Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Jeri Sharp was placed on a ventilator and survived a very deadly ARDS infection in 2016: 2020, she contracted a deadly COVID-19 infection.
Jeri Sharp, Houston, TX, age 63, stay at home mom and former community theatre volunteer and actress, (in Wichita Falls, Texas)
JERI'S COVID-19 STORY:
Home-Maker/Empty Nester: I was a hands-on stay at home mother. (I did not sit at home, watch soap operas, and eat Bon Bons). I was a homeroom mother and served on the PTA board in the schools for many years. I also volunteered as a Sunday School teacher, choir mom, band mom, scout mom, mentor to students, volunteered in the school office, and spent 20 years volunteering at our community theatre (Backdoor Theatre of Wichita Falls, TX). Our entire family was involved in theatre. I went from stage mom (behind the scenes) to actress where I actually won best supporting actress twice! I've been married to my husband, Larry Sharp, for 41 years. We met while working at Astroworld in 1975. We have 2 sons and a daughter in law. Adam is 38, his wife, Bethany, is 35, and our younger son, Oliver, is 34. We moved back to Houston 2 years ago to be closer to family. My dad lives just over a mile from us. My mother passed away in June of this year. (Her passing was not COVID related)
My COVID-19 symptoms began on Friday, October 2, 2020. I had a nagging headache, fever, and nausea. My physician husband became ill the previous weekend while working a weeklong shift at an out of town hospital. He stopped at a 24-hour emergency facility to get tested for Covid on his way home. His test was positive. He quarantined himself upstairs in a guest bedroom while I remained in our bedroom downstairs. His case was fairly light and gave him very little trouble. My symptoms began later that week.
I went to Premier Emergency Clinic on October 6, 2020, to get the rapid COVID-19 test. My COVID test was negative. My symptoms continued to worsen throughout the rest of the week. I returned to the same clinic 7 days later and asked to be retested. This time, I was positive. (I had just tested a bit too early the first time and that is why I had a negative test) My symptoms had worsened and now included vomiting along with nausea, chills, fever, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, and eye irritation.
I came home and went straight to bed. My husband was already on the road to recovery when I became ill. He remained upstairs to avoid catching my germs. He worked out of town for the following two weeks.. I remained home in bed the entire time. It was the longest, most miserable, and loneliest experience I had endured in the 4 years since my 2016 hospitalization. (I was hospitalized in March of 2016 with pneumonia followed by a swine flu diagnosis, sepsis, and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). I spent 13 days on a ventilator in ICU and was lucky to have survived. I feared I would end up on a ventilator again with the COVID infection.
I was fortunate to receive the support of my church family, they called, texted, sent cards, and brought food. Other family members ran errands and brought groceries. I was lonely, but all of their support and love helped me so much, and I am so grateful for all of them. My Covid symptoms lasted 5 weeks. As my condition worsened I developed an itchy, red, splotchy rash on my arms and legs. My taste buds were affected but my sense of smell remained. I was smelling odd things such as gasoline, plastic, and baked goods. I started experiencing hair loss towards the end of November. I wasn't surprised by the hair loss as it occurred following my ARDS recovery. I had also been alerted to this condition in one of my Facebook support groups. My high blood pressure is now higher than it was Pre-COVID.
At the writing of this story, December 3rd, 2020, I still suffer from other after-effects: worsening brain fog, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and I am more emotional. All of my after-effects that I feel are very similar to the fibromyalgia I've had for the past 30 years.
All in all, though, my COVID-19 experience wasn't as severe as my swine flu in 2016. But with that said, COVID-19 can still be very deadly to some people.
My advice to those who haven't had Covid is to take this illness seriously. It is highly contagious and can turn deadly. Use common sense to protect yourself. Wash your hands often, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.
Our son Oliver, me, Larry and our son Adam, pre-COVID
Larry surprised me with a 30th-anniversary vow renewal ceremony in Mexico.
He planned it all, including flying in our son's
from Minneapolis. (He planned it all!!)
Itchy COVID rash that was on my arms and legs
Me, home alone and sick during the quarantine. (I'm not too happy)
My theatre days before COVID-19 touched my life. So much fun!!
At home sick, but feeling loved... received beautiful flowers from my husband.
Larry and I in costume for the show "The Producers"
My dad, Harry, me and my mom, Sally. Christmas of 2019...
Mom was sick in this photo and sadly passed 6 months later.
We had no way of knowing during this happy moment
that tragedy would hit us hard in 2020.
Mom and me on her 80th birthday, I made her a memory book. (Mom said this was her favorite birthday party ever!! )