COVID-19 coronavirus patient experiences

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Please visit the main COVID-19 coronavirus and cancer page here.

China

  • "A thread about what I observed in Chinese society, and what you should be mentally prepared for" (Twitter @tony_zy, 3/6/2020)
  • "A regular person’s journey on Douban. In the past few weeks I’ve witnessed hundreds if not thousands of tragedies unfolding before my eyes" (Twitter @tony_zy, 2/8/2020)

United Kingdom

  • "The anorexia is profound. It has taken 5kg off me, fortunately I can take that but I'm utterly knackered." (Twitter @Doctor_IMF, 3/16/2020)
  • "Shivers and sweats were the story of the day. That and being utterly exhausted, with whole-body ache. Random temp: 38.5. One flight of stairs then stop for a rest. No appetite at all." (Twitter @GoughCJ, 3/16/2020)
  • "D9: Feeling much better today. No headache. No cough. Exhaustion much improved. Appetite pretty much normal. I am 95% back to normal." (Twitter @GoughCJ, 3/19/2020)
  • "Every swallow brings tears to your eyes, it’s just so painful.... I was surprised it completely poleaxed me. I could barely move from the sofa to the bed.” Dr. Ben Lovell as told to the Standard, 3/20/2020
  • "post-Covid19 I have completely lost my sense of smell, and most of my sense of taste. It’s astonishing. My cup of tea tastes like hot water. Can’t smell my aftershave." (Twitter @DrBenLovell 3/23/2020)
  • "I survived coronavirus. Spent nearly 2 weeks indoors + in quarantine as my body fought it off." (Twitter @TobiRachel_ 3/29/2020)
@TobiRachel_ 3/29/2020 experience (expand for more information)
  • Because a lot of us may not get access to Covid-19 testing kits and calls with NHS 111 feel scripted, I’ll share my experience. It may help someone. These were my symptoms...
  • Day 1: I’d been informed that I was in contact with someone who had been in contact with someone with covid-19. Nothing serious I told myself, but I decided to social distance anyway. Later I found out I’d been in direct contact with a confirmed case 5 days before.
  • Day 2: I develop a very dry cough. And a swollen gland I developed 2 days before Day 1 became very prominent. The cough was persistent making speaking for longer than 40 secs hard. I was extremely fatigued. I’m anaemic and well acquainted with tiredness but this was chronic
  • Day 3: A good night sleep did not help. My chest was painfully tight, at first I blamed work anxiety. I developed a fever (was hot + cold at the same time). I struggled to walk and my breathing became shallow + difficult. The muscles in my neck began to ache.
  • Day 4: The scariest day. Woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck in my sleep and then thrown of a cliff. The muscles in my face ached. The muscles in eyes hurt. Every muscle hurt. My persistent cough became extremely painful. Developed a painful migraine.
  • Day 4: Still with a fever and cough. On this day I became frightful of how my body would force itself to sleep. My breathing was worrying and I feared the worst. I called NHS 111 who confirmed my suspicions and instructed me to self-isolate in my room as I don’t live alone.
  • Day 5: I slept a lot. Keeping my eyes open was painful and a core. Wore sunglasses to use my phone. The sunlight made my migraine worst. My body ached and my breathing became worst. Coughing didn’t help. I could feel my lungs getting heavier, every breath got shorter.
  • Day 6: Painkillers did not stop the pain. Also stockpiling trends meant even my pharmacist could not help. Was scared to sleep as my breathing was not improving. Could not hold my breath for more than 2 secs.
  • Day 7: I became alarmed when I noticed I lost the ability to taste food. Nearly passed out brushing my teeth as it was obstructing my breathing. NHS were too overstretched to help. At this point I was begging God, I didn’t want to die this way
  • Day 8: Twitter said that running a humid shower would help breathing. It did for me. I drew my curtains for the 1st time, still needed sunglasses. Body aches stopped. Migraine not so persistent. Coughed less but it was a nauseous and brought up yellowy phlemg from my lungs
  • Day 8: Still breathless from just sitting up, sharp pains in my chest but migraine improved. Body temperature back to normal. Coughed about twice a day. Found the strength to find hope.
  • Day 9-12: Saw improvements slowly. Was able to hold my breath for 8 secs now. Slept less, was able to WFH at times. Called NHS again due to a scare with breathing, unable to get medical assistance but the problem solved itself. Became physically restless on Day 11
  • Day 13: Walked down the stairs for the first time. Thanked God and walked around my garden. Wasn’t sure I’d remember what fresh air would feel like.
  • I know the staff at NHS did everything they could for me with the limited resources they had. On a normal day, I would have been accepted into A&E. It was touch and go. Also, I was not tested.
  • I've lost several days of my life to this illness. Many others have lost their lives. You can do your part by staying at home, stop joking around & take it seriously. I’m a healthy 28 year old & it hit me hard. I’m grateful to have recovered but I will continue to do my part.

