That’s us, the Covid Couple. My husband and I were (terrifyingly), diagnosed with one of the world’s most contagious and deadly disease… Great. If you’ve also been diagnosed with Covid-19, I’m sure you can relate to the panic and fear that went running rampant through our veins, our minds. If you can’t, let’s hope you never do. First, let’s talk about masks. Or let’s not. Err, we’re going to anyways. First and foremost, you have the right to your own opinion, let’s get that right outta the way! You don’t however, have the right to play God. So my point, wear your masks people. I’m not asking you to, I’m telling you.
Let’s back this up a bit though first…
Thursday, March 19,2020. I closed up my salon, Bombshell’s. The unease of the Coronavirus Pandemic that was teetering on the edge of serious catastrophic mayhem, was heavy. The question of negligence, on our end (myself & coworkers), was a gut wrenching thought to be had. But, the time had come to close up, protect our guests, ourselves and each other. We decided to all close up together, for a goodbye-for-now, sendoff. So I did what I do best as a team leader. I made a pitcher of rum, pineapple & mango juice, threw some maraschino cherries in that jug-of-joy, some club soda, and went to close up Bombshell’s Salon & Spa. We cried, ugly cried, from emotional stress, and the unknown that lay ahead. Mostly, we cried because we are best friends that don’t, can’t, survive more than a few days without seeing each other. So we tossed back a few, cleaned up, loaded the salon fish in my car, and went our separate ways to wait for the storm to unfold. And boy did it unfold… You all know how the rest goes; months of closed up non-essential businesses, empty shelves at every grocer, and utter chaos in all directions. And that, was only the beginning. My beloved Bombshell’s remained closed up tight until June 1, 2020. Well, actually that was a Monday, and we all know how us stylists are about not working Mondays. So Tuesday, we officially reopened the salon on June 2, 2020. Ha! Big fat joke on me that was. Because on June 24, I walked out of my beloved salon for the last time, thus far. THREE weeks, that’s all I got in, before I went into quarantine, was diagnosed, and currently still fighting Covid-19.
This has been the dumbest stay-cation in the history of mankind. Period. And the first client that sits again someday in my chair, and excitedly announces they’re going on a “stay-cation”, may get slapped, gently. The first few weeks were/are, a blur. I’m still a bit unclear on what I did that initial chunk of time. But I do know it consisted of day-drinking, crying and snap chatting videos with my girls. So yeah, I guess I found ways to entertain myself and keep busy until I found a new rhythm of things. Then I found my groove. Refinished all the furniture I could get away with in our home. Got my seedlings ready to go in my little kitchen greenhouse, and walked around in circles, a lot. By mid-May I decided I needed to uncover the pool. By myself. A job way bigger than I had anticipated, or was prepared for. But after a week or two… NAILED IT! So here I was on June 24th, living my best life back at the salon, with my best friends, when BOOM, got the call my husband, Dan, may have been exposed to a confirmed, positive case of Covid-19. So, I cleared my appointments for the night, and once again, closed up shop, and with no hesitation (to protect the safety of the salon), went into quarantine.
The next morning we headed in to be tested. Soon after, we received negative or false-negative results. We were advised by our ever-so-cherished doctor to remain in quarantine for 14 days in case symptoms arose. Thank God we did. Because five days later, symptoms arose. Dan woke me at 4:30am with a fever, and panic set in. Was I feeling anything? Fever? Loss of smell? No, but my eyeballs burned. A lot. Back we went to the Covid-19 Respiratory Care Unit to be seen by our doctor, and be tested again. Up the nose for round 2! Round 2 is a winner! You now have won a case of the Coronavirus, the worlds latest, most contagious, and potentially deadly disease. Awesome.
So there we were, sitting in bed with severe anxiety when that phone call came and gave us the news. We sat there in a daze for a coupe hours, paralyzed with fear of the unknown. We then hustled and got into action (while we still could), and moved our 16yr old daughter Madelyn, into my parents vacant in-law apartment adjacent to our home to keep her safe, from us. She still remains there in quarantine through July 14th. It seemed only hours later, the New Hampshire Department of Health began calling with lists of questions of symptoms, contact tracing, and possible exposures to us. The questions seemed endless. That’s when it really hit home and sunk in. We had Covid-19.
