‘COVID is brutal’ — a survivor’s tale

  • Sun Sep 6th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Charlotte doesn’t remember much of March. She doesn’t even remember getting the positive COVID-19 test. She remembers thinking maybe she was having allergies in the beginning of March, but by the end of that week she “got really sick really fast.” Charlotte’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

When Charlotte started having trouble breathing, she was taken by ambulance to Swedish Hospital and put in isolation. When she arrived at the hospital, her breathing was so bad that she couldn’t even blow out a candle.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include things like body aches, fever and chills.

Charlotte lives in King County. She’s in her early 40s and has no underlying health conditions. Since she wasn’t considered to be at high risk for getting seriously ill with COVID-19, she wasn’t too concerned about getting it. That all changed quickly.

Shortly after Charlotte got sick, her husband and both her kids also got COVID-19. Like most people, her husband and kids had mild illness and recovered just fine in about two weeks. Mild illness can be pretty miserable though. Charlotte’s husband had a high fever and severe body aches which had him in bed for almost a week.

Along with her breathing troubles, Charlotte had a low-grade fever, diarrhea, lost her sense of taste and smell, and had body aches that she described as much, much worse than those you might get with the flu. Her recovery has had ups and downs, but the most severe symptoms lingered about a month. Months later, she is better and working again, but still recovering. Even now, she finds herself completely exhausted by the end of her workday.

Charlotte gets very frustrated when people minimize the effects of COVID-19 and say things like, “It’s just like the flu.” She told us, “COVID is brutal. It is definitely something you don’t want to get.” The long, slow recovery has been “for a healthy person… far more than I ever anticipated.”

Charlotte’s experience with COVID-19 has changed her perspective on life: “We just don’t know what life has to bring and I want to live life to the fullest while I can.”

Practice compassion. Even if you are not in a high-risk category, you could still get very sick from COVID-19. And mild illness is no fun either! Protect yourself and your loved ones. Keep your gatherings small, infrequent, and outside. Cover your face when you are in public.