I’m glad you asked! I’ve been having respiratory issues for a few months now. And while I tested negative for Covid in February and treated for Asthma, I tested positive for Covid in March. I don’t even know where to start because I have a million things swirling through my head since then. I know I can’t share all my thoughts, so I’ll choose 1 subject to discuss in this post and circle around with consecutive posts.
Let me start by saying I don’t think I’ve ever suffered as much as I have with this Covid virus. Asthma turned into Covid with bilateral pneumonia (which just means pneumonia in both lungs for my nonmedical readers). I went to the hospital and could barely drive myself there. I mean, I literally had trouble walking to the car. Once I got to the hospital, there were no parking spots in the ER section, which meant I had to park on the regular parking lot and walk back up to the ER. Well, let me tell you. I had to sit and pray and ask God to help me get to the front door; that’s how bad I felt. Like I was going to pass out while walking. Then, I register and sat in the hospital’s waiting room for 8 1/2 hours before being taken back. I went in the morning, so that means I was there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which I didn’t have, nor could I hold anything down anyway. That was crazy for me because I was short of breath and coughing up my lungs yet NO ONE ever once asked if I was okay or needed a sip of water or anything.
Now I’ve been an ER nurse, and I know we’re busy running back and forth trying to meet the community’s needs. However, there weren’t that many people in the waiting room. But then I had to remind myself that I didn’t know the volume of patients in the back. So many nurses and medical staff walked past me, I was shocked that no one asked if I needed help or anything. After watching people who had gotten there after me being taken back before me, I rationalized that they had a higher acuity level. So, they took priority over me, or at least that is what I told myself.
I waited until I was called and taken to the back. It was finally my turn, and whew was I glad about it. When I tell you, a thousand things ran through my mind about quality of care, patient satisfaction and press Gainey scores (these are all the things they stay on nurses about). I was like, “oh I can’t wait to get my survey because I sure have a lot to say,” and I indeed said them and didn’t mince my words. Listen, y’all, being a nurse taking care of patients is very different than being a nurse and being the patient, at least it is for me. I tend to let people do their jobs without interference. But PSA: if you’re too sick to advocate for yourself, please make sure you take someone with you if possible or have them on the phone to intercede when needed. Now if I’m a nurse telling you that, please listen to me. At this time, I was suffering. The simplest thing as responding to a question was hard for me without coughing and losing control of my bladder (I had to wear Depends). So, I only answered what was asked and left it at that. However, I will tell you that I really felt like my brain was foggy the whole time I’ve been sick.
I couldn’t remember things. I had to stop and literally think about what I was about to do next and concentrate on it. It was so hard, and I spent many days/nights crying and talking to God. Well, the doctor comes in and finds out I’m a nurse, so she starts to speak to me from one medical professional to another. She tells me all the tests they’re going to run, etc., and I say okay. I go for my CT scan of the chest and abdomen. I could barely get through that because of coughing so much and so hard. I was sitting there doing pursed-lip breathing and guided imagery to control my breathing while going in and out of the machine.
Okay, so back to the room I go, and the doctor returns and says, “even though we won’t know your Covid test results for 24-48 hours I’m pretty sure you have Covid.” I said yes, I do too. She precedes to tell me that I have bilateral pneumonia. Still, they can see Covide granules throughout my lung fields, so they know I have Covid without getting the official results. Now I’m thinking, okay, they will keep me and give me medications to treat the Covid and pneumonia to decrease my symptoms to some degree. No ma’am, no sir, they sure did not.
Instead, the doctor told me they will do absolutely nothing but send me home with a pulse oximeter to monitor my oxygen saturation levels. Wait, what, Miss? Did you say you gonna send me home with both lungs filled with fluid? I’m asthmatic, wheezing, short of breath, incontinent, can hardly walk, AND have Covid? I thought maybe my foggy brain was affecting my hearing. It was not, and yes, she said the reason was that the pneumonia was due to Covid, and they don’t do anything for that unless my O2 sats fall in the 80s. You might as well have slapped me upside my head and knocked me off the bed. I sat there staring at her like a deer in headlights.
When I tell you, my heart dropped, and I wanted to fling myself on that floor and say I ain’t going nowhere, but I didn’t. I said, well, we treat patients with pneumonia and usually don’t send patients home with bilateral pneumonia. She replied, yes, that’s right, typically, but this is Covid, so we don’t treat it. I asked what about my breathing, and she said, well, your saturation levels has stayed at 96%, so you’re okay, and we’ll give you the pulse ox to check your sats at home. Well Lord, let’s pray they don’t fall to the point that I don’t get the opportunity to check or call out to my sons for help. I thought I was gonna die, and she was dead serious. She came in, talked to me, and said the nurse will be in to discharge you.
The nurse came in, and I told her she didn’t have to repeat what the doctor already told me; I understand. When she and I talked, she asked if anything has ever helped my cough, and I told her an ER doctor in Florida gave me IV Magnesium Sulfate, and that calmed me down to the point where I wasn’t short of breath. She said we have given that for asthmatics, so I’ll talk to the doctor, and maybe we can try that to provide you with some relief because you’re so short of breath. She was an excellent nurse with a compassionate heart who attempted to advocate for me, but to no avail.
Well, I told you they discharged me, right? Yup, I was sent home the same way I went in with not even a tiny bit of relief, neither physically, emotionally, or mentally. I remember standing in the shower crying so hard, asking God to please make me feel better because I didn’t know what to do at that point. I thought I was going to die. The healthcare system that was supposed to care for me failed me horrifically, in my opinion. To top it off, I am a part of this broken system. I didn’t feel like I wanted to be a nurse after that. I thought to myself, this can’t be life. Talk about exhaustion!
I returned home to quarantine for my 14 days, and here it is a little over a month later, and I’m still sick. I chalked it up to pneumonia. I’m going to go in and get tested again to make sure it’s actually gone. I also want to see what can be done about this ongoing cough, the headaches, and some of the same symptoms I was displaying with the first diagnosis. School has started back, and I’m pushing my way through that as well. Although I feel bad and am not yet at my full capacity, I can say I’m still blessed because I’m alive. There were times during the last few weeks when I felt like I was going to die, BUT GOD! I’m still here because my purpose has not been fulfilled here on earth. I have to turn my complaints into a spirit of gratitude. Why? Because my situation, although it is not the best, it is not the worse.
This is what I’ll leave you with. COVID is not dead, but a lot of people ARE dead because of this virus. Please do NOT take off your masks. Please do not relax and think that you no longer have to take precautions because you got the vaccine. People who have been fully vaccinated are still getting Covid. Please don’t take your health and the health of others for granted. It is easy to pass on, and some people carry it without symptoms and pass it along to others. Please don’t feel safe because it’s family. Although we don’t purposely give it to our family, we relax, gather, and transmit it. Let’s do the very best at doing OUR individual parts, which can lead to a collective effort to decrease the virus’s spread.
Everyone, including myself, want to go on vacation, take a little trip, and enjoy myself. But, at what cost? How would you feel knowing that your need to get away sent your loved one away (death) or caused someone to get sick? I don’t tell people what to do. I only share my thoughts and my experiences. It is up to each person to make a conscious, informed decision on how they will carry themselves. Maybe before we do things, we should ask, “is this worth my life, the life of my children and/or family, or anyone else?” Again, it’s just my opinion, so eat the meat and throw away the bones. Otherwise, please stay safe, and keep taking precautions like wearing your masks, washing your hands, and/or sanitizing frequently. I wish you and your families excellent health.
Until Next Time,