So back to masks, because that’s where this all started, literally. Or lack there of. So let me tell you what this is like, what my case of Covid-19 feels like, to help you decide if going back to “normal” and ditching masks, while we open everything back up, is worth the risk…
Mind you, we’re still at home, of course that could change quickly, but I cannot imagine what those those who’ve needed immediate medical attention are going through. That is unimaginable to me. Because this, is pure HELL.
It is different for everyone from the time they’ve been exposed, to when the virus has incubated into a virus. The NHDH day count is based on when your symptoms first began/begin. Mine I believe, began on a Tuesday. I’m not entirely sure because I’ve lost track of time, again.
Day 1. My eyes burn. Picture pulling down a shade over a bright and sunny window. My eyelids are that shade. With every blink a hot flash of burn. Questionable cobwebs in my chests. Fear.
Day 2. Burning eyes. Definitely cobwebs in my chest. Which makes the fear more terrifying, because 3 years ago I had pneumonia, BAD pneumonia that kept me in bed for 6 weeks to avoid having my left lung drained. The six weeks before our WEDDING. Headache, a crippling one, one that reminds me of when I had meningitis 10 years ago, when I almost needed the pressure in my skull relieved. My body is starting to feel achy, all over.
Day 3. My eyes are on FIRE, lost my sense of taste and smell. My whole body feels like I’ve been in horrible accident, head to toe. By midday my left leg (the one that was weak for months after meningitis), has decided it hates me. My knee buckles and I can hardly walk. I hurt so bad that I hold off on going pee. When I decide I really have to get up, and to the bathroom, it’s too late. I’m so weak I can’t even hold it. I pee myself. This happens two more times. Embarrassing, yes. Especially when it happens in the kitchen, on the floor. Temperature seems to have decided to hover in the low 100’s. I cry when our doctor calls to check in on us.
Day 4. All of the same, times two. Except I have not had any “accidents” in 24 hours now. But, for a little icing on the cake, all of my joints are now inflamed. My elbows, knees, wrists and fingers throb so bad I want to cry. I do cry, again. My knees may as well be broken. My ribs feel bruised and the skin under may arms feels like rope burn. An oxygen monitor was delivered today to make sure our bodies are getting enough. They are. My throat is hurting, but not a swallow type hurt, a deep muscular soreness, inside and out. The congestion in my chest continues to build, but as of now, I’m not in the danger that so many others are. I haven’t left bed today. Except to pee.
Sound fun yet, worth the risk?
Our ever-caring team of nurses and our doctor are amazing, they call and check on us everyday. We are blessed to have them. We were forewarned the worst of it tends to begin around day 4, and can last through day 10, sometimes longer. Luckily, Dan hasn’t been hit as hard as me with the body pain and he seems better on this day 4 of mine, and feels he may be through the worst of it. I truly hope so… They say some get a second wave of it. I pray he doesn’t.
Day 5. My eyes aren’t burning as bad today. But it’s only 6am, and I’m downstairs waiting for the sun to come up; because it hurts too much to be in bed. My body hate my existence. Oh, and it’s the 4th of July, my favorite holiday of the year. Medicine is helping the inflammation in my joints, they haven’t started to throb as bad yet. There’s a bad pain in my side, in my back below my ribs. I hope my kidney is okay. My head hurts so bad I think I may vomit. By late morning I’m bed bound again. It’s the only place I can be least-uncomfortable. It’s dark and quiet up here, but lonely. I miss our kids. The boys are basically grown and moved out. Madelyn is hunkered down a solid wall away, but still, I miss her. My little sidekick. Elbows are throbbing, pulsing. Knee and back feel broken, and sudden convulses of pain remind me, that I may not survive this all. It could get worse. Temps been in the low 101’s still. Even though the rest of NH feels its hot and sticky out, it’s the only place I don’t feel cold. But getting out there is a difficult, painful, and shaky task. I probably shouldn’t. My leg doesn’t do well on the stairs anyways. Oh, yeah, and it’s the 4th of July… When night falls, I can hear all the fireworks.
Day 6. I don’t think I’ll be getting out of bed today. Every time I try, I fail. I’m too weak, depressed and my body is just plain miserable. It throbs. It’s like groundhog day around here. Oh, I had a dream that my family was all here, my parents, sister and kids. They were getting all of our Christmas decorations from the basement and putting them up, not lit though, throughout the house, so when the next big holiday is here and I’m still sick in bed, again missing it all, at least the house will be pretty (sighs).
I now understand why people are dying from this, why so many are hospitalized. My joints and body hurt so bad because my cells are fighting against this, hard.
