Sometimes life refuses to go according to plan. Having pulmonary hypertension (PH) and coexisting illnesses only adds to this. Not that we needed to throw our lives off-balance any more, but it happened. I now have COVID-19.
I’ve had symptoms for over a week. The challenge for me, and likely some of you, too, are that my PH symptoms tend to overlap some of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
I develop bronchitis several times a year, and I already had started my nebulizer treatments. Usually, my primary care provider will order a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia and then start me on a Z-pack. However, I couldn’t get in to see my primary care provider so my husband took me to the urgent care center to figure out what was going on.
The doctor said ‘that’ word
At the urgent care center, I updated the doctor about my PH diagnosis and the usual plan of care. Thankfully, he was patient and took the time to listen. After a chest X-ray, he diagnosed me with an upper respiratory infection. But he also insisted on swabbing me for COVID-19 because I’m in the high-risk group.
Next, I was off to rest at home with my Medrol dose pack and my Z-pack. I would be back to myself in no time, I thought. A few days later, I received the call: Yes, I am positive for COVID-19. Worse, my husband, Manny, was tested and has it, too.
Manny was at home when I received the call. When I got off the phone, he wondered how I could be so calm after hearing that my COVID-19 test was positive. I told him that everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, like when Ralphie swears in the classic movie “A Christmas Story.”
Never a dull moment
Someone peeping in our windows would be entertained.
Manny, who has always been my rock, is my caregiver on my down days. But with both of us down for the count with COVID-19, it has been a struggle.
It’s also been comical at times. We’ve had obstacles thrown at us during our entire marriage, so we’ll push through this, too.
Laughter is the best medicine. For example, our body temperatures have fluctuated enormously. The struggle happens when we are at opposite ends of the temperature spectrum at the same time. Don’t mind our five blankets, extra clothes, and fans scattered about the living room!
My PH care team wants me to recover at home as long as I can. So, I am tracking my temperature, oxygen level, and any rapid change in symptoms. Having oxygen already at home is helpful, too. We will continue to monitor our symptoms as we allow the virus to run its course.
What does it feel like?
Many people have asked me what it feels like to have COVID-19. For me, it’s like the worst case of the flu mixed with pneumonia. I struggle to take in deep breaths. Next, add in gastrointestinal symptoms. The joint and muscle aches are familiar to me, and I already had medications on hand for nausea and pain.
Struggling to breathe isn’t new, either. But when my lungs are on fire and extremely tight, it causes anxiety. It’s like someone has my heart and lungs in their hands and are gripping tightly as if in an arm-wrestling competition.
Aversion to food is something I am struggling with. I have had to force myself to eat several times. My husband bought me fresh juices and smoothies to help, as cold items are more palatable. Strangely, Manny’s appetite hasn’t changed and has been in full force.
Hydration is important, too. My sister dropped off a ton of Gatorade. Thank you!
To my readers, I hope you all stay well. Sadly, as this pandemic continues to rip through our homes and communities, please know that we will get through it.
Listen to your body
In the meantime, if COVID-19 hits your home, listen to your body. Let others around help you. People have showered us with an abundance of love, support, and prayer. We appreciate each of them. Drop-offs at the door have been tremendously appreciated, too. Be patient and kind to your body.
Together, we can PHight through this pandemic.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary.
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