A Story of Survival

By: Barbara Wagner

During St. Patrick’s Day evening, March 17, I suddenly felt that I had a fever and immediately felt I had the coronavirus. Right away, I made up a bed in our den, because I was concerned that if I did have the virus, it could be severe for my husband, who has a serious underlying medical condition.

The next morning, I reached out to my doctor and set up an appointment by teleconference. She agreed that it sounded like I had COVID-19. My main concern was my husband. The doctor insisted that he immediately move out of our apartment. He did, and his hotel stay lasted three weeks.

What began as a twinge of fever eventually blew into a hellish nightmare — 15 days of high fevers, headaches, horrible coughing and other indignities.

By Day 5, I had no appetite, my fevers ranged from 102 degrees to 105 degrees and I had zero energy. I was by myself; and even changing the sheets, sopping wet from fever sweats, was an ordeal that would take hours to complete. I somehow managed to obey my doctor’s orders to “hydrate like crazy” and even kept a record of my fevers. I was very sick.

I know I was a worry to my husband, my family and friends — and to my neighbors, who have been blessedly kind. I could eat very little, but bowls of rice with butter and salt, chicken soup, juices and Gatorade would appear at my doorstep.

The good news for me was that throughout this ordeal, I was able to breathe; and that was huge. I can only imagine others having the symptoms I had with the added horror of not being able to draw breath from their lungs. It’s heartbreaking. I was lucky that my lungs were spared.

I do get asked if I know how I got this. And no, I don’t. None of my family, neighbors or co-workers have the virus. My suspicion is that I got it in the subway. One day before I got sick, the subway station was so packed with people that I could almost feel the germs. But who knows?

As I write, I have been fever-free for two weeks and have tested negative for the virus. My husband has returned home, and my energy has returned. I have begun the process of being tested to see if I have the antibodies to donate platelets, doing whatever I can to help others from getting this miserable illness. I know I am one of the lucky ones — I am in good shape and I am strong.

I wish good health to all during these trying times.

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