It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog. . .I got covid. A couple of weeks ago as I was starting to wake up and be more with it I had a strong feeling that the next blog I needed to write was about my experience of having Covid. For several reasons I’ve resisted that feeling and tried to write other blogs, but no, they weren’t flowing and it has become very clear that I need to listen to the feelings I’m having and write about covid. I’m going to be very honest, vulnerable with this topic - more so than I’ve wanted to in the public eye.
Just under a year ago the covid vaccine became available. With me being diabetic I was one of those people that could get it earlier than others. I had very mixed feelings. I was just starting to feel healthier from working through medications and balancing things for my thyroid, hashimotos, diabetes, fibromyalgia and then throw in there anxiety, depression and PTSD. I decided I wanted to watch and observe and see how things went for others and then I would get the vaccine.
I scheduled to get the vaccine many times, but as I would schedule I would get a pit in my stomach and honestly, everytime I scheduled, someone close to me would get the vaccine and get really sick. I had a friend that got the vaccine that had diabetes and they ended up in the hospital. I couldn’t overcome the fear that I was feeling. And then in July I decided alright, it’s time, I’m getting the vaccine. Then my mom, who was vaccinated, got covid and my dad, who was vaccinated, got covid. My dad ended up in the hospital and passed away from covid, but he had been vaccinated. In fact, there were some things shared with us that the vaccine that my dad got could cause internal bleeding and that’s one of the things my dad was struggling with when he died. That terrified me - I had been dealing with internal bleeding for awhile. At that point I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get vaccinated. Then I had other family members who got vaccinated and ended up super sick - I couldn’t get over the very confused feelings.
We then had Brayden getting married and though I reconsidered it again, I thought, I can’t get super sick before Brayden’s wedding so I’ll consider it after the wedding. Then the holidays came and I thought alright in January. I will start the new year off with the vaccine and move forward.
I met with my doctor the end of December and I looked at him and said talk me into getting the vaccine. I sincerely wanted to do the right thing - I was just scared to death due to so many close family experiences. I asked him to share with me what he knew and I shared with him that I couldn’t get over the feelings that the vaccine killed my dad. We had a great conversation and I felt alright, I could do this.
There were only a few things that I wanted to work through before getting the vaccine. I was retaining a lot of fluids and so much swelling and so I started on medications for that. Then I was still dealing with some internal bleeding and scheduled to go in and see a specialist to deal with that. I also was struggling with my heart rate. I would wake up with my heart rate in the 130’s - 140’s. My doctor adjusted some meds to help with my heart. In addition we adjusted a few of my other meds and overall I wasn’t feeling well as we were making all of these changes and working through the internal bleeding. I thought, as soon as I get these things balanced I will get the vaccine. I had made up my mind.
Through all of this time I decided I would just be super careful. I didn’t go to stores, I would wear a mask a lot, if I touched anything I would wash my hands - I washed my hands constantly. If I went to events for my boys I would keep distance from others. I knew that I was at risk and wanted to be careful since I couldn’t bring myself to get the vaccine. I was in so much turmoil.
Throughout January I started getting really scared of getting covid - like more scared than I had ever felt. My body was weak from all of the changes and working through meds and the things my body was fighting and I found myself not really wanting to be around people with the fear of getting covid. It was becoming a consuming fear. I was turning down going to lunch and even being with friends and going out to things, because I felt I needed to be super careful - more careful than ever before.
On Friday, January 21st I was talking with a friend and from that conversation I found some great peace that it was time to get the vaccine. I even went online and was looking for places that could do the vaccine for me on Saturday - I wanted to do it while I was feeling peace and not back out. I couldn’t find any place that could do the vaccine on Saturday so I decided alright I’ll go the next week. I thought, I will go on Monday so I don’t back out.
Saturday, January 22nd I went to my son’s basketball game in the morning and had a great time. I got home and found myself feeling very tired, but that wasn’t abnormal due to all that my body was fighting. I took a long nap and then we played games that evening and I talked with a good friend of mine for a couple of hours on the phone. I noticed my throat was feeling a little scratchy and sore, but thought I don’t talk on the phone often so maybe that’s what happened.
Sunday, January 23rd I woke up with a sore throat. I have a fan that blows on my face at night and I like to open my window at night, even in the cold so I thought it’s just a dry throat. I got up to get ready for church and I had a very clear thought come to mind, you need the rest, you need to stay home and watch church via zoom. It was clear that I needed to rest and that it was alright to miss church. I’m not one that gives myself permission to miss church often - I find such a comfort and direction and renewal by going to church each week.