You can do everything “right”, like me, like Dan, and still get Covid-19. You can wash your hands, wear a clean mask everywhere you go, sanitize 24/7 and socially distance, avoid public places and dining out. You can only hope those around you’re surrounded by are doing the same. But guess what? It may not even matter. Why? Because you may be near someone who doesn’t have a mask on, who was exposed without even knowing, asymptomatic or think they just have allergies. And there you have it…possibly the beginning of your own Covid story.
Day 7. We are in the critical days to watch for a turn for the worse of the Coronavirus. We ride today out, not much new to report. Oh wait, our daughter Madelyn, is now mildly symptomatic and presumed positive for Covid-19…
Day 8. Rona, you are a total bitch. What are these new places that are aching? And why am I completely clogged?! I can’t breathe! My chest feels like total crap! Slapped with a hideous head-cold, I can’t take much more of this…
Day 9. This isn’t good, I know this feeling. I may be congested and huffing Afrin, but I know this feeling. My temp is up and I’m shallow breathing. At 5:30am I come downstairs and just sit, think, pray. I’m scared. My oxygen level is 96, so that’s good. But my chest is heavy on the left, like something’s constricting it. Afrin is keeping my nose clear so I can focus on my chest. Shit. I call my doctor, off to Covid Respiratory Care I go. All the while not knowing if I will be coming back home anytime soon, or, at all. It’s my left lung, I knew it, I could feel it. It isn’t working at capacity. It’s not taking in a good amount of air. My x-ray shows no fluid in there, yet. I get to come home.
Meanwhile, my husband looks pale… Really pale. He was born with two extra ribs, he is on blood thinners, he gets and still has a blood clot. He’s really pale. My temp is back up again, ugh. Unfortunately no one knows enough about Covid-19 to know which way it is going to go in you. It just keeps attacking you in different places, a new battlefield in hopes for a surrender.
Day 10. My husband should be let out of isolation today! My temp is still up, my eyes are burning all over again and my head is POUNDING. But my chest isn’t any worse, nor better, but I’ll take it. We didn’t sleep well. I was in a sound sleep (first in 9 days) when Dan woke me up at 2:30am with his heart slamming in his chest. 131 beats per minute. His blood pressure 154/98. His uncontrollable shaking was frightening. This can’t be good. After some deep breathing, an Ativan and an unknown amount of time, we (me) fell back asleep. After our morning check in from the NHDH we were advised to hang up and call our doctor. Dan’s heart rate and blood pressure still out of control, and now the anxiety is building full force, only making things worse for him. He’s been so pale, anytime he gets up just to refill his water glass he’s white and clammy. It’s unsettling. Why are we so damn sick? His oxygen is okay, mine too. So at least there’s that. Now we are on the phone with our doctors office, a nurse. His blood pressure is at 184/106, heart rate 130. We are given the two options: ambulance or drive him to the ER, if I feel able to. They need to be sure he’s not about to have a stroke or heart attack. Time suddenly slows and I collect my thoughts. Off we go….
Because I have Covid-19, my husband has Covid-19, we say goodbye at the drop off. I am not even allowed out of the car. We are crying, and afraid. Alone, my husband walks through those doors. I park, wait, cry. I hear nothing. I’m too shaken up to drive and I’m not going anywhere until I know where my husband is, and that he is okay. Time ticks by until I finally hear that he is having and EKG, getting an IV and blood work done. I learn he’s now in a negative pressure Covid room in Exeter Hospital, and he now has a fever, again. I drive home to wait for news. I know he is scared, alone, and in a full blown state of anxiety and fear.
Long story short, he comes home that night. His doctors agreed it best for him to be released once his labs and imaging came back okay. It was doing his body and stress more harm than good by him being in there, alone. He’s just really sick, his body is just simply having a negative reaction to Covid-19, it’s too much strain on his body, but thank God, he is okay. We are both completely, emotionally and physically fried and go to bed; clearly where we belong again. It is believed his body was fighting so hard at keeping a fever down that everything else went shooting up. The virus did this to him, has caused his heart and blood pressure to skyrocket, why? Nobody knows. This is how Covid-19 behaves. How settling…(insert eye roll).
Day 11. Dan’s latest Covid-19 test results are in, positive. He was supposed to be released from isolation today. That’s not happening, he still has Covid rapidly flowing through his system. We won’t be coming out of isolation anytime in the near future. Won’t be returning to our lives, friends or work any time in the near future either. The word depression has taken on a whole new meaning. I am not better today, nor worse either, I’m just existing. I’ll now need to be tested again too, to see if I am still positive as they expect I am. We learn it could be another 2-3 weeks before we are on the other side of this. “Just let the house go to hell, rest and hydration is crucial. No doing anything, at all”.
