‘It started with sharp stomach pains. Two days later, I was hunched over, trying to catch my breath. My body felt like I’d ran a marathon.’: 21-year-old nurse recovering from COVID-19 urges ‘nobody is too young’

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“I’m a health care worker on the frontlines, but I am now a COVID-19 patient. Coronavirus is NOT just another flu. Coronavirus is NOT just a walk in the park.

I started feeling really bad about 5 days ago. Sharp stomach pains and vomiting. I went to my PCP, and they ran a blood test and determined my liver enzymes were extremely elevated. They referred me to a Liver specialist at IU. Upon my first appointment with this specialist, he ran the first round of blood tests and found an excess amount of ammonia present in my blood. This meant my liver wasn’t functioning properly and it was allowing toxins to overflow into my blood. He was waiting for the results of my next blood test, but told me if my symptoms got worse then to go to the ER.

2 days later, I found myself hunched over, trying to catch my breath with a heart rate of 174bpm. My body felt like it had run a marathon and I started having ringing in my ears and felt like I was going to pass out. My Mom picked me up and took me straight to the ER. When I arrived at the ER, that’s when things started to get critical. It’s like my body knew I was finally in the right place, in the right care, and my body could stop fighting.

My lips and feet started to turn blue and my oxygen (SPO2) started dropping into the 70%-76% range. I couldn’t stand up any longer because my legs would give out. My heart rate would shoot up and my head started pounding. At that moment, the ER doctor ordered a chest X-ray because my symptoms started to take the route of classic COVID-19. To my surprise, the doctor came in with my chest X-ray and shook his head. Both lungs showed patches where COVID-19 was present.

My lungs were turning hazy and dark as well. That’s when he decided I needed to be admitted to a COVID-19 unit for care. During my stay, I developed deep veins (DVTs) in my legs, which I have never EVER had before. That’s why my legs were turning blue and super sore. I started to receive shots of medication and IV meds to manage the blood clots in my legs. I also received oxygen because I couldn’t keep my SPO2 up on my own. My heart rate was in the 130’s when I would sleep, so the doctors placed me on 2 different constant cardiac monitors because they worried most about my heart.

Thankfully, because I received help at the right time, I AM OKAY! I am going to be okay. The day I was discharged, I ended back up in the hospital a few hours later because I was passing out and my body was limp. I was extremely dehydrated. I am home today, but still fighting this nasty virus. Today is my first day with a fever present. Basically, I am okay to be recovering at home unless my oxygen drops or my complications flare up again.

I’m sharing my story because I know there are tons of skeptics out there still saying COVID-19 isn’t as bad as us healthcare workers make it out to be. I’m sharing MY story BECAUSE I can’t share my patients stories with you. COVID-19 is so real. It is the most painful and scary thing I have ever faced. It’s 10x worse than passing kidney stones (yes, I’ve had those). I am 21 years old and healthy. And COVID-19  tried to overtake me.

PLEASE! Take all precautions seriously. Take social distancing seriously! It is real and it’s here. Nobody is too young or too healthy.”

Courtesy of Cassidy Nicholle
Courtesy of Cassidy Nicholle

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kassidy Nicholle. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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