My name in the number

Wanda Clay

It’s hard to believe I was tested positive for the coronavirus during the first month of the declared pandemic. While I believe that there were many people who had Covid-19 prior to the country’s March ‘stay at home’ orders, I never thought I would be in the number.

At the end of March, I became severely fatigued. I slept all day. I slept uncomfortably all night. I did not eat very much, because I did not have an appetite. I felt that I was grieving because it was the month my mother, Geraldine Heath, had passed away in 2018.

During that time, our church was exploring an alternative to holding church services through Zoom. That became the only thing that encouraged me to ‘get up.’ I would participate in online meetings and services and immediately lie down. I was self-quarantined in my room, as I didn’t think of it as a quarantine. I didn’t walk into my kitchen for over two weeks straight. Again, I never thought of having Covid-19.

Living with two of my sons, I would request orange juice, water and soup; they accommodated me with that nourishment. It can also be noted that they never showed any symptoms of this virus. I’ve never been really big on taking medication, so I only took two packs of Alka Seltzer tablets. It was the only medication I had in the house. Although I did not have a thermometer, I could tell I was feverish during the night.

Following three weeks of this sluggish fatigue, I began to try and ‘feel better.’ I decided I would call a church member to inquire about the daily coronavirus briefings stating that testing locations would be opening. I was instructed to go immediately to the Metro General hospital where I was given a Covid-19 test outside without leaving my car. Although I was finally feeling better, I received a call three days later. The doctor said: “You tested positive for Covid-19”. I was instructed to remain in quarantine and await a call from the health department. They called with questions regarding my health and the people I had been in contact with. I had not left my home at all, but my two sons were instructed to quarantine also. I did not receive any medication. I was instructed to take my temperature every day for five days, which never spiked again. After seven days, they called again for an update. I continued to feel better with little fatigue, but the health department called everyday for eight days straight until I was able to say that my activity was normal without feeling fatigued. I was then told that after three consecutive days feeling that way I would be considered ‘recovered’ from Covid-19.

I did not have a severe case, yet I was very sick at home and the ordeal lasted for approximately two months. I did recall an unusual ‘out of nowhere’ dry cough for only two days. Because I received the positive report, I felt a sense of shame that I did not take better care in keeping my hands clean, securing my movements and the like. Yet it was not my fault and very difficult to trace back to the days before feeling bad. My main symptom was the extreme fatigue that lasted much longer than the cough and fever—along with a lack of appetite.

Currently, I continue to take precautions by washing my hands, wearing a mask and watching my distance to others in public spaces. I encourage others to do the same.

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