I still barely have enough energy to do much of anything but shuffle around my house. The oft-used elliptical machine in my room has become a clothes rack. It will probably stay that way for another month. Today, for example, I’m weak as a kitten. Zero energy.

While my symptoms are steadily improving, the fact is—this virus wiped me out. It zapped me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’d like to think I could hop back into my job in healthcare, but the truth is I will probably need another week off just to have enough stamina to get through a shift or two.

Looking back, it’s shocking how fast my health deteriorated. It took fewer than 48 hours from the experience of my first initial symptoms to the point where I simply could not breathe. I was reduced to sipping air through a straw before being strapped to an oxygen machine—which, mind you, I’m still using as I type this.

Looking back, I probably should have gone to the E.R. several times, but I figured there had to be people worse off than me. I was right. Our local regional hospital wasn’t exactly equipped to handle a potential onslaught of patients, predictably many of whom would have underlying symptoms. Before getting sick, I was faithfully working out every day. My doctor half-jokingly called me the pillar of health before my diagnosis. That’s likely what saved my life. In my heart of hearts, I know that if I had been a smoker or had any medical conditions, I would have been on a ventilator. In all actuality, I probably wouldn’t have made it.

Looking back, I have never been this sick for this long in my entire life.

Three weeks of sheer hell will likely mean three more months of recovery. My doctor is optimistic I’ll be back to my old self by the 4th of July. Independence Day came early for me this week, however, when I was allowed to leave my bedroom for the first time in 21 days. Remind me to paint the walls a brighter, more cheerful color for the next time I’m literally bedridden, will you?

Next week I’m headed back to my job with a newfound sense of purpose. Being in healthcare has given me an all-new appreciation for my brothers and sisters in the medical field. They are the true heroes. I can’t wait to join them in solidarity. Will I be back to a 40-hour work week right away? Not even close. But it’s time for me to help where I can.

The Red Cross recently contacted me about donating plasma to see if my antibodies could help in the fight against COVID. I’ll be the first in line at the blood center. Every time I see a government leader or official extend a stay-at-home mandate, I think of all the countless lives those decisions will save. I’m lucky to be here. Period.”

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