Home COVID-19 ‘It Felt Like Someone Had Locked Up My Lungs:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

‘It Felt Like Someone Had Locked Up My Lungs:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

by Arielle Witter
Attain Medspa
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Although things throughout the state are slowly starting to reopen, that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 has gone anywhere. In fact, the very real reality is that patients of COVID-19 are still aplenty. That being said, there are still many questions surrounding the virus and its effects on the body — what the symptoms are like, what the test is like, and more. One anonymous local resident is offering some insight into that, as they are a COVID-19 patient — this is their story.

covid 19 patient shares story hoboken jersey city

Where do you live?


What do you do for work?

I’m a marketer.

When did you first feel symptoms?

April 8th.

What were they? How severe/mild were they?

I had a low-grade fever and light-headedness — and I was still hopeful that this was the extent of it, but by the fourth day, it felt like someone had locked up my lungs. There was a cage around my chest and no matter what I tried, I could not breathe deeply.

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I made an appointment at the local CityMD and got a chest X-ray. They confirmed I had COVID-induced pneumonia. I managed to borrow an oximeter from friends which showed that my oxygen levels were dropping every day. Finally, when it was dipping under 90, I video chatted with my GP and decided to go into the hospital.

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

Once admitted to the hospital, they took the test.

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Read More: A Local COVID-19 Patient Shares Her Family’s Story

How do you think you contracted COVID19?

We don’t know how we got it as we didn’t leave the house for three weeks — when we last picked up our kids from daycare. We were isolated with no human contact. We wiped down every single FreshDirect item and threw out Amazon delivery boxes and packaging at the stoop. We are a particular family, who generally err on the side of overly cautious.

As we look back, there were very few possibilities — my husband touched something outside and accidentally touched his face or a delivery person coughed in our building vestibule right before we picked up boxes — but nothing we can point to and say that was the reason it happened.

When did you test positive? How long did it take to get results?

Within the hour, the nurse at the hospital came back and confirmed I had COVID.

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

My GP is part of NYU Langone hospital system, so that’s where I went. I had my own private room in the new wing — it was on the COVID-converted children’s floor. Like the room, many of the nurses and doctors who watched over me were from different specialty areas. I was getting oxygen through tubes in my nose but still not able to breathe comfortably on my own. I had coughing spells so bad it took me several minutes to regain my composure. My stomach was off the whole time from either the COVID, the medication, or both. I lost 15 pounds in only a few days. I forced myself to eat. The healthcare professionals who took care of me motivated me to stay positive — they opened my curtains every morning, taught me critical breathing exercises, and made me smile even when I felt terrible.

Finally, the fever broke a few days later, and I was able to breathe more and more without high levels of oxygen support. I was discharged after being there for almost a week. I thought it was over and was so thankful to be home with my family.

A few days after I got home, I had pain in my left lung. My doctor was concerned that I had a pulmonary embolism so he sent me back to the ER. After blood tests, x-rays, and a CAT scan, I was sent home the same day. They said the pain was caused by the inflammation due to the COVID still in my lungs.

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

It wasn’t until the four-week mark that I was able to move around easier without being exhausted or feeling my heart race. At five weeks, I was better and had good days but some days I was completely wiped out. Having a racing heart, random pains in your legs, head, nerve pain, random rashes, and not understanding what they are is very scary considering the latest information around the association of COVID with heart attacks, clots, and strokes. The question that always lingers is — do I go to the hospital or is this part of it all?

Every day articles come out with more studies on the serious impacts of COVID, but you try to stay positive. You avoid the media, articles, social media — or at least try to — because the only topic the world can talk about is COVID. On social media, even the support groups are filled with sad stories of those who didn’t make it. Your recovery becomes a mental game as much as — if not more — than a physical one. Being sick for so long when you are young-ish and healthy… and not getting better faster than you are used to is truly frightening.

What medications are you taking?

At the hospital, I took four medications — Zithromax {antibiotics}, Lovenox {blood thinner}, Hydroxychloroquine, and zinc. The truth is there is no proven medication against the virus.

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

No symptoms except I cannot smell very well still. I quarantined for three weeks after.

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


See More: I Suddenly Lost My Sense of Smell and Taste:’ A Local COVID-19 Patient Shares Her Story

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 spoke to my GP every week, sometimes twice a week on bad pain weeks. There is only so much even a great doctor can diagnose over a video call and with limited medical data. Doctors often don’t fully understand the symptoms either. The long lingering aches and pains of COVID can be diagnosed as anxiety and trauma.

They say it comes back if you don’t take the time to recover. For the pneumonia, it takes a minimum of six weeks to fully recover. How do you know you have recovered? There is no protocol for a recovery follow-up except getting retested but what if you have clots or heart damage? The hospitals are so jammed with reactive, fresh, and serious cases, that they are unable to support these longer recovery paths.

Also, the truth is — no one knows the long-term impacts of this on adults and kids.

I’m over eight weeks and finally feeling more like myself. I’ve lost over 20 pounds in a matter of weeks but I’m stronger physically and more importantly, mentally.

How do you feel the government is handling the epidemic?

Terribly. So many more lives were lost as a result of their poor handling of the situation.

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

Buy an oximeter — check your oxygen and heart rate regularly. if your oxygen goes under 90, go to the hospital immediately.

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

Please keep in mind that kids can be impacted by COVID twice. The first is the initial reaction to the virus and the second is their delayed immune response to it four to six weeks later.

Have a COVID-19 story you’d like to share with us? Email us at [email protected]!


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