By Joe Morey
On Wednesday, August 19, our Public Health Officer, Gary Girard, announced Covid-19 numbers pertaining to the Rez and in that update, Girard said there were 750 tests performed on the Rez to date, with only 12 positive cases. Throughout the pandemic I’ve always held this opinion that if someone in our community did contract the virus, they should openly share their story. I don’t fault anyone for choosing their privacy, but in the interest of the community, it doesn’t hurt if they share. So, today, I want to share my story with you. I was one of those 12 positive cases. Despite waiting awhile to share, I never kept my diagnosis a secret. I just didn’t put it in print.
I was diagnosed on Monday, August 17, after taking a rapid test at the LCO Clinic. That afternoon I was informed I had the virus. I am one who has held a strong belief that only the sick should be taking the test. After being sick and self-quarantined for nearly two weeks, I finally took the test so that I could get back to work if I wasn’t positive. The first week of my illness was a strong head cold filled with sinus congestion and these symptoms came on about August 3. That was it. Thus, I didn’t think I had Covid, but I still stayed away just in case.
On Tuesday, August 11, it moved into my lungs and that’s when body aches, shortness of breath and occasional headaches began. Although I never had a fever, I was still laid out with some strong fatigue and that lasted till Saturday, August 15. I never considered my symptoms severe or alarming, they were always more on the mild side, but mildly annoying, nonetheless. By the weekend, I began to suspect I had something more than just a cold, but I still had no fever.
I took Ibuprofen and Robitussin during the week and they definitely helped subdue my symptoms, except for the headache. Nothing penetrated the headache until I took Sudafed. Just straight Sudafed seemed to loosen up the sinus congestion in my head and within a couple of hours, the headache was gone.
By Saturday, I also developed a pretty consistent cough. On Sunday, most of my symptoms were going away and by Monday when I took the test, I was already feeling a lot better. Tuesday, the only symptom left at that time was the cough. Even the shortness of breath and feeling in my lungs had gone away.
On Thursday, August 20, even the “dry” cough had decreased to a simple cough here and there. On that day, Sawyer County Public Health cleared me from quarantine and self-isolation in accordance with CDC guidelines. According to guidelines, a dry cough is not contagious anymore. Only a productive cough where you cough something up would be considered a symptom.
My wife and father-in-law both took the test on Tuesday and somehow, my wife tested negative but the F-I-L tested positive. His symptoms were mild to begin with, no fever and it never moved into his lungs, but by the end of the week he too was symptom free and cleared from quarantine. The good news is that no one else in the family, including my children, every experienced any symptoms. I was the only one fortunate enough to be graced with this virus.
In the end, my opinions haven’t changed. I know the virus has affected some much more severely and there have been deaths, but over the course of the virus, the death rate has lowered considerably due to more successful treatments being discovered. I don’t wish this virus on anyone but, during my ordeal I didn't fear for my own life. I was concerned for my father-in-law because of his own underlying conditions. He’s a 79-year-old dialysis patient, but after a few days, I grew confident that his strain was like mine and symptoms were on the mild side. I’m thankful for that, but with the increased success with treatments of the virus, I’m optimistic that we’ll be through this soon and people need to realize that getting sick is not a death sentence as some would have you believe. I'm not trying to downplay the severity of this virus some have experienced, but overall, it's random and rare. Continue to take safety precautions and be responsible, but don’t let your life be consumed with fear. That may be more detrimental to your health.