HYRUM – A 40-year old Hyrum woman Sunday was encouraged by friends to step forward and tell the story of her last seven days in the event it might help others who may be dealing with the Coronavirus.
Last Tuesday morning, March 17, she woke up “feeling extra tired.” The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, attributed her malaise to studying all weekend for an important school finals test and to the fear surrounding COVID-19.
She went to work early that day to make preparations to work from home while her children were out of school. Driving home she started to feel “shivery” and she started to cough.
After a nap she awoke feeling a bit warm and checked her temperature, which registered at 99.6 degrees.
“Nothing too scary,” she said, “but my chest felt tight and taking a deep breath was uncomfortable.”
She called her doctor and was transferred to a COVID-19 triage nurse. After explaining her symptoms, and that she had no underlying health problems, no travel history and no identifiable contact with an infected person, the nurse told her she did not qualify for testing, but to please call back if her temperature went above 100.4.
Waking up Wednesday morning with a temperature of 100.6 and chest tightness she expected she would now qualify for testing. She called the doctor’s office again but still did not qualify.
“She finally told me the only way I would qualify is if my symptoms became extreme enough that I went to the ER.”
Late Wednesday, she described herself as very ill and feeling completely helpless and Thursday her communication turned to texts when talking became difficult.
By Friday night, walking around caused difficulty breathing. She was using an oximeter (clipped to a finger to check oxygen levels) and those levels were falling below normal for periods of time.
Saturday she couldn’t speak without coughing and was gasping for air.
She said she is frustrated at not being tested.
“I am sharing this to help people understand the reality of our current situation. I’m not attacking the health care system. I understand there’s a shortage of tests and that they should be saved for high risk. They are doing the best they can.
“Please don’t suggest I ‘just go to the ER.’ I refuse to waste health professionals’ valuable time unless I actually need it.”
She admitted an important factor in not getting tested is her inability to identify her contact with an infected person.
“I work with college students, many of whom traveled the first week of March. It makes sense that is probably where I was exposed.”