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Let me start by saying that I have been pretty careful during this pandemic. We stayed at home for months and started venturing out but wearing our masks and social distancing when in public. We even took a trip to Aruba a couple of months ago and I felt safe the whole time. I am a believer that masks and common sense (staying away from others, washing hands, wiping down surfaces) work. I have gone to restaurants for months but my rule has been patios only with the exception of one time I sat inside the restaurant and didn’t feel comfortable at all.
On Sunday, Oct 4th I attended a baby shower for one of my best friends against my better judgement.
This baby shower was a last minute decision and I was VERY nervous with it being inside at a restaurant’s “private dining” room. There were about 20 people at the shower including 3 children, one of them being mine. We spent three hours in this room together, not wearing masks.
I kept a journal and a timeline of my COVID-19 symptoms and will share details below in hopes it will help raise awareness on what this disease is like and what it can do to your body. Unfortunately, this illness is unpredictable and doesn’t affect anyone the same way. This is my story.
10/9 Today I found out Alba and I were exposed at the baby shower five days ago. Supposedly someone that attended the shower started showing symptoms that same day!
10/10 Alba and I both went to get tested. They did a rapid test. I tested negative but Alba tested positive. I was told that my test is most likely a false negative. Three other women from the shower tested positive (all three pregnant).
10/11 (Day 1) It’s been seven days since day of exposure. My symptoms started with a deep cough in the morning followed by fatigue and chills later in the day. I also had a pinched nerve in my neck and a huge headache. I decided to go retest and the rapid PCR test came back positive as I expected. I took Tylenol Cold before bed and passed out. I felt exhausted. My husband started showing the same symptoms and we just assumed he has it as well.
10/12 (Day 2) I slept for 11 hours. I woke up with my neck feeling a little better and headache almost gone. I had some ups and downs throughout the day. I would feel good for a little while then would get chills and start sweating. I got some Gatorade and Liquid IV and I think that helped a ton. I was feeling better by the end of the evening and got a burst of energy before bed. I had some chills right at bedtime and started to have a runny nose and a cough.
10/13 (Day 3) I woke up with a painful cramp in my calf. I got pretty out of breath walking up the stairs to get Alba. I have the worst headache. Seems like my sense of smell and taste is disappearing but not completely gone. Today was rough. I had a headache all day plus body aches and chills and did not feel like getting out of bed at all. I really needed a nap in the afternoon and every time I would close my eyes Alba would wake me up and wouldn’t let me sleep. I felt so helpless I cried. I finally got up and played with her for a couple of hours until my husband took over in the evening. That’s when I spiked a fever for the first time. It was low grade at 100.2. I took Tylenol and it helped bring it down after an hour or so. I felt like death for the rest of the evening. Really hoping for a better day tomorrow.
10/14 (Day 4) I woke up feeling a little better, headache has not improved though. I played with Alba for a couple of hours and felt ok until about 2pm. Then I started having chills and had to go lay down. I took a nap and felt pretty bad for the rest of the day. I took a shower and felt like I’m going to faint. I was out of breath when I got out and had to lay down. I’m so disoriented and clumsy. Late in the evening I got up to go to the kitchen and almost fell by fridge, I held on to the water dispenser and spilled a ton of water. Then I was warming up some soup and spilled twice while trying to get the spoon to my mouth. Then I was moving Alba’s big balloon and it was between me and the staircase and it hit the corner and then bounced and hit my head and it scared me so much. It’s like I was dreaming. I only ate two bagels with cheese earlier today and some soup around 10:30pm. I did drink a green juice and a few Liquid IV drinks. I can no longer smell or taste anything.
10/15 (Day 5) Not much has changed. Headache remains. I felt nauseous all day to the point that I could barely lift my head. I had a bagel for breakfast and some soup for dinner, and a few biscuits after. We took Alba outside for 45 mins to play and it was tough. I felt dizzy all day if doing anything out of bed.
10/16 (Day 6) I woke up with a pinched neck nerve which added to my pain and headache. All this laying around in bed is not helping, I’m so stiff and my body hurts. At first I thought maybe things have improved but as soon as I got out of bed I noticed I was out of breath just walking to the bathroom and my heart rate was shooting up to 160bmp just by taking a few steps. Things were up and down all day, I forced myself to eat a bagel and some grapes in the early afternoon and some stew in the evening. After eating I put the dishes in the dishwasher and had to put a chair in the kitchen so I can sit down every 30 seconds. I could not stand for any longer than that. After that I started having chills and stomach cramps and had to lay down. My cough also seems to be getting worse on and off. I just feel like death.
