On April 2nd I started having chest pain and a sore throat. I had no idea I would be diagnosed with Covid-19 just 4 days later. This was hands down one of the scariest times in my life, not only because of the Covid-19 symptoms themselves but also from the unknown and public hysteria. The virus hit me both physically and mentally and with very little information out there, it was terrifying. This is my Covid-19 story, including my daily symptoms, medical care, and recovery.
My Covid-19 Story: Daily Symptoms, Care, and Recovery
Since day 4 I have been sharing my Covid-19 story on my Instagram account but with very little information out there (I know I scoured the internet looking for anything and everything) I thought it would be best to compile it all together in a post so it’s easier to reference as needed (though Lord I hope it’s not needed!). This is, start to finish, everything I learned and went through with the new Coronavirus.
I am a rule follower. My husband and I were quarantined starting on March 16th after a weekend trip to a family cabin. My symptoms started on April 2nd, 18 days into our quarantine. In that time the only outside contact I had was from walks outside, packages delivered to the house, 1 grocery drive up order form Walmart, and 1 quick trip to Target to find Lysol spray and Clorox wipes to protect us from the said packages and groceries (which the website said was in stock and they did not have).
I Did Everything Right
I followed all the precautions possible given the lack of cleaning supplies available and I still got Covid-19. I washed my hands, used sanitizer, cleaned my steering wheel, opened packages outside and immediately discarded the boxes. I did what I thought was enough and here I sit, writing my Covid-19 story.
My guess is I got it from that single Target run I did and I was SO nervous to do it. I held my breath and ran through the store as quickly as possible but only 50% of people at that time were taking it seriously. Others were shopping like it was just another day. No social distancing, no concern for others.
This is serious. Stay home. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.
Keep in mind, the number of confirmed cases they are reporting is NOT accurate (at least here in MN). They are not testing unless you are a health care worker, hospitalized, in a group home, or going to Mayo. Being tested won’t change your course of treatment. I agree, tests should be reserved for those who have to be around others (healthcare workers, police, etc.). But to base our states success/failure off an inaccurate number is wrong and gives people a false sense of security. A much larger portion of the population has it and it’s not pretty.
Sure, some people might get off easy with no symptoms, but that was not what happened to me.
**I want to preface this by saying this is what happened to me, what I was diagnosed with, and the care I was given. Please contact your doctor or the Coronavirus hotline with questions or concerns.
Covid-19 Symptoms and Care Day by Day:
1-2 Days prior to main symptoms: I felt like I might be having seasonal allergies kick in. Both kids coughed a couple of times so I checked temps and Baby was normal and Toddler was 99.5 but didn’t think anything of it since it was still under 100.
- Day 1: Symptoms started with a sore throat and chest pain that I thought was heartburn. I took expired Rolaids (all we had) in the afternoon. By bedtime it had gotten a little better.
- Day 2: I’m tired but think it’s just from quarantine with 2 little kids. I woke up feeling okay but as the day went on the sore throat and chest pain were back and worse than the day before. I tried Rolaids again and they did nothing. Started to worry a little but no fever.
- Day 3: More fatigue. I woke up feeling okay but as the day went on I had more sore throat and chest pain, worse than the day before. Still no fever.
- Day 4 (start of isolation): Again, woke up tired but feeling okay. I quickly got exhausted from a little yard work. My sore throat and chest pain were much worse than previous days. Shortness of breath really kicked in and then nausea and diarrhea. At this point I was very scared. My fingers were tingling and I thought I might be having heart problems possibly related to Covid.
- Diagnosis: I called the nurse line, she also suspected Covid because chest pain has been a very common symptom for people calling in. I had a video call with a Doctor 5 minutes later and was diagnosed with Covid-19 (the tingling was from shortness of breath and hyperventilating from panic attack, not heart related). Doctor prescribed an Albuterol inhaler for chest pain and isolation from my family so they wouldn’t get it (see details below). Nothing else they could do unless it required hospitalization. No testing. Still no fever or cough. Drinking 100-120 ounces of water a day to get and stay hydrated.
