*Editor’s note: The Creston Valley Advance has agreed to use a pseudonym to protect the resident’s privacy and identity.
It was on the evening of Oct. 30 when Jane* noticed an unusual pain in her wrists and ankles as she was driving through town.
“Never in my life have I had joint pains. It was really strange,” said the 45-year-old mother of two.
As she was preparing for bed that night, she began to feel an unfamiliar headache brewing.
“It was a different kind of headache than I’ve ever had before. It was very much in the centre of my head,” she said.
When she woke up the next morning, her whole body was in pain and was experiencing everything from chills to overheating. She said that she thought she was experiencing a very bad case of the flu.
By Nov. 1, her fever had worsened and she was now experiencing diarrhea after every meal.
“My mom stopped by to check on me because she knew I wasn’t feeling well. She came into the house, and I had made some soup with cabbage,” she said. “My mom said it stinked and asked me what I was making, but I told her I can’t smell anything.”
Upon hearing this, Jane’s mom looked at her and said, “that’s COVID.”
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, muscle or body aches, headache, diarrhea and no sense of smell or taste.
“I had over half of the symptoms present,” said Jane. “I booked a test for the next day, and by the time I went to go for the test, I was starting to have respiratory problems as well.”
Jane went into self-isolation after getting tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 2, and it only took three days for the test results to come in.
“The nurse who called me was very matter of fact and told me my test results were positive,” said Jane. “I cried. I just started crying and I said some bad words.”
By then, she said that she was incredibly fatigued and her headache had “blown up.”
“It became absolutely unbearable. It was the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life, and that was the worst part,” she said.
Her respiratory issues had also worsened, and she said that it had become difficult to breathe.
“I could still breathe, I just couldn’t breathe deeply. It was painful to take a deep breath,” she said.
She took Advil, Tylenol, Naproxen and even tried cannabis to combat the intense headache and muscle pains, but nothing worked.
“I didn’t sleep for three days. It was so painful. My muscle pains were so extreme at that time too. My muscles and my body just hurt so bad,” she said.
She was prescribed stronger medication from health officials, which she said helped her sleep but didn’t ease the headache or body pains.
“I ended up getting really severe vertigo. In the morning, I would wake up and everything was spinning,” she said. “I still had no appetite, and my fever came back partway through. After the headache situation, I got my fever again. It just went on and on.”
As of Nov. 19, Jane is still battling fatigue, a bark-like cough and is without a sense of smell or taste.
She said that she’s been informed by health officials that possible long-term effects as a result of contracting the virus include persisting neurological issues, prolonged lung damage, ongoing headaches and not being able to regain her sense of smell or taste.
She also added that there’s also the chance that she could contract the virus again in the future.
“I’ve been told by countless health professionals that they expect most of the population to get this at some point,” she said. “They’re moving forward with the assumption that probably 70 per cent of the population will get COVID.”
Jane still isn’t sure where she contracted the virus, but she does know that it was from somewhere in Creston. She said that she was compelled to share her experience in a letter to the Advance out of concern for the well-being of the community.
“I wanted people here to realize that it could happen to anybody,” she said.
Contracting and living with the virus, she said, has led to a “major reset” in her life.
“I feel like it’s been a real call to what I can control and what I can’t control, and then consciously choosing the better choice in those things that I can control, including my attitude and acts of kindness,” she said.
She urged residents to also be kind and to think on behalf of their neighbours’ own wellbeing.
“Expand your thoughts, your actions. Think about the effect of your actions. Whether you have chosen to acknowledge it or not, we’re all an interconnected web,” she said. “When you choose to be a weak link in that web, your actions could lead to somebody else’s sickness and possible death. Just do your part.”
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