United States

  • "The last one week, it has been hell." (Twitter @pulte, 3/8/2020)
    • Update: "“After I received the first dose, my fever went down and all the lab result is getting better,” Cai said. “I think those two medications slow down my virus. I took those two medications for four days and March 11 is the day I got the clinical trial medications. After that medication for one day, all my symptoms getting better. My oxygen level is not dropping anymore.” (3/16/2020 CBS New York)
  • "My boyfriend and I have self-quarantined ourselves in our apartment since Feb. 23rd." (Twitter @microbeminded2, 3/9/2020)
  • "Basically had a low grade fever for a few days then a bad cough, that turned into respiratory failure. I came in and they had to put me on high flow oxygen (3 times normal)...hence ICU.... I was the first COVID19 patient in the ICU on Thursday. Now there are many more." (Twitter @ClementYChow, 3/15/2020)
  • "for those who get severe cases, like me, it’s been hell. I’ve had 10 days & counting, with no real improvement, of fever, fatigue, joint aches, chills, cough, respiratory difficulty. I have never been this sick in my entire life." (Twitter @DavidLat 3/17/2020)
  • "Never in my life have I been this ill. “Young people aren’t at risk, they’ll only have mild symptoms” Wrong." (Twitter @bradleyziffer 3/19/2020)
  • "I m a Cardiology fellow, NY, no PMH, fighting COVID infection 4 a week. Fevers, cough -> wheezing/SOB, on Hydroxychloroquine+Azithromycin, got worse on 2nd day of it, now in MICU. Got iv Tocilizumab, hoping to improve" (Twitter @jigneshpatelMD, 3/21/2020)
  • "The resident did not have ANY of the classic symptoms of fever, cough or rhinorrhea. Instead, the resident had headache, muscle aches, sore throat, and chest tightness. The symptoms were all mild, vague, and could have been easily ignored. It is imperative that clinicians on the front line continue to be vigilant and advocate for expanded testing." (Twitter @davidhaomd, 3/21/2020)
  • "Tested + for #COIVD19 today. Yesterday completely knocked me out, couldn't get out of bed. Thankfully I am feeling better today." (Twitter @MDColl90 3/29/2020)
  • "Fortunately I have had “bad head cold” symptoms – headache, sinus congestion, cough, & myalgias when my temp goes above 99. But no fevers over 100. Very fatigued. Breathing has been stable, and overall I feel better tonight." (Twitter @TiansterZhang 4/4/2020)
  • "After experiencing #Covid_19 from the patient/caregiver end despite both of us being physicians at a major academic medical center, this has been a challenge like no other I have experienced." (Twitter @NoopurRajeMD 4/5/2020)
@NoopurRajeMD's 4/5/2020 experience (expand for more information)
  • 1/I never tweet about personal issues—but this is way too important—I am COVID positive and asymptomatic and have been a caregiver for my husband @JagSinghMD who was critically ill with #COVID19. I've learned some things - please follow for more 1/25
  • 2/ He is on day 25 of experiencing symptoms related to being COVID positive. I hope our experience with #coronavirus can be a resource for so many who are being impacted.
  • 3/After experiencing #Covid_19 from the patient/caregiver end despite both of us being physicians at a major academic medical center, this has been a challenge like no other I have experienced.
  • 4/It is NOT easy for someone sick to self- quarantine and hydrate and wait for things to pass. They require help and care and the ability to know when to get to a hospital as symptoms evolve both quickly and suddenly.
  • 5/ Week 1 was fever, chills and extreme fatigue—we both self- quarantined and used social distancing in the house. Jag needed to be given food and fluids as he was too weak to help himself.
  • 6/I watched over him—used gloves and mask to check vitals and used tylenol, along with home remedies from my mom, like warm water with ginger and turmeric.
  • 7/ By week 2-fevers persisted –tylenol really did not work. There was a lot of hype about Ibuprufen but had to use it, because @jagsinghmd doesn't really respond to tylenol.
  • 8/On day 8 he developed a dry cough-had lost 14-pounds—breathing was still fine—so I started an antibiotic (levoflox) and continued to watch closely.
  • 9/Day 10—while his fever started to lessen, his cough was getting worse— but still no shortness of breath. I felt I needed to get blood work and take him to the hospital—plan was to drive him, but ended up calling 911.