10:30pm update. After feeling the worst I have ever felt all of a sudden I got a burst of energy and felt much better so i jumped in the shower since I haven’t showered in a couple of days and my hair desperately needed a wash. The shower felt good but as soon as I came out I started having hot flashes and sweating. That didn’t last long and I felt pretty good until I went to bed.
10/17 (Day 7) I was really hoping that today would be a good day since I felt a little better last night but it seems like everything just hit me even harder. How’s that even possible?! I am completely out of breath just walking a few steps, I have no desire to eat or drink. Fever got up to 101.3 today. I ate a piece of bagel and a couple of pieces of egg in the morning and soup with a few bites of salad in the evening. All food tastes like I’m eating pure salt, water tastes like metal. Gatorade and Liquid IV have pretty much been the only thing I can tolerate. I have now added diarrhea to the list of symptoms. I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I feel bad for my four year old daughter who’s been stuck in the house with her zombie parents for a week now.
By the way, my husband has been having the exact same symptoms at the same time as me and my daughter has remained symptom free the whole time.
10/18 (Day 8) Today has been the worst day so far. I woke up feeling like I need help so I scheduled an appointment at the urgent care clinic. I haven’t gone earlier because everyone tells you that there isn’t much they can do for you unless you are struggling to breathe and to just take Tylenol and treat symptoms as they come. After eight days I could not take it anymore. I could not lift my head to get out of bed. I’ve been so nauseous. I vomited in the morning but there was literally nothing to come out other than a tiny bit of water. My husband has been feeling exactly the same. My appointment was at 4:30pm but I fell asleep and could not get myself to get up so I moved it to 5:30. I went in and got seen. My temperature was 100.7, blood oxygen level at 93% and heart rate 110. The doctor told me I have the worst list of symptoms he’s seen at the clinic since the beginning of COVID. He said most people have a couple of symptoms but I have them all. They gave me a steroid shot with some pain medicine and prescription for a steroid pack, cough medicine, pain medicine and an inhaler. He told me if my breathing gets worse to go to the ER. Since it was Sunday evening most pharmacies were already closed it took me a little while to find a pharmacy that was open. I had to drive 30 mins one way to the pharmacy and it was the longest drive ever. I felt so out of it. However, on the way back I started to feel a little relief and the nausea had gone away. I even got some fries and ate a few in the car. It felt like the steroid shot was working. When I finally came home it had been about 3 hours after I had left for my appointment and I found Adis looking even worse then when I left. He could not lift his head to sit up. He said he didn’t know if he was going to survive the night and it scared me because he looked like he may not. I forced him to somehow get up and took him to urgent care. They pretty much gave him all the same things they gave me and sent him home. I went to put my daughter to bed around midnight and fell asleep in her bed. I woke up drenched in sweat. I came downstairs and found Adis the same way. I guess that was the steroids working. I changed and went to bed feeling like tomorrow may finally be a better day.
10/19 (Day 9) Today has been a blur. The shortness of breath is my biggest concern right now. I am completely out of breath just by walking a few steps and my heart rate jumps up to 140-160bmp within seconds. I spent a lot of the day sleeping on and off. I sat outside on the patio this evening and cried. I feel so helpless, like there is no end in sight. The hardest part of all this has been the fact that nobody is able to help us with our daughter. What happens if we have to be hospitalized? We can’t put our parents at risk but someone has to take care of our child. It’s all so freaking scary and the anxiety this whole thing is causing me isn’t helping anyone.
10/20 (Day 10) Shortness of breath continues. I keep checking my blood oxygen levels because the doctor told me that if it goes under 90 I need to go to the hospital. Most of the day it sat around 94-95 but dipped to 92 a few times. Our house was a disaster and as much as I couldn’t breathe from being sick, the amount of mess and dirt was making me suffocate even more. I did the dishes and cleaned up the house, which took me over four hours. I did it in 30 second intervals, picking up a few things then sitting down for a couple of minutes. After resting for an hour or so I vacuumed very slowly. I felt so accomplished after. We also went on a very slow evening walk. I still have a bad cough and major shortness of breath with some chest pain and tightness. I have no idea what to expect from tomorrow. I just hope it doesn’t get any worse.
