What is it like to be coronavirus positive and have symptoms?
Kevin and Angela Deason describe their experience as “not good” and the disease as “no joke.”
The Deasons have experienced most of the symptoms associated with the disease: cough, congestion, fever and chills, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, intense fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste and smell, nausea and vomiting, and sore throat.
Kevin’s first warning sign was Friday, July 31 with a cough.
“That cough was all I had but I decided it would be a good idea to quarantine myself immediately,” he said. “I went to Cookeville on Monday morning and had a rapid test. It came back positive in 30 minutes. Tuesday is when it really hit me. I woke up with nausea. It continued to get worse from there. It was like having a bad case of the flu.”
COVID-19 affects people in different ways. Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms, from mild to severe. While Kevin has not experienced trouble breathing or chest pain/ pressure, Angela has.
“Angela has had it worse than I have,” said Kevin. “It hit her lungs. I thought she would have to go to the emergency room last Tuesday night. That was a rough night for her. She slept most of Wednesday. That day, my symptoms seemed to ease up. I had a slight headache and still no taste or smell. By the end of the day, the symptoms started creeping back in. That’s how it’s been: you start to feel better and you think it’s finally over, but it’s not.”
Recovery time, like the symptoms, vary from person to person. For people with mild symptoms, recovery time is about two weeks. Others report symptoms that persist up to six weeks or more.
“I got to feeling like I had some energy on Thursday, but it didn’t last long,” said Kevin. “I had about 30 minutes where I felt like I could get up and do something, but then it was gone. I still couldn’t taste or smell anything.”
Kevin was hoping for a better day Friday, one week after the first symptom, but it was not to be.
“Just when you think you have it behind you, it reminds you that it’s not letting go,” he said. “I was up for one hour and had to go back to bed. This virus takes all the energy you have and zaps it. I spent most of the day sleeping again.”
Saturday was a better day for both.
“Both of us were a bit better on Saturday. Angela could breathe a little better. She’s still achy. It’s just going to take time to get over this. Neither of us can taste nor smell. You start looking forward to tomorrow because you hope it’s going to be a better day.”
Kevin has been posting daily updates on Facebook about their condition.
“Everyone was concerned about us, so it seemed like a good way to keep everyone informed about how we’re doing,” said Kevin this Monday. “It’s hasn’t been good. It has been one week since I was diagnosed. It feels like having a bad case of the flu. I can understand why some people with a compromised immune system or underlying medical conditions don’t survive this. It has been tough.”
Angela posted on Sunday, “I am not one to post a whole lot, but I needed to say this. This virus is no joke. I feel like I have a bad case of the flu. It has been a rough week on us and I thought today was going to be better, but my headache is back and I feel sick to my stomach.”
Kevin says the one question he’s been asked most is the one he cannot answer.
“I don’t know where I got it,” he said. “Everyone wants to know that, but I just don’t know. I’m a judicial commissioner, but everyone at the Sheriff’s Department has been diligent about wearing facemasks and washing hands and trying to stay six feet away from one another. The office has been closed. When someone needs something, we meet them in the parking lot. It had to be there that I got it. In the parking lot. Someone from the public. Someone who didn’t know they had it.”
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, which means some people will have it and will not know it. Because of that, the CDC recommends people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when social distancing measure are difficult to maintain.
“I do hope that I’ve built up an immunity to it now that I’ve had it,” said Kevin. “That might just be wishful thinking. There are so many unknowns with this disease. We know it’s highly contagious. I think this is how things are going to be from now on. I don’t think it’s like the flu. It’s not seasonal.”
The World Health Organization agrees and describes the pandemic as “one big wave” and although it has flu-like symptoms, it will not share influenza’s tendency to follow the seasons.
Kevin and Angela want everyone to know “we are going to be fine” and both express their gratitude for the well wishes from the community.