Laurie and Curtis Ahonen found each other and married, in September of 2013, after both of their spouses, passed away from cancer. Together, they are now battling COVID-19.
Curtis and Laurie Ahonen, ages 73 and 64 (retired Safety Manager and retired Nurse), Cadiz, Kentucky
LAURIE AND CURTIS'S COVID-19 STORY:
Laurie: My initial symptoms of COVID-19, started as a dry cough the evening of Oct 14th. The cough persisted through the night. I went to the couch, to keep from bothering my husband. By 4:30 am I was convinced I had the Coronavirus as I was beginning to get a stabbing headache that no medicine would relieve.
My husband, Curtis and I both went to a drive-thru clinic on the 15th and were told that we were both positive for COVID-19 (his symptoms were much milder Thank God)
By day 3, the cough started causing ALOT of pain but I was told to just treat the symptoms with OTC meds (cough meds, Tylenol, no NSAIDs tho) My headache was so bad and Tylenol wasn't doing anything for it so I did some of my own research and found out NSAIDs could be taken (there was some conflicting info in the very beginning of the pandemic outbreak, but most updated info said they were ok to take)
Since the virus was also known to also cause clots and Excedrin migraine was the only thing that usually helped my headaches, I started using Excedrin migraine for 2 reasons: 1. To decrease the risk of blood clots (because of the Aspirin in it) and 2. To get some relief from my horrible headache.
That did the trick. My head pain was controlled as long as I took the Excedrin migraine at least 3 times/day. Although I got some relief from the head-pain, I could not get the cough under control.
On October 19th, I felt so bad that I asked my provider if there was a miracle med that I could take and I mentioned Hydroxychloroquine. (Since CDC didn't recommend it, she didn't give it to me). I was given the name of another cough syrup.
On October 20th, I began having stabbing pains every time I coughed and was told to go to the ER.
The chest X-ray was clear, so they just sent me home with Tessalon Pearls. That did not help at all.
By October 22nd, I barely made it to the kitchen table because I felt so bad. I had waited too long to take the Excedrin migraine and I hurt all over (the highest my temp ever got was 100.8)
I put my head down for a brief moment, and when I lifted my head up, I had color vision in my left eye but absolute darkness in my right eye. (Totally blind) I closed both my eyes again and when I opened them my vision returned in both eyes. (That was completely terrifying) I sat there a few minutes testing my vision and it never happened again. I started to go back to bed with hopes to feel better after the Excedrin migraine medicine kicked in.
After a while, I got up slowly, as I had been dealing with dizziness, but I just thought it was the weakness they talk about that comes with a COVID-19 infection. I took a few steps and fell out into the dog pen. I came to, right away and my husband came and took my BP and pulse. At that point, I had been lying there a few minutes and my BP and pulse were ok. (I never thought of the possibility that I could be having low oxygen levels or that I should purchase a pulse-oximeter) We immediately called my provider, who ended up ordering a prednisone pack, Zpack, and cough syrup with codeine (as that awful pain had my entire body trembling and strange painful noises would come out that I had no control over) She also ordered an anti-nausea med as I felt nauseous for several days and had little appetite. On October 26th, the coughing pain went away, but the dizziness was always there when I stood or walked.
The next day, I purchased and decided to try out my new pulse oximeter. Thank goodness that I did, as lo and behold my oxygen was 83 and pulse 127. I went to the ER and on this visit they kept me a week and my X-rays showed pneumonia in my lungs.
Not to scare anyone, but there's a harsh reality that I am dealing with as a result of COVID-19. I had no underlying conditions and between the COVID pneumonia and now some cardiac issues that are a direct result of the virus, I have gone from bowling twice/week, playing pickleball at least once/week, walking the dogs daily (up a huge hill no less, etc.) to not being able to walk a flat surface more than a few minutes without my oxygen dropping and my pulse racing. Damage from Covid is real even with people who didn't have an underlying health problem previously. (I am telling you this as many believe that COVID-19 only affect those with underlying issues and it's just not true) I can't imagine the ones who do have lung or cardiac problems and also have the Coronavirus on top of those health issues.
My biggest advice for anyone is to be sure to have a pulse oximeter at your home. It was this little device that alerted me that my oxygen was dropping when I was upright & that was why I was feeling dizzy. (it levels out when sitting or lying) I am awaiting several cardiac tests on Nov 30th. In the meantime, I do a lot of sitting and monitoring every time I get up so I can sit back down when things go wacky.
I had no idea this could happen to someone without underlying health problems. I am definitely a believer in how wicked COVID can be. (not for everyone Thank God, but take whatever precautions you can to avoid finding out if you will be one of the unlucky ones) & MONITOR yourself as many Drs don't always let you know or take seriously the COVID dizzy symptoms. (during or post COVID) you have to look out for yourself)
My husband, Curtis, had a milder version of COVID, however on Oct 19th, he woke up and said he felt a little short of breath (didn't feel that previously) Since that isn't something you take chances on with this virus, I drove him to the Nashville, VA (1.5-hour drive away) Since we both were sick with the virus,
I couldn't exactly ask someone else to do it (and we felt it wasn't serious enough, at the point that he was at, that we needed to call an ambulance) I was feeling especially bad that night myself but I said a prayer to watch over our travel and we got there safely.
They admitted him overnight to have IV fluids, as they felt that he was just dehydrated causing this shortness of breath (Thank God, but also nothing to ignore) I managed to get home and went directly to bed. I picked him up the next day (20th) but luckily he could drive home as I was again feeling bad.
That evening I ended up going to the ER for the stabbing pains in my chest whenever I coughed.
At the writing of this story, November 28th, 2020, we are blessed to say that Curt doesn’t have any residual COVID issues, but I am still having cardiac issues and upcoming tests this Monday (November 30th) We are praying we can figure out what's going on and praying there is a fix to get back to normal.
(I want to bowl again, play pickleball again, take my dogs for a simple walk again, even do housework again and cook) I still can't be upright longer than a few minutes without the oxygen dropping and pulse racing and tight persistent cough returning.
I am so tired of hearing: "That's just Covid", It may have started with COVID-19, but people have died because of the damage COVID has done to their body. (Many, who had perfectly healthy bodies, before they were touched by COVID-19) MONITOR MONITOR MONITOR & REPORT REPORT REPORT. I have a pulse oximeter that links to my phone and will record readings. It will give the lowest, highest, and avg oxygen and pulse readings. Cost $35 on Amazon. (Wellue)
I don't like the body the virus left me with. I don't like it one bit.
Curt and me, enjoying life PRE-COVID-19
Happy moments before we were touched by the Coronavirus
At least we have each other .... we are blessed!!