- Day 5: Worst symptom is chest pain. On a scale of 1 being a paper cut to 10 being childbirth, I’d give it a 6-7. I also have bad upper back pain and a very sore throat. Some shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue, plus mild headache (dehydration). I think I have pleurisy caused by the Covid (inflammation of the lining of the lungs, causes bad chest pain). Albuterol works for chest and back pain. Symptoms come and go all day progressively getting worse and by evening I feel terrible. I started using Samsung Health app to track heart rate and O2 levels to make sure I’m getting enough oxygen (see details below). O2 level is 97-100%. I have a bounding heart rate (feels like it’s jumping out of my chest) and resting heart rate of 95-99bpm.
- Day 6: Feel better in the morning and then worse as the day goes on. Have all the same symptoms as previous day. Stopped taking inhaler for chest pain because I realized it was causing the anxiety and bounding heart. The chest pain was already scaring me and the bounding heart and increased heart rate is making that worse so not worth it to use the inhaler. Started breathing exercises to help lung pain and oxygen levels. Also laying on stomach to allow the back of my lungs to expand and avoid pneumonia (see details below). I start running a cool mist humidifier at night right above my head.
- Day 7: Better in the morning and worse as day goes on. Same symptoms as previous day. Worse back pain, more chest congestion but still not too bad. Took Mucinex because nurse recommended it but it did nothing. Took a hot bath to break up congestion in chest then took a quick shower. Completely worn out after shower. Heart rate is bounding and goes up to 105 resting and does not go down for an hour. Called nurse line and advised it’s okay unless heart rate goes up to 140 or stays over 100 for more than 2 weeks. Still worried I’m going to go to sleep and wake up needing the ER.
- Day 8: Feeling better in the morning than I have in a week. I came out of isolation because Doctor said 7 days after the start of symptoms or 3 days after the fever is gone (but I didn’t have a fever). Start picking up house and within 2 hours I feel terrible again. Chest and back pain worse than ever and I’m short of breath. I was holding out but I finally take an Ibuprofen because the doctor said it was okay (I did question it because some are saying it can make Covid worse, she said it was okay as needed). Chest and back pain went away with medication but came back just as bad in the evening. I’m winded and my heart rate goes up to 117bpm from walking up stairs. End up at Urgent Care on advice from nurses in a Facebook mom group. Back in isolation due to fever of 99.6. Freedom was short lived.
- Urgent Care: I wore a bandanna mask. I was the ONLY person at Urgent Care (normally full). It was like being in an apocalypse movie. Guard at the door, everyone in masks, shields, and gowns. The 3 people who checked me in looked terrified. The nurses and doctors were calm, knowledgeable, and kind. Ended up having a fever of 99.6. Doctor said it indicates an infection and that a low grade fever was common with Covid. Heart rate was 97 and O2 was 98%. EKG was difficult to get an accurate picture but still normal. Lungs were clear of fluid. Diagnosed with Pleurisy (which I had previously suspected) likely caused by Covid-19. Advised to only take Tylenol as needed, no NSAIDs. No testing being done unless you work in healthcare, admitted to hospital, or live in a group home.
- Day 9: All the same symptoms, mainly chest pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, fever around 99.6, and chest congestion. Some nausea, diarrhea, fatigue. Heart rate is erratic 80-95bpm while resting. Decide to avoid Facebook and the News because the negative stories and people panicking are causing major anxiety. Symptoms are the same but anxiety is better after getting answers from urgent care visit. My oldest son now has a fever of 99.5 but no other symptoms and feels fine. Started taking vitamins recommended by family, and an ER nurse whose entire family had Covid. Taking prenatal multivitamin (always was), Vitamin C Immune Plus with Vitamin D, Elderberry Immune Support with Zinc, and Melatonin before bed (see details below).
- Day 10: Fever is 99.3 – 99.8 all day plus more chest congestion and needing to clear it but no real “cough”. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and sore throat are getting better. No anxiety which is a big improvement for my mental health.
