COVID-19 Close to Home

Three Saturday nights ago, out of the blue, I began shivering, fever followed chills, and I slept restlessly all day Sunday with fever, headache, nausea. By Monday I wrote both my regular doc and my pulmonologist (from my bouts of cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, called COP), and they scheduled a test.

Eight days later it came back negative, but those eight days I’d like not to do again – perpetual body aches, headache, nausea, fever, no appetite. In all I had 17 days of fevers above what Mrs. Hughes calls “doctor fever” 100.4°.

My pulmonologist, Dr. Steven Kirtland, VM Seattle (so expert and so kind if you ever should need such a person) called on the ninth day to say ignore the test, many false negatives, you have COVID-19. He said no Advil, take Tylenol (data cautioning against ibuprofen slim but concerning).

He called again the next weekend, checking on “patients I’m worried about” – said it wasn’t inevitable I’d get COP back, but very possible – and that would be difficult, because he couldn’t prescribe the usual treatment for it with COVID-19.

But thankfully I didn’t go there, after a wretched two weeks and more functional third week, I am Recalled to Life – and appreciative beyond measure. I recognize my good fortune in medical providers and access.

On Dr. Kirtland’s last call, he said he wanted to see temperatures below 99° for three days. I have learned a lot about fever these weeks – such a difference in functionality between 99.1° and 99.9°, let alone a night of 103°. Now I write this on the fourth of April – having been below 99° since the first of April.

I have this layman theory about why the coronavirus got me. I really never got over the California bug, still a little symptomatic on return, and got briefly exposed to the coronavirus someplace. Then that Saturday we attempted a walk by the water in a stiff wind, getting so chilled we turned back. Instead of walking I wish I’d gone home to a cup of tea and not stressed my immune system further!

A corollary story is my good-natured husband, who has managed to stay good natured (in the face of my failure to perform my “wifely duties” of cooking and cleaning), and also stay healthy. Dr. Kirtland always inquires about him.

My husband attributes his health to his new civic duty – to stay home and take lots of naps. I think he has a strong immune system. We also quarantined from each other as best we could – upstairs for him, and down for me, not in the kitchen at the same time. Wiping down the most used surfaces. You know the drill. Still, he was royally exposed.

Last week, as the fever diminished, I had what my local and beloved doc (Dr. Jillian Worth, VM Bainbridge Clinic) called “the last gasp” – a little conjunctivitis and swollen occipital nodes on the back of my head (who knew those were even there!). They’ve gone now too.

We all know how devastating the bad cases can be – but the mild ones offer no picnic. All the efforts to stay safe and be more sensible than I was will pay off! I write this because I read and reread the two accounts of COVID-19 I knew about, a younger Seattle woman who had fever for five days, a Bainbridge woman who had fever for 13 or so, and spent time in the hospital. I felt very disappointed to go past the five days, and very thankful to stay out of hospital.

My gratitude truly knows no bounds, grateful for our old friends on Bainbridge who brought food and still bring groceries, and our sons who text and cheer and keep us in touch.

I send this cautionary tale along with another guest illustrator appearance by Sweet B. This one, a view “looking down at the world” seems full of rainbow hope – and charming critters!

17 thoughts on “COVID-19 Close to Home

  1. Katy, this is awful! I can’t believe that you had the covid! It is with great relief that your story has you in better with fever in check.
    Stay well, my friend, and God willing we will meet out by the water soon, walking as usual.

  2. Katy, how frightening and difficult for you! Needless to say, I’m so glad you came through this.
    Like your families, ours are managing – working from home, schooling children, planting victory gardens! It’s lovely here on the McKenzie today; supposed to get up to 67 this week. Spring is springing.

  3. What an ordeal. So so sorry you had to go through this, and am also so so glad you’ve come out ok on the other side. And it’s certainly a caution for all of us. Stay well, both of you, and tell Sweet B to keep those wonderful drawings coming. They are cheering and entertaining. Something we all need. xoxo

    • Thank you Carol and I so agree about the drawings! In another part of the Queen’s speech, she refers to children making rainbow drawings. I have a wonderful one from Sweet B I think I will post on my front door – !

  4. Jana told me about your bout with Covid-19 just yesterday and I am relieved to read that you are out of the woods with this. What an incredibly scary time that must have been – as I read more and more about it, I’m impressed with how vicious it is. Stay safe and best to Jim from both Peter and me.

    • Oh good to hear from you Jo! Thanks for good wishes. I do admit there were some scary fever nights – so much is unknown, you feel so awful. I. Wrote one of those I love you you are the best ever messages to our sons at a low point. They both ignored me and continued to carry on with the assumption I would recover. That helped! Xo (virtual). And – isn’t Jana a hero I’m eager for her fabric bonanza!

  5. Oh my heavens! How awful for you and your steady husband. I had no idea. I am self-isolating in place because of my lungs. No one comes in and I don’t go out. Sometimes I Zoom, but not often by choice. Stay quiet, lie low and enjoy that new chef. I am so sorry you went through it, but so glad you came through it.

    • Aaw thank you Carolyn – you sound safely cocooned and I’m so glad! Seattle must have grocery delivery options – that would surely help. Our wonderful grocery is working on online ordering but must be monumental task! Keep up the distancing and thank you for good wishes!

  6. Oh, Katy, I am so glad you made it through that nasty scary dangerous bout and are on the mend. Now you have the very prized “immunity” our herd needs so badly. So glad you had such a wise physician. Sending love and wishes for continued health and strength. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  7. Katy, I just read your blog from April 7 today and am so sorry that you went through such a terrible time with Covid-19 but relieved that you are now OK. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful doctor and such a supportive husband and sons. Keep taking care of yourself so that you can enjoy the spring. (We have 20 inches of snow here in Boulder which has buried all the daffodils.) Sweet B’s picture is so cheerful – I especially like the deer drinking from the stream!

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