Tara’s Story (COVID-19)

I tested positive for COVID-19 on August 10. 2020. My first symptom was just a slight tightness in my chest. I used my inhaler thinking it was asthma-related. Within 12 hours or so I had body aches. I had been whitewater rafting the day before in 50-degree water so I thought maybe I was sore from the rafting and that being in the cold had made me feel bad. After about a five-hour drive home, I knew something else was going on. My hips and my body ached so bad I could hardly get out of the car. I had a low-grade fever. I got tested for COVID-19 the next day and the test was positive. All three of my children were also positive and then my grandmother who lived with us tested positive.

I later learned that about 10 people from my department at work all tested positive the same day that I did. Unfortunately, my place of employment was not cleaning frequently or informing us when we were being exposed. They never shut down during the pandemic although we are not an essential business.

My main symptom was a severe cough that was uncontrollable as well as a fever. My grandmother’s main symptom was just weakness. She did not have a cough. My 3-year-old had a runny nose one day and a little cough one day with a fever of 99°. My 10-year-old son had no symptoms at all. My 18-year-old daughter had fatigue and chest tightness that lasted for five days. My symptoms lasted at least 14 days and following my active coughing, I began having a different symptom every day. I had diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, headache, slight loss in taste and smell, and then about a week out from the worst symptoms, my legs and feet started to swell and I had pitting edema. I called my doctor and told him about the swelling and the edema. My blood pressure was normal and I had never had blood pressure problems. He immediately sent me for an echocardiogram and I was diagnosed with myocarditis, caused by coronavirus. I had no prior heart problems.

My grandmother who did not even have a cough was admitted to the hospital on August 22, 2020. When we got her to the hospital, her oxygen level was only 70%. She never made it home. They could not keep her oxygen levels up no matter what they did. She passed away from COVID-19 on September 7, 2020.

Be proactive, wear your masks, use hand sanitizer, and don’t be afraid to speak up if your employer is not taking appropriate steps to help keep you safe.