"For two days prior to March 23..." - Integrative Family Medicine of Asheville

For two days prior to March 23 (the day I began a fever) I was not feeling well. I was fatigued, felt a sore throat approaching and my sinuses were running, but after all pollen season had begun so I didn’t think much about it. Om March 23 I woke up with a headache, body aches and a low-grade fever. My normal temperature runs around 97.2-98 degrees. I was at 98.4. I had had a flu shot and since I began that routine years ago, I’ve never broken out in a flu. This illness felt like something different. I called the doctors’ practice and my call was directed to a nurse vetting the COVID calls. I explained that I am 72 and have rheumatoid arthritis so I am in a high risk group and I was told my fever was not high enough to be tested by CDC profile standards. “Just go home and treat it like any other flu.” I went home and wrote to my PCP who answered that test kits were being saved for those hospitalized. When I broke out in symptoms there were only five declared cases in Buncombe County and none were hospitalized yet. So I stayed in contact with my physician daily over the health portal reporting symptoms and on day three when I reported that my fever has risen to 99.8 and I could no longer taste my food and I had a deep chest cough he said “Now you have all the classic symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop respiratory distress call 911 and tell them you have COVID-19.” My illness never got to that point and after a week the fever disappeared and I slowly improved but the cough lasted for five weeks and my taste buds came back but most everything tasted salty for a few weeks. I also developed a very bad immune RA flare up that lasted a long time, broke out in a rash on my back and after the disease ebbed, I realized how fatigued I had become. By now, June 19, I have recovered fully. I live alone and perhaps one of the worst parts of the disease was the psychological component of extreme isolation. I know I am lucky to have had a light case of the disease, but although some activities and parts of Asheville are available to us now, with the spike in cases, I rarely leave my home except for necessary errands and always wear gloves and a mask. I do not want to be reinfected. I may not be so lucky next time.

-Submitted anonymously on June 19, 2020