I also was dealing with some very severe pain in my lower back. So severe that I couldn’t sit back or put any pressure on my back. Throughout Sunday my stomach started to hurt so bad, started getting a headache, dizzy, super thirsty and an exhaustion that I had never experienced before. Between the different medications of releasing the fluids my body was retaining and other medications that were hurting my stomach I was using the restroom alot for several weeks, plus I was losing blood frequently, that I shouldn’t, because I had a hysterectomy over 10 years ago. With all of that I had a feeling that I had a UTI.
On Monday I got worse and I was super weak and didn’t even want to open my eyes. My head was spinning so much that if I opened my eyes I would vomit. I had no appetite and now my ears were hurting. The symptoms were coming super fast. We had covid tests so Monday afternoon Rick had me do a covid test and it came back negative. I was like, well that’s a relief, but dang I’m super miserable. I messaged my doctor’s nurse and shared with her all that was going on and asked if it was meds, that I thought it was a UTI and what could I do. She talked to my doctor and he asked me to come into Instacare on Tuesday morning. I was nervous, because I was so super sick, but I had a negative covid test.
I was so sad, on Monday we were going to celebrate Brayden’s birthday together as a family and we had to cancel it. It was heartbreaking for me.
Tuesday, January 25th Brayden’s 21st birthday and I was so excited for him to be 21 and had hoped to see him, but with how sick I was it just wasn’t going to work out and that was hard for me. That morning we went into the instacare and saw my doctor. They decided to test me for the flu and for covid and of course, the UTI. While we were with my doctor his nurse stuck her head in and said positive covid test and I was like, “Who? What?” Of course, we all knew that was for me. So here I’m sitting there with a UTI and Covid and more miserable than I had ever felt, plus dealing with the bleeding and all of the other things I had been dealing with through January.
My doctor gave me medications and sent me home and told me to sleep and be super careful. We talked about how I was high risk with all of my medical things. I’m so grateful for a loving and understanding doctor, even though I hadn’t been vaccinated.
I just continued to get worse over that week. I’ve never experienced body aches like I did that week. I slept all of the time and if I ate or drank fluids I would lose it all so I just couldn’t eat and drink much. My doctor had told me I needed electrolytes so I was trying to drink gatorade, but yuck, drinking it and then having it come up. 24/7 I couldn’t get any relief from the extreme pain my body was feeling. NONE!!!! I couldn’t lay on my back due to the extreme pain in my lower back. Then, on my lower back I had some weird things showing up - like something deep in my back was manifesting in a purple color in my lower back up my spine.
I honestly don’t have much recollection from that week. I got a priesthood blessing and was told that I would recover, but what did that mean? I took peace at the time that alright, this will all get better and I’ll live, but as the week went on I was thinking well, this might be that I recover by dying and being made whole by dying.
It had gotten to the point that the only relief I could get was getting in a warm bath and honestly I would sleep for hours in the warm water - there was some relief, but then it was making my lower back hurt so much worse. Then through the night Rick wasn’t sleeping well because my oxygen was dropping and I wasn’t breathing very well. He was constantly checking on me. I didn’t have any comprehension of things going on around me. Even when there were conversations if my eyes were open I would just stare and I couldn’t process things being said to me.
On top of me being sick, super sick, Rick started a new job on Monday, January 24th - the day that I was getting really bad, the day before going into instacare. Gratefully his job is work from home, but he had trainings, meetings and all kinds of things getting started with his job. Then with me being so sick I wasn’t working. In January our only income had been mine so now I’m not working and no income and Rick is just starting his job and won’t have a paycheck for a few weeks and we’re in the process of meeting deductible under Cobra Insurance, because his new work insurance doesn’t start until March 1st. So, our finances were a total mess - disaster!
Then you throw in the boys. Tanner was involved with the school play, but due to being exposed, he stayed home from school and then decided to not be involved with the school play, because he didn’t want to risk getting anyone sick. He had been so excited to be a part of this play - I was feeling so much guilt messing things up for him. Then his learners permit was going to expire the end of February and before I had gotten sick I had asked the teacher working with him if they could do all they could to help him get range and road and whatever else needed to be done before his learners expired. The week I got sick was his range and he didn’t know what to do. Gratefully things worked out and he was able to get his license on time, but there was a lot of stress with that.
