“I was sleeping 17 hours a day”
This Orangeville nurse contracted Covid-19 – along with her whole family.
I went back to school and became a nurse after a career in business in downtown Toronto. This is my fifth year at Headwaters Health Care Centre. I’ve worked on all the wards, as well as at the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Centre.
When news about the virus first started, we had meetings where we discussed things like infection control, but it was before we knew how bad it would get. Then there was an outbreak among staff at the hospital. Most of my assignment was treating Covid-19 patients. We used all the personal protective equipment and took all the appropriate precautions, but people don’t realize how easily this virus spreads.
I worked a shift on Friday, April 10. After work I noticed I was sneezing and coughing. By Sunday night I had a fever, body aches, chills and a cough. I got a Covid-19 test on Monday, and it was positive. Wednesday my husband, Ben, was tested and he was positive too. Then my daughters, Ainsley and Maggie, began to show symptoms.
Out of the whole family I was the one who seemed to get every symptom. I was sleeping 17 hours a day. I had no appetite, and no sense of taste or smell. Some days I’d start to feel better, but the next day I’d be flat on my back again. Worse than that was the stress of worrying. I’ve seen what can happen to people’s lungs with this disease, and I knew day 10 can be a tipping point, where you either get better or you get worse. As each of us crossed that line, I was a mess.
We did get better though. In total I was sick for 17 days. We were all between 14 and 17 days. I went back to work the beginning of May, after two negative tests.
There is so much negativity these days, but I want to stress the positives that came from this experience. My family grew closer and there’s way less stress now that we’ve had the virus. People dropped food and groceries at our door, and it made me feel blessed. The public health department was a great support. The staff at the hospital has become an even tighter bunch. The leadership is to be commended for the way they have taken care of staff. I’m so glad I got into nursing. This has made me realize it’s what I was born to do.
As told to Jeff Rollings. This interview was condensed and edited.
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