My experience battling COVID-19, a 14-day journey

"The results of your recent analyzes show that you are a carrier of the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) coronavirus. Stay at home and take all precautions to safeguard those around you."

It is from this message that I learned with surprise, on Saturday, June 6th, that I have been diagnosed with Covid-19. My journey started five days earlier, Monday, June 1st. I woke up with a headache and nausea. I'm used to migraine attacks, so I didn't worry. Head to my doctor, the first step in a long process that is not constantly clear or obvious.

Complicated diagnosis

Monday, at 3 p.m., I go to my doctor's office. It is crowded. For my part, I feel the symptoms accumulate: fever, dizziness, fatigue. 7:15 p.m., my turn finally arrives. I describe my symptoms to the doctor. None seem to mention the coronavirus to him. She cuts quickly: migraine. She's not taking my temperature.

A failure of the general practitioner according to the WHO that I contacted subsequently: "The symptoms have evolved since the start of the pandemic. Today, only one symptom suggestive, such as headache or fever, is sufficient to get tested. 

The virus is not always easily detected. Several people are reportedly asymptomatic. The solution to catch the virus is organized screening ", explains my doctor. She additionally recalls that there is no need for a medical prescription to get tested.

The doctor prescribes me anti-inflammatories which I decline. Later that evening, my symptoms intensify. The next day, I go get a second opinion from another doctor. I have a fever. My mother is diabetic and hypertensive. The doctor ultimately orders me a test and eliminates the anti-inflammatory medications from my prescription. My advice after the fact: if you have any doubts or are in contact with people at risk, it is best to get tested quickly, without a prescription. You should also avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs that can worsen the symptoms.

Saturated labs

Wednesday morning, I call the medical analysis laboratories. "I can offer you an appointment for next Monday, not before," a biologist tells me. Amid a massive screening campaign, laboratories saturate. I end up finding one who receives me in the morning. Once the test is over, I am told to come and collect my results the next day.

According to the WHO, traveling to collect results "is a bad idea". "You have to stay isolated no matter what." Finally, you will receive the results 3 days later, the biologists are overwhelmed. 

After receiving the results, I get a call from a doctor from the lab. He takes the time to question me about each of my symptoms, tells me the steps to follow. Still, under the shock of my diagnosis, this interview reassures me. He quickly sends me sick leave, thus facilitating my administrative procedures. This interview is an opportunity to ask all the questions we may have about the disease. The doctor is there to answer them.

Day-to-day struggles

Drug delivery can also be facilitated by this solitary confinement support cell. For my part, my pharmacy kindly offered to deliver it to my home as soon as the pharmacy closes. It's the kind of reflex to have: contact your neighborhood pharmacy to see if they offer solutions.

In theory, the patient should remain completely isolated. In practice, it is the isolation that poses the problem. "If you live alone, ask your relatives (family, friends, neighbors) to deliver medicines, groceries or meals," says the Health Insurance website. None of my relatives live nearby, it is impossible for me to do my shopping, or to withdraw money to mandate a neighbor. I feel pretty abandoned.

Here again, the isolation support telephone platform offers solutions, such as the delivery of groceries or meals. Bad luck for me, I was never made aware of the existence of this aid. The cell also offers psychological support to better cope with his isolation.

At the end of the second week of isolation, I had to take a PCR test again which turned out negative. I tell myself today that the information that I missed would have been more than useful to face this period as stressful as it is unpleasant.

I am now recovered after more than 12 days of fairly intense illness, so here is an account of my condition, day by day, in the face of this famous coronavirus.

My daily symptoms 

Day 1: On June 1st, I saw the onset of my first mild symptoms. A small cough with a little fever at night.

Day 2: Body aches, headaches, fever, mild cough, fatigue.

Day 3: Loss of smell, body aches, and headaches, but I slept all morning and woke up feeling better. I went for my screening test.

Day 4: Loss of appetite since most of the taste is gone with the smell, body aches, headaches, I slept over 18 hours a day with over 39 fever.

Day 5: Public health call to give me the result of my test: positive.

Day 6-7: Same as day 4 and 5, I woke up at night because I had a fever and I had to take Tylenol every 4 hours in order to decrease it.

Day 8: All of the symptoms from Day 4 and I was now short of breath with still a lot of fever. Public health follow-up call to find out about my symptoms and make sure everything was okay.

Day 9: This day was the worst of all; fever, still no smell, no appetite, body aches, dizziness, heavy coughing fits, severe fatigue, very shortness of breath but no chest pain.

Day 10-11: All symptoms from day 9 and still slept over 18 hours a day.

Day 12: First day without fever on waking (FINALLY) but still very tired and a cough.

Day 13: Second day without fever, a little more energy but still a little cough.

Day 14: Public health reminded me; I confirmed to them that I hadn't had a fever for 2 days, that I had regained some of my energy, but still had a little cough. 

Since I had no fever for 2 days, they confirmed to me that I was considered to be cured and that my mandatory full isolation was now lifted. I would be allowed to go to the grocery store, but since my girlfriend has been in isolation for 14 days since my symptoms ended, we will continue to have her delivered for now. I have also been told that the cough can last 4 to 6 weeks after the rest of the symptoms are gone, but that I am no longer contagious.

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