Zach was looking for a new job or an additional jobs and was looking at places, because he had decided after Christmas that he would move out. That was great and I was supportive of his decisions, but I wasn’t able to talk through things and support him at all. I couldn’t be a mom at all to my boys and that’s one of the biggest things I live for. I could hear conversations going on around me and I just ached, I couldn’t process words or add to anything that was going on around me.
And then you throw in all of the things that I had committed to and that I’m involved with. I was missing meetings, coordinating and organizing events and things I had committed to. I honestly had no comprehension of what day it was and what I had going on so I didn’t know what all I was missing and not taking care of, which was probably good through the 3 weeks I was so sick.
And to think that Rick was carrying EVERYTHING!!! Starting a new job, taking care of me, working through things with his boys, worrying about finances and trying to take care of things with no income, communicating with my doctor every single day and the list goes on. My doctor was AMAZING!!! Rick and the nurse emailed several times a day and my doctor would give Rick guidance on what to do to keep me going and alive.
I had major chest pains and was so winded just to walk to the restroom. It would take me 10 minutes to climb our stairs - one step and winded. It was such an awful feeling. Rick would stand me up and hold onto me and try to get me outside, but to get to the door was sooooo far away. Plus I would get super agitated.
By Monday, January 31st I could hardly breathe. We had talked about me going to the hospital emergency room several times, but I couldn’t do it. I kept saying I’d rather die at home than go to the hospital. My dad went to the hospital in August with covid and he died. I never saw him again conscious and I just couldn’t do it. It’s not that I didn’t trust the doctors and nurses, I believe they are working super hard, but I feel that Covid is a super unknown and hard to treat and know what to do with so many patients and just the trauma with losing my dad and almost daily I see friends posting that they have lost a family member being in the hospital with covid.
The other thing is my boys were scared for me to go to the hospital and every time it came up they would cry. I couldn’t do this to my boys either.
On Monday around 1:30 p.m. Rick woke me up and said Cheri open your eyes. I opened them and Rick said that my doctor told him to get me to the hospital today. My oxygen was getting in the 80’s and I was getting much worse. I was adamant that I couldn’t go - I just couldn’t. Finally after much conversation and Rick calling the hospital and them telling him that he can go back with me to the room I agreed to go.
Tanner let the boys know and Brayden and Sarah rushed over so my boys could give me a blessing before going to the hospital. We had a family prayer and then it was time for me to go to the hospital. I could barely make it to the car to go and I closed my eyes the whole way over. I couldn’t focus on anything and I was so weak. We got to the hospital doors and they could see I was so weak they brought a wheelchair to take me into the emergency room. We got checked in and the nurse came out to get me.
Something about me that not many know, but I have a blankie. I’m very attached to this blankie and it brings me lots of comfort. It’s a great strength to me. We took it with us to the hospital. When the nurse came out to get me Rick stood up to go in with me and the nurse told him he couldn’t come with me. We were both shocked and honestly I started to sob! I could hardly talk, sit up and didn’t know what to do - I didn’t want to go back without Rick with me.
I had to make a decision - do I go back by myself or just go back home? I looked at Rick and the nurse told me I had to hurry and make a decision so I said alright I’ll go back. Rick handed me my blanket and my phone and she picked up the blanket and gave it back to Rick and said I couldn’t have it. I was terrified. I was having all of these thoughts of my dad going to the hospital and never seeing him alive again - well conscious. I knew I didn’t have much more fight in me to keep going.
I’m not going to go into too many details at the hospital. It was traumatizing in many ways and I was so sick and unable to communicate much that it’s best I leave that part of the story unshared for now. What I will share is that because I was so dehydrated they had an extremely hard time getting an IV in me. I’ve never wanted an IV so badly in my life - I wanted some fluids in my body that hopefully I could keep down. They tried and tried and then sent in someone else to try. They brought in the ultrasound machine and it still wasn’t working. After being poked 28 times they finally got an IV in me. I was covered in bruises. I was super nauseated and I couldn’t lean back on the hard bed, because my back was sooooo angry at me with the UTI. I wasn’t given a blanket or anything of comfort. I had to answer many times if I had been vaccinated and it was so hard to catch my breath to even answer. Each time I was asked if I was vaccinated I was asked to explain why I wasn’t vaccinated and told that because I wasn’t vaccinated that this is the consequence. I understood. I honestly felt like a child being punished over and over and over again. I was all alone. I had told Rick that I would try to message him and keep him updated, but I couldn’t see my phone. I finally figured out that I could send him voice messages - very short and short of breath, but I was able to communicate enough to let him know a little bit.
