Updated: Jul 13
A COVID-LONG-HAULER ... 78 DAYS AND COUNTING..
Anne Schneider, 44, Labor and Delivery Nurse (Phoenix, Arizona)
My timeline of events: (I believe that I contracted Covid-19 from a patient)
6/9 first day of symptoms - Had diarrhea approximately 4-5 times, otherwise felt fine not entirely unusual for me as when Covid-19 hit, we stopped the Keto diet due to the stores really only having comfort food left; the change in diet would cause stomach issues. (I never thought it was related to Covid, until days later)
6/11 Random fever discovered when I went to donate blood 100.0 then 100.4, felt fine, I passed two forehead screeners before an oral temperature read high.
6/12 Tested for Covid-19, due to the fever ; tested negative and still felt fine!
6/15 Started to feel allergy symptoms late afternoon: Headache, congestion, sneezing.
6/16 Little by little feeling worse, my anxiety was high.
6/17 Tested again, woke up feeling sick. Tight chest, bad headache, nasal congestion (took Sudafed without relief). Achy and joint pain. Decreased appetite. Noticed my respiratory rate increased, when trying to sleep on my side.
6/18 Woke up with my chest burning, headache a little better, congestion remained. Got results, POSITIVE COVID TEST. More diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea. Mottled skin on my legs when I get up to use the bathroom, resolves when I get back to bed. I notified my primary care physician, but initially I was just treating symptoms at home.
6/19 OMG, the body aches have kicked in. It hurts to walk and hurts to wipe when I go to the bathroom. Headache is still here, congestion, nausea, no appetite. No fever. Slept OK.
6/20 Very congested. Slept awful last night. Sleeping on my tummy proved very difficult. But for a brief moment it allowed my head to drain, so I could breathe through my nose! So that was nice. It has currently gone back to completely clogged on the right again. My back is killing me. Still painful to walk. Activities: walking to the bathroom/brushing teeth/ washing face, all are exhausting and make me short of breath.
6/21 Day 13 Another difficult night sleeping. My temps have all been around 99.5 and today was 98.9. Less joint pain so far than yesterday but I haven’t been up long. My bum ankle was particularly painful, enough to wake me several times and had me thinking I was post op another ankle surgery. But I’m hopeful. My throat is very red and choking on drainage is a new thing. Maybe my head will finally drain. My stomach is a little crampy and I don’t feel like eating yet. Congestion remains. Shorter of breath this morning, doing my morning routine of potty/teeth/face. 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!
6/22 I was up from 2:30 to 5:00 with awful abdominal pain. I had a moment of hunger around 11:00 pm and probably ate more than I should, so I paid for it. Head is pounding, pulse ox is good and temp is 99.4. Lower back pain and flank pain remain. Some weird upper L quadrant pain, but not awful. Congestion persists.
6/23 Yesterday showed promise, but today has squashed that. I’m nauseated, more diarrhea, headache, short of breath, congested, body aches. Temp 99.1, heart-rate all over the place depending on activity level. Oxygen levels were 88 when I first woke up but got up to 96. Left lower lung sounds hard to hear. Right sounds good. Shocked they are clear. Cough more persistent today. Hot flashes, but no fever. Called my primary care doctor who prescribed me a z -pack and a 10 day course of 60 mg of prednisone, to help with the symptoms.
6/24 Just woke up for the second time. I was up from 7:30 to 9:30 and was so tired I went back to bed. Had a horrible headache, congestion, fatigue, aches. O2 was 96, when I woke so that was good, temp 99.5. I had a scary moment last night when I felt really off. Hot flashes, anxiety, very short of breath, and I felt like my legs were two different colors. It was the first time I felt like I may need to go to the ER. My left lower lung bases were very hard for me to hear air movement, so I’m hoping the antibiotics and steroids were started in time to prevent a bad pneumonia. I was shocked to hear how clear my lungs were otherwise!
6/25 Day 17 Just waking up....I’m slowly turning into a vampire. I slept better and it was easier to fall asleep last night. I woke up early and took my medicine and went back to sleep. Woke up with another nasty headache and a burning sensation in my nose and throat. Respiratory rate felt fast when I woke up and my O2 was 90-92, temp 98.8, heart-rate 50; my athletic norm (sarcasm). More diarrhea. Headache is terrible, progressively got worse throughout the day.
6/26 Horrible night sleeping. Probably fell asleep around 4:00 a.m.. Headache improved but never gone. Burning in my nose and face along the left side. Congestion remains, Headache, slight cough. Body aches aren’t as bad. 02 was low when I woke up but came up quickly with some deep breathing. Heart-rate 48, Oxygen levels, 86% but up to 97% quickly temp 98.3!
6/27 Day 19 It’s like every day it’s some new thing. I’m currently struggling with a bad headache and a burning sensation through the left side of my face. I think my lungs are improving because I hit a new high score on my IS! But my O2 level still drops, still coughing, still diarrhea, still hardly any appetite. Body aches are better but still present. Temp still runs around 99.5, fatigue, congestion, headache, stomachache, diarrhea, generalized pain, sneezing, cough, short of breath. O2 level was 95 when I woke up and finally checked, but I tried my hardest to go back to sleep, so I was up for a bit.
