The folowing was written by a dear friend who had contracted the Coronavirus. Each day he took notes, detailing his own experience in hopes it would be helpful to others. He has granted me permission to share this with you all. Thank you Brian for these helpful, "lessons learned."
-Freedom day! (And I feel really good!) Finally out of the basement after 26 days, and I wanted to share some “lessons learned” from my experience, in hopes that they may help someone out there.
1 – Quarantine as soon as possible. When my first fever kicked in, I practically ran to the basement to get away from my family. We talked by calling or texting each other. They left my food on the stairs. Those types of precautions all made a difference.
2 – The experience will be unique to you. All of my friends & colleagues who are dealing with this virus are having different experiences & symptoms, and it’s lasting different lengths of time for each of them. For some, the breathing and coughing issues came on almost immediately. I experienced some of that, but for me, it was relentless fevers – 13 days of them, escalating from low 99.5 temps the first few days to 102-103 by day 10. It left me feeling like I had fallen down a flight of stairs and then run over by a bus.
3 – Electrolytes are key. I drank only water for the first 10 days, and between the fevers and other stuff I was going through, it left me really, really weak. When I went to the hospital, the doctor told me to switch to Gatorade and ginger ale to help get my strength back. Total gamechanger.
4 – Tylenol is preferred, and take it often. I started off taking Motrin, which is what I could find when I first went into the basement. That did the trick for the first 3-4 days, but as the fevers got higher, they stopped responding to it. Tylenol was the only thing that would work, plus the CDC changed its guidance to say Tylenol was the way to go. I was told to take it every 4-6 hours, regardless of whether or not I had a fever.
5 – Vitamins. I took one every day. Huge help, especially because didn’t have much appetite during the worst of it.
6 – Crazy dreams. The fevers cause some serious hallucinations/dreams. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Seriously, this is a ‘thing’ with this virus.
7 – Breathing exercises help. When I started feeling tightness in my chest, a friend suggested that while I watch TV, that I should use every commercial break as a chance to stand up, walk around, and consciously take deep breaths and hold them a few seconds at a time. I did it, and I think it worked for me – the symptoms did not progress.
8 – Don’t sleep on your back. You don’t want that pressure on your lungs. You also want to sit upright as much as possible, as opposed to laying down. I even slept sitting up at times.
9 – Contact your doctor in the first few days. Just get your ‘case’ on his/her radar. I followed all the early guidance and tried to deal with this on my own by staying home & self-treating, but by day 10, I was a complete mess.
10 – Keep a log. I wrote down notes each day about my fevers, what I took and when, and the other symptoms I was experiencing. That was a useful document to have when I went to the hospital.
11 – Quarantine for two weeks after your last symptoms. The early guidance I got was 72 hours, but that seemed very, very premature. I was in no condition to be around anyone, even after 4-5 days. The two weeks was really key for my recovery --- And even today, I still feel drained/tired. Plus - I keep hearing about people who are going back to work too soon and relapsing.
12 – Please please please help others. Having some amazing friends check in on me via text every day helped immensely, and I couldn’t have gotten through this without their support. Please check in on your friends & colleagues, and be there for them.
13 – Give plasma. Once you’ve been symptom-free for four weeks, you can give plasma. Apparently, they can not only use your plasma as part of research studies, but they can also give it to patients in the hospital. I can’t wait to do it. Hopefully, I can do it a few times.
I hope these ‘lessons learned’ are helpful to someone out there. No joke, this was a scary & emotional experience. It hit me so hard that most of the time, I was too tired and out of it to even hold the phone or respond to a text. The isolation & uncertainty also took a toll. It was hard to know what to do, especially since the guidance seemed to change from day to day. Couple that with the fact that not a day went by when I didn’t hear about someone I knew who passed away, or about a friend or colleague who lost their mom or dad, etc – You start going to dark places in your head.
All that said, I’m out and I feel really good! It’s been quite the experience, but thanks to all the amazing support I received, everything worked out & I’m back working and doing my thing. I’m thankful for all of my family & friends who helped get me through it. I can’t thank you guys enough!! Love to you all...