Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Our experience with Covid-19

We recently shared our story on Facebook in hopes that it would raise awareness about the contagiousness of the Covid-19 virus, and also to share some things that may help others be prepared in case they contract the virus We have been asked to share it again here on the Daily Bulldog.

Over the past few weeks our family has dealt with having contracted Covid-19. Thankfully, unlike other families in this situation, we have all made it through the illness without any major complications, for which we are grateful.

The virus is highly contagious. David brought it home to our family from a local hospital where he was working a few shifts, and it spread like wildfire through our small family bubble. We had a birthday gathering together, with 8 of us present, and 7 of us contracted Covid from David before he was symptomatic. Another family member just stopped in for a short visit the following day, to pick something up. They too contracted the virus and spread it to their spouse at home. The twins came home from college that same day to get new tires put on their vehicle, (and help us stack 5 tons of wood pellets - thanks boys!) and they both contracted it as well. Our 16-year-old daughter ended up testing positive too. All of this exposure took place before David had even developed any symptoms. That is one thing that can be so dangerous about the virus, we had no idea what was happening, as this infection was expertly targeting us all.

Thank goodness for the VA Hospital having access to rapid testing! As soon as David spiked a fever while at work, he went to the ER there to be tested. His positive test result was back in less than an hour. We were then able to contact our family members who we had seen that weekend. We caught everyone before they arrived at work or school that morning. This limited the spread of the virus tremendously. If we didn’t have David’s test results for 24 hours, the impact of people exposed would have grown incredibly! As it stands, his passing of the virus was limited to only those family members he interacted with that weekend before knowing he was sick. Of the 10 people he spent more than 15 minutes with that weekend, 9 of them contracted Covid, but only one of them spread it to one other person. In every place that he was masked and distanced from others that weekend (church, work, and the store) no one contracted the virus. Without rapid testing, people who were unknowingly carrying the virus would likely have spread it at their place of work, school, sports practice, and away at college, while David was awaiting his test results. Our impact could have gone from affecting 10 other people, up to possibly infecting more than a hundred people in those 24 hours. So - three cheers for rapid testing!!

It has been a long 2+ weeks. I have never felt sicker in my life. The pain was worse than when I have had Influenza, and at times it was difficult to get our high fevers to come down. As a family we have experienced nearly every symptom, headache, fevers, body aches, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, chills, congestion, cough, nausea, diarrhea, eye pain, extreme fatigue, and loss of taste and smell. It has been terrifically unpleasant – but gratefully, it never got worse for any of us. David’s breathing became really difficult on day 7, but with quick responsive medical care he was put on a steroid treatment, and it has slowly been reversing his breathing issues.

Bottom line - the virus is real, it’s highly contagious, it’s virulent, it’s in Maine, and it is right here in Franklin County. Please be careful, follow distancing guidelines, and wear a mask. Nothing is absolutely perfect at stopping the spread of this virus, but we do know that masking and distancing are effective at slowing the spread of the infection. We feel strongly that this is an issue of public health and should have never been politicized. It’s too important to be taking sides. We’re all on the same side. It is us and our lives and health, and the lives and health of those we love, versus Covid-19. Please take care of yourself and your neighbors and communities, and be mindful of placing undue stress on our healthcare workers and hospital systems. Ultimately, this is about loving other people and yourself. For us it was just a few weeks of terribleness, but for many families it has had a far more permanent effect. We count ourselves as the lucky ones, as no one truly knows exactly who will succumb to this virus. As I type, I know of friends who are struggling in the hospital and on ventilators. We hope and pray that you stay safe through this until we hopefully mitigate its effects more permanently through an effective vaccine.

My heart aches for those who are struggling with this illness in addition to their difficult living circumstances. I spent many hours on our couch in tears, writhing in pain as this virus ravaged through my system, I can’t imagine feeling that way while on the street, having no place to find relief, or no medicine to take the high fevers down. Our situation is so different from millions who are struggling and suffering with this around the world. Please send your prayers and positive energy out to those who are in such great need at this time.

Some things were invaluable to have at home, and I want to share them so you can have an emergency stash if you’re so inclined. Tylenol was our very best friend! We went through bottles of it, and it made a gigantic difference in both our achiness and in bringing our fevers down. We began taking Zinc and Vitamin D early on when we started showing symptoms, I have no idea if it helped, but studies have shown it does, and I don’t think it can hurt. We were pretty dehydrated throughout our illness and were grateful that one of our sons and daughter in-law live close enough to do a grocery run for us - including picking up some Gatorade, which was super helpful. We own a pulse oximeter because David has asthma, and as our shortness of breath increased it was comforting to be able to monitor our blood oxygen levels and see that they were still safe. I had also purchased a no-touch infrared thermometer early on in the Pandemic, which was extremely beneficial. We used it to monitor when we were experiencing high fevers, but it also became invaluable as we didn’t have to sterilize a thermometer every time it was used. One of us would do nightly temperature checks of everyone - this way we knew how our recovery was progressing, and we knew we were safe to return out into the community when our quarantine time was up. (You need to be quarantined for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, but also be fever free in the 24 hours prior to the end of your quarantine to no longer be contagious.) Having several meals in our freezer surely helped, as did having friends who make delicious chicken soup!

Stay safe out there - mask up - wash your hands – and please, try to think of others as much as you think of yourself.

Betsey and David Hyde

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