After a couple of hours of a bunch of tests the doctor came in and let me know that I had covid pneumonia with tests coming back with high results of possible clots in my lungs. He said they needed to admit me and keep me overnight - that things didn’t look good. I just started to cry and I told the doctor that I couldn’t stay. I just couldn’t. The doctor said that it wasn’t really safe for me to go home, but if that’s what I chose then he wanted me going home on oxygen and with an oximeter program on my phone that I would test my oxygen and it would report to the hospital how I was doing. I told him that’s what I chose. The PTSD of losing my dad under 6 months from that time was too much for me.
He left the room and said the nurses would be in to give me the information and then I could leave. One of the people that came in to remove stuff asked me why I would go home when everything was showing that it wasn’t safe for me to go home. Basically said you’re on deaths door, why would you go home. I shared that I lost my dad this way and I would rather go home and die than be in the hospital alone and die. This had nothing to do with the capability of the doctors or nurses - NOTHING - it was a deep fear, sadness of the loss of my dad and I didn’t want to be alone. I wasn’t strong enough to make my own decisions.
After they gave me my stuff they said I was free to go. So I changed, gathered up my stuff, got the handle of the oxygen tank and walked myself out. They didn’t offer me a wheelchair or any direction how to get out. I could barely see the signs, but I made it to the front and looked at Rick and he came and got the stuff out of my hands and we sat down so I could catch my breath and then we left the hospital.
I was so grateful to get home and with the fluids, zofran and oxygen I was a little bit more awake to talk to my kids when I got home. I was super grateful for that little boost of strength. That only lasted a short time. They wanted me sitting up more while I slept due to the lack of oxygen so I slept in the recliner downstairs - which was good, because climbing the stairs was way too hard. Rick slept on the couch next to me.
The challenge was I was having nightmares and feeling like I was drowning and choking and couldn’t breathe and then with the nausea about every 10 - 20 minutes throughout the night I would scream for Rick to sit me up. I was sure I was dying. He would sit me up, I’d take a breath and then I just wanted to go back to sleep. He would lay me back and then in about 10 - 20 minutes I would do it again. The challenge was at times I was vomiting when he would sit me up. This went all night for several days. I would also get restless and wouldn’t want the oxygen on subconsciously and would pull it off and without it my oxygen had gotten into the 70’s. It was scary for all of my family! For me, I wasn’t really conscious of what was going on anymore.
There were times I’d open my eyes and just stare off and from where I sat and slept I could see my dad’s picture. I would find myself thinking that I would be with him shortly. I just felt that I had no more fight in me. I found myself thinking, “Dad, I understand. I understand that there comes a point where the body is failing and it’s time to go.” Honestly there were times that I wanted to be with my dad - I had no more fight in me. But Rick and my boys did and boy did they fight for me every single minute of every day and I could feel of their love and pain as they watched me so sick.
The rest of that week I wasn’t really responsive. I have no recollection of that week, besides how awful I felt, sometimes getting frustrated with the oxygen and ending up pulling it off subconsciously, waking up enough to throw up - didn’t open my eyes and the nightmares. The emergency room had told me that one of the ways they have found for relief of the body aches was to rotate tylenol and ibuprofen every 4 hours. I was willing to do anything to get any kind of relief from the pain in my body, but I can’t take pain meds without additional internal bleeding and that causes other problems. I was willing to take on that other problem - I was so super miserable.
On Saturday, February 5th Rick posted on my Facebook Wall asking for anyone that would be willing to join a fast for me. He was at a loss of how to get me to be more responsive. My oxygen was in the 70’s without oxygen and now we were at 2 weeks of me not really being responsive or eating.
My family had been amazing! My mom and sister had gone through having Covid Pneumonia in August when my dad was in the hospital and passed away. My family was contacting Rick and giving him many suggestions and bringing things and dropping things off on our door. Rick was willing to try everything and each little thing was very helpful. I don’t know exactly what worked to get me through, but what I do know is it was a bunch of little things that eventually led to me getting better.
