I was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 25th, 2020.
I started having symptoms on March 15th and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what I had. As a disabled person, I know what sick feels like but this was not like anything I had before.
They had already shut down the office, they started shutting down New York City, which is where I live. And everybody’s like “COVID COVID COVID” (though we were still calling it Coronavirus then).
I will never forget I went out Saturday night just before they were going to close down restaurants. It was like the last hurrah. I went out with a few of my friends and we had all agreed to sit outside. And in New York City, it was still cold, but we were hearing so much about the virus that we wanted to play it safe and stay outdoors.
Then about two days later, I had the sniffles. I just felt like I had a head cold at first, but it was odd because I wasn’t sneezing and I didn’t have a runny nose. I just felt congested. Three days after that (now Friday) I lost my sense of taste and smell.
And then by Saturday night I started to wheeze a little bit. But I still didn’t really know what was happening. Some of my friends were like ‘maybe you have that Coronavirus’. I was like now way. I mean, where would I get Coronavirus from – working from home? I’m not in crowds.
You never think that it could happen to you.
Finally on Sunday (nearly a week of being sick), I went to go get a test CityMD two blocks away from my apartment. And they would not test me because I didn’t match symptoms that the CDC had out at that time. So they refused to test me for Coronavirus. And then every day my symptoms got worse. I went back to the doctor, my symptoms still didn’t match, and they, again, refused to test me.
Finally, it got to the point where I couldn’t breathe.
That Tuesday, and I called my regular doctor and I just said to him ‘I think I have whatever is going around, I’m not really sure what to do, I’ve gone to the CityMD twice, they won’t test me – do you have any tests?’ and he said ‘I currently don’t have any tests, but I’m supposed to get 50 tests on Wednesday, so come in early or I cannot promise you that you’re going to get tested.’. He was not joking.
I got there at eight o’clock in the morning. The one flight of stairs (which I have taken a million times before) had me to the point where I thought I would pass out. I remember going to grab the desk, holding onto one crutch, and going completely pale. The nurse looked at me and asked ‘are you okay?’ and I was like ‘I really cannot breathe’.
Thankfully, they administered a COVID test.
We, of course, also tested for strep and the flu – both of which came back negative. But it took three days to get the COVID test back. So now I was 10 or 11 days into symptoms. Finally on March 25th, I was officially diagnosed with COVID. I finally had the popular disease, the virus was the #1 topic, on the news, in homes and on social media.
This all happened in the height of it.
They sent me home immediately, told me not to open my door, not to do anything. This was a REAL quarantine. You don’t leave your house, people don’t come near you, you must stay six feet apart. If you need something delivered, make sure that you have a Clorox wipe to clean it off with first. It was so intense.
The more than 10 weeks the virus stayed in my body was draining. I probably had a constant headache for five months that would never go away.
But I will always look back at this time and reflect on my learnings. I know that I can 100% rely on myself for whatever I’m against and that NYC is a city of hope. WE MADE IT THROUGH!!
While I made it through, my heart goes out to all loved ones who didn’t make it.
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