  • 10/The decision to take to the hospital was tough, but I knew it had to be done- it would give him access to whatever medical treatments were being done on trial-and I knew if his breathing got affected, we could be in for bad news. Had to be safe!
  • 11/Day 10—I was blown away when I saw Jag’s XRAY and CT scan and the bilateral pneumonia he had developed—they consented him for intubation and watched him in the ICU. I slept with my phone next to me knowing that the call I would get would be telling me that they had intubated .
  • 12/Jag was started on #HydroxychloroquineAndAzithromycin based on protocol @MGHMedicine. He consented the next day for the #remdesivir clinical trial. However, not sure what arm he was on as this a placebo-controlled trial.
  • 13/When I took him to the hospital, I thought it would be for a couple of days---I followed Jag’s labs and saw his inflammatory markers continue to climb. I watched his vitals from afar and seeing a respiratory rate of 26 was difficult.
  • 14/We would to face time each other and he would get short of breath just talking to me - often unable to stay on the phone.
  • 15/He was in hospital for 9 days. Despite his inflammatory markers continuing to rise until day 16—he looked a little better. I stopped checking his markers as it did not seem to be helpful. It also made Jag anxious when I told him his lab results and did not help my spirits.
  • 16/Through all this, I focused on mundane things around the house—could not do anything but cook, listen to music, do laundry and pray! Jag was a trooper but had days when he felt he was not getting better which increased his anxiety.
  • 17/I was unable to talk to my extended family as they all looked to us as physicians for support in the family.
  • 18/My children both came to Boston-I have only seen them through the window, but their amazing spirit and positive attitude gave us strength every day. They drop off and continue to drop off groceries at our door -step.
  • 19/@JagSinghMD fever persisted until day 16—they came on in the evening. Both of us dreaded the evening and dreaded seeing what the thermometer showed—hoping the fevers would STOP.
  • 20/Day 17 was the first time I knew he was going to be OK-looked better and blood markers were better. He was discharged on day 18. Has been home now for 9 days. Continues to cough, is tired & feels short of breath but is certainly on his way to recovery. Continues to need help.
  • 21/We have no idea what the sequelae of these are—I have been retested, and remain COVID positive, but still show no symptoms.—the most important take home lessons—1. Stay home, 2. socially distance and 3. please mask up at all times outside the home, as we are all vectors.
  • 22/Home quarantine for a symptomatic COVID positive patient requires supervision. If you are asymptomatic, the chances are that you have immunity. But being a caregiver is a full- time job and make sure you take all the distancing precautions as you may be the carrier.
  • 23/Get HELP if you are symptomatic and COVID positive, and if you are not getting better after 5-7 days. If you have a cough which is worsening, that also needs immediate attention. The lung involvement is silent and deadly.
  • 24/ @JagSinghMD and I are so grateful for all the care we have received @MGHMedicine Huge shout out to the amazing staff in the ICU and @MGHCancerCenter. Our experience has been surreal despite being lucky enough to have access to the world’s best medical care!
  • 25/We are all in this TOGETHER and will come out STRONGER together. Please feel free to reach out with questions for #coronavirus . This entire thread is our experience and not meant to be any form of medical advice. We are here as a source of support for anyone who needs help.
  • "My husband and I are recovering from COVID-19. We’re getting better. But it’s taken more than two weeks to say that, and that was with the “mild” version, meaning no trouble breathing. This virus is absolutely brutal. “Mild” is not mild by any normal definition." (Twitter @MaggieAstor 4/6/2020)
  • "Sats fell off in the night. Admitted." (Twitter @infocraving 4/8/2020)

Spain

  • "Day 1 after #COVID diagnosis. Sore throat, headache (strong!), Dry cough but not shortness of breath." (Twitter @yaletung 3/9/2020). Day 2. Day 3. Day 4: "More cough & tiredness (very badly), still no dyspnea/chest pain." Day 5. Day 6. Day 7: "Cough & weakness got worse (again), still no dyspnea." Day 8: "Less Cough & similar weakness, still no dyspnea or red flag symptoms. No fever. SpO2 96%.... On paracetamol + HCQ." Day 9. Day 10. Day 11 "Less tired & cough, unable to endure small efforts." Day 12.