On Sunday, February 6th all of my family was getting together to exchange Valentines at my mom’s home. I had slept pretty much all day, but woke up around 6:00 p.m. Rick was getting on a Zoom call and I was like who are you getting on with? He said that my family was doing a Zoom call while exchanging valentines and just to all say hi. It had been a month since we had all been together. I looked a complete mess, didn’t know if I could open my eyes without throwing up and wasn’t sure I was ready to see anyone. I didn’t know how much I could communicate. As Rick got everyone on the Zoom call people were asking how I was doing and I told Rick I would say hi to everyone with my undone hair, oxygen, no makeup and looking like death had warmed over. As I started to say hi and answer questions and my family expressed their love for me and prayers and concern I found myself being more responsive and able to talk and laughed and it really lifted my spirits. We were on the zoom call for over an hour and I really enjoyed it. I was super exhausted and worn out, but super good for my spirits.
I fell back to sleep and didn’t have any additional strength. That next week as I would open my eyes I’d get headaches and just felt super dizzy. I could tell the symptoms were starting to improve - they were all there, but less. As Rick gave an update to my family my sister reached out and let Rick know that when my mom was on oxygen that they found that as her oxygen improved she would get dizzy and have headaches, because of too much oxygen and they would adjust and turn down the oxygen. Rick gave that a try and it worked. My dizziness and headaches started to improve and I was each day getting a little bit better.
Through the night on Tuesday night I ended up pulling off my oxygen accidentally and when Rick checked my oxygen level in the morning it was holding alright - high 80’s and honestly my nose had gotten so sore. I begged him to let me keep it off and see how I do. They checked me all day and eventually my oxygen got into the 90’s and was up and down a little bit, but looking better. I was starting to eat a little more. Things were showing some small improvements, but wasn’t quite sitting well for Rick. He still had lots of concerns.
On Thursday, February 10th he reached out to the boys and asked if they could come and help him give me a blessing and they had coordinated a time on Friday afternoon. He felt that I needed to be eating more, being more responsive after 3 weeks and I was still super weak. He had made up his mind that he was going to take me back to the hospital on Friday morning if I wasn’t doing better. Through Thursday night and as I woke up Friday morning I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to fight, I needed to do everything I possibly could. I didn’t tell Rick that - it was just something I felt and decided to do. I was awake a little more throughout that day, drank a protein shake and held it down, walked outside for a short time for some fresh air - Rick was very excited that I was showing some improvement. He informed me throughout the day that he had decided he was going to take me back to the hospital if I didn’t show improvement and all of a sudden I was showing some improvement without knowing his plans. Rick told me the boys were coming over to assist in giving me a priesthood blessing.
That blessing was the turning point of really healing. I was told that my dad was helping me heal from the other side and I could feel my dad with me. I knew he wanted me to fight and stay here. That I was needed here. Between the feelings I had to fight, the priesthood blessing and being surrounded by love and so much support from my mom, family, ward members, friends - it was amazing. So many fasted for me and prayed for me. I know that all of these things brought me through the worst experience of my life.
That was a turning point. . .a point that I was waking up more, interacting with people slowly and starting to gain strength. I still slept a lot, but when I was awake I was able to have more conversations and interact. The symptoms had subsided overall. The doctor had said I was clear to get out, but to be extremely careful. I went to church on Sunday and it felt good to be there, but it wiped me out so much I slept most of the day after church. I couldn’t believe how much that wiped me out.
After losing 3 weeks of my life I was super ready to get back to my life. I was finally able to look at my phone after 3 weeks. Holy smokes - talk about messages. I was super grateful for the love and prayers and all of the support. I was also reminded of all of the meetings and things I had missed. My brain was super duper slow still so I wasn’t able to process everything and I could only read a few things at a time.
Taking it slow and giving myself self compassion has been extremely difficult for me - that’s not my nature, but I’m learning. I’m gaining my strength and I’m healing. The three things that I struggle with the most now is I’m extremely exhausted and have fatigue, my balance isn’t good and I have what I’ve called Covid Brain. It’s really slow and it’s hard for me to process things, especially if there’s more than one thing going on around me. I’m not remembering things very well. I’ll be going in for a few tests to see where I’m at in healing, but I am grateful to be alive! I’m grateful for all of the love and support I received through a very difficult time in my life and in my family's lives. I’m so grateful that my dad, from the other side, was able to help me heal and stay here.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity