‘Once I Lost My Smell, I Knew This Was Something More:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

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The world is in the middle of a scary time. Each and every day brings its own new set of coronavirus-related news, including the increasing amount of positive cases of the virus. Of course, this lends itself to many questions — what are the symptoms like, how severe are they, and many more. One local resident who was recently diagnosed with the virus got in touch to share what their experience was like and answer some of those burning questions. The person, in their 20s, wished to remain anonymous, so we kept all of their other demographics private. Here is their story.

Disclaimer: This is one person living locally who had a specific experience with COVID-19. This is meant to be informative only and not a medical opinion or advice by any means, as the severity varies from person to person. All should be practicing social distancing at this time. If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms, especially shortness of breath, cough, and fever, please contact your primary physician and call the hotline numbers listed here.

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Where do you live?

Hoboken.

What do you do for work?

I work in healthcare at a large hospital in New Jersey.

When did you first feel symptoms?

The week of March 23rd {I think}.

What were they? How severe/mild were they?

For the first few days very mild and non-specific, not even sure if they were definitely COVID symptoms or general stress from work/this situation. But it started with a constant headache and then chest heaviness and fatigue a few days into it, then I totally lost my sense of smell and taste, which happened overnight. Once I lost my smell, I knew this was something more than just being stressed. Thankfully, my symptoms never got worse than that.

See More: ‘I Started to Lose My Sense of Taste + Smell:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

When did you decide to take a test? What made you decide?

When my smell or taste did not return for two days {which thankfully was a weekend}, I decided to inquire about testing. Working in healthcare, we are not able to quarantine out of precaution, only out of necessity, and I didn’t want to risk spreading it to anyone else, so I knew the only way to be sure was to get tested.

How do you think you contracted COVID19?

I believe I contracted COVID-19 at work, either directly from someone else or from a surface. I felt as though it took my department, in particular, a bit longer to realize the severity of the virus and we were not given good guidance on how to protect ourselves or a safe place to do our work in the beginning.

Did you have any difficulty getting tested?

It was pretty easy for me to get a test through work since I am a hospital employee. I spoke with an NP who immediately agreed that I should be tested and was tested the same day I called.

When did you test positive? How long did it take for results?

It took three days to get my results back after I was tested. Originally, I was told it would take 24-48 hours, so the waiting was very frustrating and difficult.

Did you need to go to a doctor or hospital? Where did you go?

No.

What have you been doing to recover? Are you home?

I have been quarantined in my apartment by myself. The only time I have left was to get tested and quick walks around the block with a mask on. Lots of rest and fluids!

What medications are you taking?

None {supplementing vitamin C for an immune boost}.

Are you still experiencing symptoms? How long have you been quarantining for?

I am on day 11 of quarantine and feeling pretty much back to normal! My taste and smell returned by days seven and eight.

Before you found out you were positive, did you go anywhere locally?

No, I hadn’t been to any stores recently. I went to work the day before I lost my smell/taste, but after that, I was totally quarantined.

What have doctors told you since you have to quarantine? Is there a timeline? Will you need to get tested again to leave your house?

I was told that symptoms usually resolve between days six to 10 and that you should continue to quarantine for at least three days after your symptoms are gone, for most people a 14-day quarantine is the safest. I do not believe I will have to get tested again.

Read More: ‘Today Marks My 33rd day in Self-Quarantine:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

How do you feel the government is handling the epidemic?

I feel that the government is doing a good job of keeping everyone informed. However, I fear that we were a little too late in implementing interventions which, we knew from other countries would become issues. Such as the need for PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds. I also find it frustrating that initially we were told not to wear masks and now we are told to wear them. I understand this is a new virus, however, we had the upper hand in knowing this was coming from China since December, and I feel like we could have been more prepared.

Do you have any advice for someone who thinks they’re positive?

Stay home! If you are able to quarantine, do it. If you are an essential worker, talk with your supervisor ASAP to find out the protocol, do not assume you can work through it. Even if you have mild symptoms, take all of the precautions because someone else may have a much more severe case. Also, if you are positive, don’t be afraid to ask for help and lean on family, friends and the community. Keep in touch with co-workers and friends because it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. And once you have fully recovered, consider donating plasma/blood to help others fighting COVID-19.

Is there anything else you can share to help ease our readers’ minds or inform them of at this scary time?

Open your windows at 7:00PM every night and listen to everyone cheering for the healthcare workers. Even if you don’t work in healthcare it’s a great reminder that we are all in this together and we will get through it together!

Do you have a COVID-19 experience to share? Email us at hello@hobokengirl.com.

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