- Day 11: Fever fluctuates from normal to 99.6. Chest congestion is worse but still manageable. Chest pain and sore throat are mostly gone (which were by far the worst symptoms). I read it’s an expected 2-4 week recovery for most at home cases depending on severity. I would say mine is “mild” for Covid (though still the worst illness I have ever had).
- Fever: Typically a fever is anything over 100.4. With Covid-19, they are seeing low grade fevers typically in the 99’s and a lot of fluctuation from hour to hour, and day to day. People are often getting better one day and then worse the next (which is what I experienced) so they are recommending isolation until your temperature is at normal 98.6 for 3 full days to make sure it is truly gone. This is a highly contagious virus with a lot of unknowns so working off the better safe than sorry model.
- Day 12: Fever is 99.2-100. Mild chest congestion and shortness of breath but all other symptoms are gone. I feel fine. I took a shower and didn’t feel winded or tired after like I had a few days prior. I called the nurse line to confirm isolation 95% of time (5% of the day I am getting water, etc.) is still necessary to protect my family. She confirmed fever should be completely gone for 3 days before I come out and that isolation for 95% of the day is better than 0%. My husband was not thrilled to hear that. He is on day 9 of solo parenting while trying to work from home. He, understandably, wants help. I, understandably, want to hug my babies.
- Day 13: Mild chest congestion and a 99.2 temp most of the day are my only symptoms.
The Mental Aspect: Isolation day 10 for me. Mentally and emotionally it’s a very bad day for everyone. The fever seems to be going down gradually but it’s still there so I’m still stuck in isolation for at least 3 more days. I wake up every day glad I didn’t get worse over night and thankful I’m not in the hospital. I’m frustrated because I FEEL fine. I miss my boys (who seem to be missing me less and less) and I am really struggling with my mental health at this point. My husband is frustrated and tired (our youngest is also teething and not sleeping well). He doesn’t understand the fever isolation but I won’t put my family at risk when the doctors are telling me I’m still possibly contagious. This whole thing is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
- Day 14: Praise. The. Lord. My temperature is 97.7-98.8, “normal,” all day and I feel good! Still mild chest congestion but that’s it! So far, when taking my temp at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking, it has been below 99. We will see how the rest of the day (and the next 2 days) go for getting out of isolation! This is my Covid-19 recovery day 1!
- Day 15: Temperature is 97.7 when I wake up. Hallelujah! I still have very mild chest congestion but that is my only symptom. This is my Covid-19 recovery day 2!
- Day 16: If everything goes okay this will be my last day of Covid-19 recovery and I can go back to normal life. TBD tomorrow!
Some of the main takeaways for me:
- Constant chest pain! Worse with deep breath. By far the worst symptom and so scary
- The worst sore throat I have ever had
- Shortness of breath – I had to consciously think about breathing all the time
- Almost always wake up okay, feel bad in about an hour
- Symptoms come and go throughout the day and get better/worse from day to day
- Strong symptoms for about 7 days, days 5-8 are the worst
Isolation (+ family quarantine)
Before I even got Covid my husband and I had talked about what we would do if one of us did get it. Our downstairs living room has a TV, a bathroom attached, and a door so it’s closed off from the house. We decided that would be the best option for the sick person to avoid spreading it to the rest of the family.
Everyone I talked to highly recommended isolation from family as much as possible. I lived in that downstairs living room 95% of the day only coming out to get food and water. I slept on the couch with all my normal bedding and binged Gilmore Girls all day everyday. When I did come out I would wash my hands first and wear a mask if I was going to be near anyone.
I did say hi to the kids everyday from a distance. It was very difficult for them. Our toddler understood that I was sick but he didn’t really care and wanted a hug. The baby obviously had no clue and just looked confused and would cry when I didn’t pick him up. It broke my heart.
My husband and kids also had to be in quarantine for 14 days from the start of my symptoms to make sure they don’t have it and are asymptomatic.
