Jennifer Lessard is a trained chef from Saskatoon who has recently transitioned to work as an independent culinary consultant for a variety of Saskatchewan organizations and local food companies.
I haven’t been on social media for awhile as my partner and I have both been dealing with illness from COVID-19 infection. I’d like to share a bit about that now that I have more energy. I’ve learned some valuable things about this disease that might help you and your family.
I spent the week after Christmas moving out of my Saskatoon apartment. My instincts tell me that is where and how I was infected.
As I was doing one of my final loads to my vehicle, a tenant leaned out of their window and yelled, presumably because I was wearing a mask, “You don’t have COVID-19!” while filming me with his phone. Turns out I did, genius, and my mask likely prevented you from getting it, too.
At the time of my infection, I was taking daily Vitamin D and Vitamin C, walking up to six kilometres per day, getting adequate sleep and eating a healthy diet, so armchair nutritionists can keep quiet please.
If you’re still with me despite my crabbiness, here’s how things played out.
Day 1 (New Years Day):
I woke with a tickle in the back of my throat and body aches. Tickle progressed to a cough, not the dry cough described in all the COVID-19 symptom lists; definitely “productive”. No fever yet.
More coughing, more body aches, temp higher than my average 35.8 but still not a fever. Horrible dreams at night and aches everywhere.
See Day 2. Partner starts experiencing symptoms, mainly upper back pain and cough.
Fever of 38.4, complete loss of smell and taste even though nose was completely clear. Cough worsened. No appetite. Diarrhea. Major body aches. Fever dreams. Woke up on my yoga mat, naked, at 3 a.m. not remembering how I got there. Must have been trying to cool off.
Days 5-7:Can’t remember well, but more of the same. Nights are horrible. Like fighting demons. This virus also causes extreme depression, fear and anxiety. Maybe that’s where the word “dis-ease” comes from.
Day 6:Went for COVID-19 test.
Day 8:Received word both of us are positive. Excellent communication and info from contact tracers/SHA staff. Phoned our close- and non-close contacts to inform them of our diagnosis.
Started to feel a bit better and also a bit cocky, like “We had COVID-19 and came out the other end! Sure it’s worse than any other illness we’ve experienced but we’re getting better!!”
Day 9:Major gastro symptoms. Won’t elaborate. Still getting night fevers. Still can’t taste or smell. Coughing starting to get worse, with chest pain and shortness of breath. Walking upstairs gets my heart rate to 120 BPM.
Day 10:Called 811 who referred me to a triage nurse who recommended a visit to ER. Partner drove and stayed in the vehicle. I announced myself at the desk as COVID-19 positive and was put in a room immediately. Chest X-ray showed the start of pneumonia in left lung. Was prescribed five days of azithromycin. I didn’t think viral pneumonia could be treated with antibiotics, but I wasn’t arguing.
Taste and smell came back to about 60 per cent. Wow wow wow!! Sadly, my stomach couldn’t tolerate much food. Did hourly breathing exercises and slept on stomach or propped up to assist breathing. The fever that usually showed up at 9 pm like clockwork didn’t arrive!!!!!! Body aches greatly diminished.
Haven’t taken fever reducer since day 11. Stomach all better. No chest pain or shortness of breath since Day 12. Can fully taste and smell. Appetite is back. Coughing lots but assured by public health that’s normal and may linger.
Thank you to those who kept checking in and offered actual and factual helpful advice
A ginger bath recipe from my friend Jeannine Hoey saved me. Cheerful messages and cute pics of babies, dogs and nature were as good as medicine!! So thankful for family and friends.
Partner never got as sick as me despite being older so really this disease has so many unknowns and our assumptions will be challenged greatly once we study it more.
Here are some foods we could eat even at our sickest: eggs, yogurt, ramen noodles, toast, rice, bananas, oranges, cheese, oatmeal, sleepy time tea, coconut water, fresh grated ginger, honey and lemon drink, pudding.
We’ve both had the COVID-19 app on our phones for months and asked for our one time codes to enter when we received our positive diagnosis. As soon as my partner entered his, I got an exposure notification on my phone and vice versa. This is one more tool in the chest so please consider installing it.
this is much worse than the flu. I haven’t listed even half of my symptoms/scary moments and I cannot imagine how a person would get through it while caring for children or dealing with homelessness or addiction or food insecurity.
Please stay home until you get your vaccine. Like actually stay home.
If and when you have to talk to a contact tracer, the less places you need to list the better.