You know what is great though? Instacart. My amazing sister in Pittsburgh hooked us up! A whole grocery shopping trip, delivered right to our door. Thanks Cindy! I may not be able to smell or taste anything, but at least we have food in the house again, to you know, stay alive.
Day 12. All things pretty much the same, burning eyes, slowly getting better though. My back ache has come back again, although definitely not as severe as before, thank you. My chest is heavy, but it’s becoming the new norm. Our heads hurt (all of us). Not much new to report. Just blah…tired. At least neither of us are in a Covid-19 facility.
Day 13. Today. Before I even opened my eyes I was certain my brain was bleeding. A hot, wet, piercing headache. I don’t even want to open my eyes. But I do. After a couple hours we go outside for some fresh, humid air. Daily, we force ourselves out for two walks a day. And when I say a walk, I mean a 1000yd slow stroll around the house, vegetable garden (now jungle), pool and flower beds. It kicks our butts. Today especially. Why can’t we move without total body exhaustion? Why do we have to rest for an hour after? When are we going to really feel better? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN, TO US?!
We know why, the doctors and nurses know why… Because someone, somewhere, didn’t have a mask on, that’s why.
Day 15. We cry, all throughout the entire exhausting and depressing day. Our thoughts and emotions are on repeat. Every time we look at each other we can read each other’s thoughts, feelings. We have now been in this house, a danger to the world, for 22 days. I look in the mirror and have to remind myself, that I have a virus; I am not a virus. The day just ticks by, with thoughts like this, until I medicate myself to sleep.
Day 16. For the first morning in a long time I wake with no headache. Hallelujah. A little sore, joints are a bit inflamed, it’s tolerable. By late morning our emotions once again are in overdrive. The state has called for our first-of-the-day symptom check. Basically, we learn we are currently owned by the state of N.H. Held captive by this virus in our home, in our minds and body. I am told I will not be retested in the near future, it would only give me a false sense of hope. I would come back positive still, contagious, and I just need to hang in there and let my body to continue building antibodies. We are not deemed safe to any living creature until the state declares so, till we have a letter saying this to be true. Until we have this letter in hand, this is our life. On top of that, our rescue pup, Callie is sick. She hardly moved yesterday, and threw up from 3am until 5:30 am, she looks sad and miserable. The state is now monitoring her too. You can give Covid-19 to your beloved pets, did you know? Tomorrow if Callie is still symptomatic, she will need to be tested.
I just want to get back to my life, to my girls, and my salon. I want to feel alive again. Like, me. Everyday is just another question-mark, unfair.
I took every precaution.
My husband did too.
It was the common joke at the salon with my track record of unfortunate events; bacterial spinal meningitis from a lake, to six weeks of bed rest with pneumonia, that if anyone was going to get the Coronavirus, it was going to be me; funny not funny. And I did. I have Covid-19 and every day is scary.
So please, be safe, be diligent…be aware. Take every measure of caution and advisement.
It is out there.
If you can do one small inconvenient thing to protect others, do it.
Wear a mask. Protect others.
I hope our world can go back to “normal” soon. But it won’t until this virus is under control; maybe not until we have a vaccine… Until everyone takes this disease seriously.
This an emotional, exhausting, and scary journey we are on together, and we wouldn’t wish this on anyone. As miserable as this has been for us, so many are far worse, we are some of the lucky ones. Everything seems a little more precious than before. There are so many out there that have this virus, and don’t even know it yet, maybe they never will. And lives and loved ones will be lost. So make everyday count. Make amends where things need to be mended. Protect yourselves, and each other. I am emotional about it all, probably always will be. To know you have one of the most contagious diseases, and not know what the outcome will be, resonates in you, changes you. For Dan and I to have contracted Covid-19 has hit close-to-home for so many. So if my story can make just one anti-mask, non-believer, think twice, I’d like to think I’ve made a difference.
To our friends, loved ones, my dear clients who have reached out, we thank you all, for everything. And thank you for being just a little more careful than before. So please, take care of each other, love and protect each other. I will update you on our ever-changing progress…
And I will see you on the other side of this.
With a mask on. For you.
Love, hope, and peace to you all.
Brentwood, New Hampshire