10/21 (Day 11) Last night I found a sleeping position that was comfortable and didn’t cause me to cough my lungs out so I stayed in that same position for 8 hours! I woke up so stiff. As soon as I moved I started coughing. I noticed my lungs/back were hurting with every cough. Overall breathing seems to have improved some though. I went to the bathroom and was out of breath within seconds. My heart rate is in the 150’s just by walking across the room. I spent most of the day in bed. I found these breathing exercises that I did a few times throughout the day. I feel like they may be helping a little bit.
10/22 (Day 12) Today was a better day. However, shortness of breath is still there to the point where I can’t do any normal activities without having to sit down 10 seconds in. I did manage to go on a very slow walk with my little family and wash my hair in the evening. I still don’t have much of an appetite and everything smells like cough syrup. I also noticed that I was down 10 lbs since the beginning of this ordeal.
10/23 (Day 13) Overall, I feel like things are moving in the right direction; definitely not as fast as I’d like though. I still have a bad cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath when trying to do normal daily activities. Food still doesn’t taste great and I constantly smell cough syrup. My blood oxygen level is still sitting around 92-93. I only crave bland foods like plain bread and fruits and vegetables. I did manage to make dinner and eat some of it, however I had to lay down as soon as I was done and I fell asleep for about 30 minutes. This never happens to me on a normal day!
10/24 (Day 14) Today I was more tired than anything. The cough is still persistent and shortness of breath hasn’t improved much, if at all. My blood oxygen level was at 93-94 the couple of times I checked it. At one point I felt like I may have a fever but it turned out I did not. I was feeling hot and cold most of the day. Alba went to spend the night at my parents so I took the opportunity to binge watch Little Fires Everywhere all evening. I’m hoping I can get some rest and sleep in tomorrow morning.
10/25 (Day 15) Today has been the laziest day ever. As far as symptoms I feel like I took a step back. The cough is killing me and I feel like my lungs are full of mucus and I’m drowning. It also feels like I’ve had a low grade fever all day. Checked the temp and it was 99.3, blood oxygen levels still at 93. I’m exhausted. I just want my life back!!
10/26 (Day 16) Alba spent the night at my parents’ again so I slept in this morning. Overall, I feel better today. I am still coughing a lot and easily get out of breath but I can say I’m no longer feeling like I’m going to die. Blood oxygen level is finally at 95% today (95-100 is considered normal). I hope things continue to move in the right direction and that I will be back to feeling normal soon.
I wanted to add that Alba never developed any symptoms. All three of us spent time together in our house for 14 days. I couldn’t find any official information on this but some people told me that their doctors advised them that you should still isolate from other sick people in your household because by being together you increase the viral load and make each other sicker. I wonder if this is what happened to us because all of our friends had very mild cases. I would call our case moderate, thankfully we didn’t need to be hospitalized but it sure was the worst either of us have ever felt. By the way, for reference we are both 36 years old and in good health.
Total number of people (that we know of) infected from this one shower ended up being 12. Originally five of us that attended the shower tested positive with one more person testing positive a few days later. It turned out her first test was a false negative. I ended up giving it my husband and two other friends gave it to theirs. One friend passed it to her two daughters, thankfully they are both symptom free. My husband also gave it to a friend of his. These are all the people that we know were affected. Twenty people attended a shower and 12 people got infected! Thankfully we didn’t spend any time with my parents or in laws in the days leading up to our diagnosis. I would have felt so guilty if we had given this horrible disease to one of them, and who knows how it would have affected them.
I will definitely be even more careful now. According to current information out there we are supposed to have antibodies for at least 90 days now but I honestly don’t think anyone knows anything for sure. I have joined a couple of Facebook groups in which people claim that they got infected for the second time and they are even sicker this time around. That terrifies me because if either one of us got any sicker we would have to be hospitalized. We will continue to wear our masks when in public and avoid large gatherings for a while. That’s all we can do for now.
Since everyone is affected differently by this virus I don’t really have any major advice on what to do in case you do get sick. I had no appetite and didn’t feel like drinking water so Gatorade and Liquid IV happened to be two things that kept me alive. I say whatever your body can tolerate is what you’ll live off of for a couple of weeks.
I took the following vitamins during my illness (this isn’t much different from what I normally take) and I have no idea if it made any difference:
I also used this Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor in order to monitor my blood oxygen levels.
I’ll come back to this blog post in about a week or two and update it with how I’m feeling. Fingers crossed that I’m back to normal and 100%. Stay safe and healthy out there!