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“Little did I know I had a long road ahead of me.”

Little did I know I had a long road ahead of me
By Teandra Pitt

Pasadena, CA
United States

I’m a 35-year-old mother of 3. I suffer from asthma although it’s pretty regulated. COVID changed my life in so many ways. I’ve always worked hard and paved my own way. I’m a very responsible individual and mother. I was super cautious. That’s why I don’t understand how I even contracted the virus.

I contracted the virus and symptoms started to be present about September 6, 2020. The night I came home I felt awful. I was working from home so I was trying to push through my day-to-day activities. Then on that following Friday I couldn’t function or see! Mind you I wear glasses, but this was a different level of vision impairment. I attempted to draft an email to my boss and ended up typing all sorts of gibberish since I couldn’t see but she realized what I was trying to say. She called me and followed up. I went to the ER… Mind you I blacked out when I got there and even threw up all over the floor and nurse. I initially got tested however the results came back negative. I had a fever, couldn’t breathe, had no appetite, and couldn’t think straight. They sent me home.

I went home, and things started getting worse. I was sweating throughout the night, heart racing out of control, no appetite and breathing still not up to par. One evening my 17-year-old came in to check on me and I was unresponsive. She called the nurse hotline and the nurse told her to call 911! My daughter did so and I’m forever grateful because had she not done that I probably wouldn’t be here today. The ambulance arrived. They somehow get me downstairs and haul me to [the hospital]... The doctor came in and asked me a thousand questions which I could barely answer. Next thing I knew I was admitted.

I couldn’t walk, couldn’t breathe on my own, couldn’t use the bathroom in a traditional toilet, and couldn’t even talk. The infectious disease doctor came in multiple times to see me and said he couldn’t let me go until I was stable. The nurses were great especially a familiar face whom I went to school with. She was devastated once she realized it was me yet kept her professional composure and told me I was gonna get through it. I wasn’t improving... I stayed about a week at [that hospital] before I had to be transported to my home hospital for insurance reasons. I was transported in the middle of the night. It was rocky then too... They said the move maybe took a major toll on my body.

About September 18, I was in [the home hospital] alone. They asked me my name, about my children, if I had a husband, etc.… The only thing I remember saying was “I have a grandma” and they got her number out my phone and kept her updated with everything and asked her all sorts of questions. Every day I was getting blood drawn at 4am. Medications all around the clock... This one medication I was taking is by far the worst medicine I ever took. It made me hallucinate, have nightmares, in addition to not able get any rest. I understand it was needed but sheesh I didn’t like it. By then I had a collapsed left lung and fluid in my right lung. Having asthma wasn’t helping not one bit. I was still bedridden at this point... September was coming to and end and I was still in [the hospital]!

My kids were at home getting worried, my parents were losing their minds, my siblings were just so sad, my friends were trying to help as much as they could, my Aunties were panicking, my cousins were speechless, my grandma was trying to remain calm and keep the family sane. My 35th birthday was approaching fast. I was now stable but still on medication and oxygen. A day before my birthday the doctor comes in and says he will be able to let me go home but only if I follow all his orders. Of course I agreed.

This virus is something I wouldn’t wish upon a soul.

October 6, I was being prepped to go home and all of a sudden my heart started beating so fast. So fast to where I passed out. The thought of going home changed that fast… Happy birthday to me right? I get a test and the doctor verifies I’m ok but he needs to observe me further. A couple days later I was released to go home. My friend picked me up, loaded me and all my oxygen tanks in the car, and took me home. My kids were there anxiously waiting. I was so happy to be home. I assumed things would get better but little did I know I had a long road ahead of me.

The first problem was I had stairs in my house. Also I was tapered off the medication and still couldn’t breathe. Finally after a couple days I went to see a pulmonary specialist and boy was he great. I’ll never forget him. He prescribed me some medication, and it made a huge difference! But I still wasn’t out there clear. I was having the hardest time ever breathing and still requiring oxygen. He had me come in his office, showed me my test results, and explained my condition to me. My lungs were still very damaged and full of fluid. That’s why I couldn’t breathe.

Fast forward to December, I was still having trouble breathing and super exhausted. I was beginning to walk better with assistance of a walker.

January was still rocky but my doctor agreed to allow me to work since I would be working from home.

I thought I was going back March 1, however my job had different plans for me. On February 9 I received a phone call and HR told me I was being terminated. I asked why and she said, “it’s been too long, you’ve exhausted your FMLA [medical leave].” I was devastated. I lost my job for catching a deadly virus that anybody can catch! I thought this was so unfair. I literally just fought for my life and lost my job at no fault of my own.

I’m still exhausted out of this world, dependent on oxygen, and taking medication. I just received a COVID vaccine and I’ll tell you it’s déjà vu all over again. The fever, the body aches, and the exhaustion. But what can I say, I’m alive.

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