Had a mental breakdown last night over not being able to sleep and being locked away. I went out to the driveway, sat down and cried. The fresh air felt amazing and my husband of 13 years, Rob, stood what felt like 1 million miles away, but we chatted outside with masks on, and I felt better. I still wasn’t able to sleep but I got those emotions out.
6/28 Day 20 Worst night's sleep. Up until 4:00 am wide awake. Woke up congested, tired, increase in coughing today, chest feels tight and burns some. Lower back pain. Headache improved and I ate some today. Lower numbers on incentive spirometer (IS). Stomach is OK. O2 levels are 95-98 temp 99.1, goal is drinking and incentive spirometer, today. Getting some mucus out of my nose. Some tingles in hands and feet. Will try and walk around some. Don’t like it. Diarrhea is back. Lots of post nasal drip.
6/29 Day 21 Just waking up, slept better but not great. (I have started to not fall asleep until 6 a.m. and sometimes sleep until 2 p.m.) I kept waking up hearing things. Like my daughter crying, but she wasn't crying. I think I was delirious. People knocking on my door and smelling smoke. Tried to eat something but appetite was gone. Very congested and my head hurts. Had sharp abdominal pain last night too. Thankfully that resolved. O2 was 98, temp 99.0. More coughing today. Skin is peeling on my arm.
6/30 Having a lot more coughing and chest tightness today. Last night I felt like my heartbeat was really irregular and with the tight chest, it was hard to sleep. I am able to keep O2 above 90, except when I sleep. So much coughing today.
7/1 It was another difficult night sleeping. Slept prone and felt like fluid was pouring out of my lungs and I was choking. That sensation is gone thankfully! Lots of congestion, headache and pain so far. Heard more helicopters last night....hope they were real. My bones hurt today; past just muscle pain, to feeling like my skeleton hurts. Temp is only 99.0 and O2 is 94-95 late evening; I keep smelling smoke. Rob assures me it’s not there. Coughing isn’t gone but better with the albuterol. O2 is 94-95, but comes up with albuterol and deep breathing.
7/2 Day 24 -Woke up very sweaty but no fever, so that’s good. However, I didn’t go to bed until 9:00 a.m.; I cough the instant I lay down. I used my inhaler before attempting sleep again at 9:00 a.m., and still coughed, but was able to sleep. Thank goodness. Woke with a bad headache and some joint pain. Before going to sleep I actually felt pretty good. I may be turning a corner finally. I still definitely need the albuterol every 4 hours, if not more frequently, but it does help.
7/3 Took Benadryl last night after trying for over an hour to sleep. Then I panicked and made Rob check on me while I slept. But all was good. O2 was fine when he checked me, low when I woke up, but came right up. Normal temperature but congestion remains and I’m tired, back hurts but otherwise so far OK. Spontaneous bloody nose. Didn’t last long before it clotted off. Makes me wonder what my clotting numbers are. My temp was 99.6, which I know isn’t technically a fever, but it feels like it to me. My body hurts. Frequent BM ribbon like stool, dark green color. Lymph nodes are tender along jaw line and while putting deodorant on. Extremely tired today. Abdominal pain and back pain all day.
7/4 I’m very stuffy, body hurts, lots of drainage, plugged ears, headache 99.2, O2 97%. Ate some banana bread and my stomach is a little upset from it now. I went outside for a little bit because Rob and the kids were swimming. My heart rate goes to 120 just walking back to my room. More diarrhea.
7/5 Day 27 Rough night sleeping, due to pain, despite talking Benadryl and an Oxycodone recommended by PCP. Oxycodone took edge off of pain, but it still woke me up multiple times. Lungs feeling better. Only used inhaler once yesterday that I remember. Head remains congested, back pain this morning. Temp was normal when I woke up. More diarrhea. Started probiotics. Nausea. Temp 99+ ,despite 1 gram of Tylenol. Pain persists. Dizzy and weak.
7/6 Horrible night sleep again. Yesterday was rough. Still having stomach pain, headaches, nausea, fever and pain. Temp 100.2, joint pain, congestion, tight chest but not awful; albuterol helps. I feel like I’m radiating heat. Weak and tired. Eyes burning- some drainage.
7/7 Went to the ER today to be evaluated. A COVID doctor friend thought it was best since this has been going on so long. They did all kinds of stuff CT, EKG, X-ray and labs. Was glad to hear I had no pulmonary embolism or other infection, so that made me feel better. But, no real information either. Eyes burning and draining.
7/8 Body aches, stomach pain, temp 99.8 ,O2 96, trouble sleeping, felt weird vibration sensation while trying to sleep. Some weird tingles too and trouble finding words and spelling things when texting.
7/9 Day 31 Cough is back, headache, congestion, drainage, temp 99.1 ,O2 ,96. I’ve noticed over the last few days pain in groin, armpits, along my jawline; I don’t feel swollen lymph nodes, but the pain is there. Temp 99.9 mid-day.
7/10 Day 32 Woke up very congested. Stomach and back pain. Felt off and checked O2, it was 90 and then dropped to 89, and then it slowly came up again. Was 95-96% most times I spot checked it throughout the day. I can hear air moving in my left lower lung again. Overall pain was awful today. Took Oxycodone for some relief. Couldn’t get to sleep until 5:00 a.m. Heard more helicopters that were not there. Twitching in my lower left lip and chin.