Samsung Health App
The Samsung Health app can be used with smartphones that have a fingerprint reader to check your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Download the app, open it and select the Stress test. Place your index finger on the fingerprint reader and hold it there until the test is complete. I heard about this from a nurse who tested it against the hospitals and said it was accurate. I also tested it against the Urgent Care’s and it was accurate.
I saw this video shared by JK Rowling showing a doctor’s suggestion for expanding lungs, clearing fluid, and using the back of your lungs to avoid fluid build up and pneumonia. I did this when my back pain was the worst or when I noticed I had been sitting on the couch for a long time.
A friend of mine who is also a nurse and had pneumonia recently suggested pursed lip breathing. I did this often throughout the day to help me relax and also when I was feeling short of breath.
**Please contact your doctor before taking any medications or supplements. I am not suggesting these work or should be taken, this is just what I did.
There is very little that is proven to work against Covid-19 right now. I just took the recommended amount of some basic medicines and supplements and I spaced them out through the day so I wouldn’t get a stomach ache.
- Multivitamin: I am still breastfeeding so I was taking a prenatal multivitamin through the entire sickness (though not before). I took 1, the recommended dose, after dinner because sometimes it gives me a stomachache if I take it in the morning.
- Vitamin C: On day 7 I started taking Vitamin C Immune Plus with Vitamin D tablets (just 1 time per day) on a recommendation from several people, including 1 person who also had Covid-19. I took 2 tablets, the recommended dose, around noon.
- Elderberry and Zinc: On day 9 I started taking Elderberry Immune Support with Zinc. Elderberry was recommended by a family member and Zinc by a nurse who had Covid. I couldn’t find any Zinc supplements in-stock so I went with this Elderberry/Zinc combo. I took 3 gummies, the recommended dose, in the morning, and 1 extra gummy in the evening (it says you can take up to 2 doses but since it also has vitamin c in it I didn’t want to push it).
- Melatonin: On Day 9 I also started taking 5mg of Melatonin before bed. The same nurse who had Covid-19 shared an article about it. There is a theory that Melatonin may help fight Covid because it is found in high levels in young children and very low levels in the elderly. I figured it was worth a shot since I also needed to get good sleep. I took one tablet, the recommended dose, 20 minutes before bed.
- Albuterol: I was prescribed an Albuterol inhaler for the chest pain and while it did initially work, the second day I took it I felt my chest pain was getting worse and I was getting anxiety every time I used it. On days 4 and 5 I used it as needed up to every 4 hours as prescribed.
- Tylenol: I was using this the first few days but it did nothing for any of my symptoms. I stopped using it because it seemed like a waste and I don’t take medication unless it’s 100% necessary. If you have a high fever you can use it to bring it down but since a low grade fever is your body’s way of fighting the virus, I didn’t take it as a fever reducer.
- Ibuprofen: The first doctor I talked to said it was okay to take Ibuprofen. I read it was not okay so I asked her about it and she said they are using it in the hospital if Tylenol doesn’t work so it was fine if I needed it. The chest pain got to the point that I was desperate and I took it once on day 8. It worked but the doctor I saw at urgent care confirmed what the previous doctor said but also said I should avoid it since there are conflicting reports. I didn’t use it again after that.
- Cool Mist Humidifier: Around day 6, my friend who is a nurse and recently had pneumonia recommended I use a cool mist humidifier on high right by my face, so that’s what I did! I did feel like it helped my breathing feel less labored. If you have bad chest congestion and cough this could really help you out. Just make sure it is clean with no mold anywhere.
My Covid-19 Story: Symptoms, Care, and Recovery
This was a whirlwind of an experience. Hour to hour and day to day it was something different. It was physically awful but also, given the state of the world, emotionally terrifying. You just don’t know what’s going to happen and the unknown is pretty scary. I pray that this is it, that this is the last time my family will have to worry about Covid-19 directly affecting our health. I hope my Covid-19 story, symptoms, care, and recovery will help those of you searching for information but I also pray that no one will actually need it.
Stay home, wash your hand, don’t touch your face, and stay healthy, my friends!
Sending you so much love and support!
Until next time,