My husband and I had COVID-19 and we recovered.
This is our story. This day by day account is in my words interspersed with journal writings from my husband, Benjamin Coggiano, which appear in italics.
We live in Eastern Long Island, NY-the current epicenter of COVID-19. It seems impossible to really track how you contract this horrible virus but our best guess is that Ben caught it from his client-who also tested positive and was in hospital twice during his recovery.
I began self-isolating one week before Ben. He moved his office setup home on March 20th-Day 1. He worked from home that afternoon and evening until just after 9pm. About 15 minutes later it came on like a freight train. All at once he had a fever over 103*, rigors-chills like nothing we’ve ever experienced-he was shaking so severely and a cough. It was the Spring Equinox of 2020 and no one saw it coming. I started feeling tightness in my chest, body aches and shortness of breath. The US Commander in Chief told Americans not to worry. He claimed that only the elderly would be victims-no strong American needed to fear for their lives. These claims proved false. Ben took Tylenol to manage the fever and I called the county COVID line and waited on hold for four hours-when someone finally answered, in the middle of the night, they took all his info and said someone would call us to schedule the test within the next few days.
Day 2 Ben felt mildly better. We went for a walk-otherwise he continued to rest and take Tylenol. He still had a fever but it wasn’t as high as Day 1. We felt relieved that it must not be COVID-19-perhaps a 24-hour flu. I joked with him about how he is NEVER EVER sick and the few times I’ve seen him sick in our 14 years together he rebounded so fast-saying maybe it even was COVID but he beat it already.
By midday of Day 3 he felt better. We had a regular Sunday-a long walk, played a board game and ordered pizza. I TRULY believe that this is by design of the virus so that it can be spread more easily and to more people. Don’t be fooled by the rollercoaster that is COVID-19. That evening I started to feel sick.
The morning of Day 4 we both woke up very sick. Both running fevers. Both having severe headaches, with Ben’s being incapacitating. An enhanced headache with mind-shattering pulses of pain like little explosions in the brain cavity. No way to slow the progression or rationalize the next attack. Moments of excruciating pain mixed with fogginess of mind and spirit. Both of us experienced chills, body aches, fatigue, no appetite for all the leftover pizza. I basically slept all day and rallied to teach my 4pm YogaSCULPT-here I took the one Tylenol I would take-I sweat triple the usual-then went back to bed after.
Day 5 we both continued with the headaches, body-aches, fatigue & loss of appetite. My fever was gone. Ben’s was still raging above 103 each time he approached the 6-hour Tylenol mark. We both began to have a horrible taste in our mouths that day. We couldn’t taste or smell. We found out Ben’s client tested positive & was very sick. Four days since we called the COVID hotline for help…no such luck. No wonder this virus is spreading at such an alarming rate. This can’t be solved with a PR campaign. The virus doesn’t care if you tarnish its’ reputation…it doesn’t get bullied…it doesn’t care about political affiliations. Ben called our GP that day. She was able to schedule him for a test at a drive through testing center the following day.
Day 6 Ben went for the test. It was all he could do for the day to drive himself to the testing site an hour away. I wasn’t allowed to drive him. All his symptoms continued and his body began to get extremely depleted from the high fevers and the diarrhea. A lethargy I never anticipated. I can’t eat and when I do it flows through me like water, quite literally. His stomach and intestines were making the extremely audible noises of distress after every sip of water or small bite of food I could coax him to take. My digestive system was making noise but nothing was happening. My symptoms were subsiding. I only ran a fever for one day, had diarrhea for one day. I never coughed once. I continued to teach my classes daily online despite headaches, malaise & the horrible taste in my mouth. I definitely had less breath than usual & saw stars a lot during class…but overall I would classify my case as extremely mild in comparison to Ben’s…in both severity and length.
Day 7 I was in full on nurse mode, imploring Ben to drink, to eat a few bites of the sticky rice I was making. That evening he was so severely dehydrated and his fever went over 104. Lack of appetite and inability to mobilize have created a level of dehydration that has brought me to the brink of hospitalization. No urination regardless of how much water is consumed. I called the doctor and was advised to call an ambulance. Now I’ve been unlucky enough to have called 911 for an ambulance several times in my life and this experience was otherworldly. The EMT couldn’t enter our home and Ben couldn’t exit. His PPE was on point. There was a police officer standing guard in the driveway and he looked straight out of Terminator. He must’ve been in some sort of riot gear mask. After the “over the threshold” examination it was determined that Ben was sick enough to be brought to the hospital but not so far gone that they would MAKE him go. The decision was ours. I begged the EMT to tell us what to do. He would not. After a heart-wrenching goodbye, knowing there was a chance we may never see each other again, Ben changed his mind & decided to continue to convalesce at home. I was so relieved. After we confirmed our decision was final the EMT told us he thought we made the correct choice, as the hospital was a war zone. He told us if we changed our minds to just call 911 again and that if it was in the next 10 hours it would be him that showed up.
Over the entire next week Ben’s symptoms remained the same. On Day 10 we finally heard back from the county hotline. Too late to schedule the test through the county for Ben and I was feeling better at this time and not eligible to be tested. I did complete a lovely questionnaire about our experience.
On Day 12 Ben had another phone visit with our GP. I have decided to drive myself to the hospital after consulting with my physician, who has officially labeled my symptoms as severe. Upon arrival at the ER, I see the true devastation of this virus and what it has come to. My belief after seeing the patients and state of affairs in the hospital is that I am better off fighting this thing on my own in my own environment. On Day 12 while Ben was driving back from the ER we got his positive test results from the doctor ordered test.
On Day 14 he started to feel better. He continued a slow progression day by day. Day 18 all symptoms, except fatigue after exertion, were gone. We are marking Day 18 as the beginning of his 72 hours without symptoms. Today is Day 22. He is on day four of no symptoms.
Here are some things we did that we think contributed to our victory over COVID-19:
Electrolytes-Essentia Water, Coconut Water and even a few Gatorades.
Fresh Air- I would open the window and blast the heat.
Diffusing Essential Oils- Rescue Charm & Purify (both by Aura Cacia-which I sell so we had plenty on hand)
NOT caving in-literally-physically, emotionally, spiritually! This virus wants you to give up-it wants you to slump over and let your chest cave in, let your spirit cave in-Don’t let it! Force yourself to take deep breaths & sit up-peacock proud chest!!
High doses of Vitamin C-In addition to taking a daily supplement- Vitamin C lollipops all day long to soothe the throat, get some calories in and boost Vitamin C levels.
Tongue Scraping and gargling with warm salt water-this mucus is THICK-help your body expel it!
Zinc supplements, probiotics and Quick Defense from Gaia Herbs.
Rooibos Tea- immune boosting & we put honey in it to soothe the throat. Warm drinks in general were helpful.
Massaging the chest, torso and head.
Why was Ben’s case so much more severe than mine? Blood-type? Gender? Stress level? We don’t truly know…but here are some things I do that I think helped my case present in a mild manner:
Daily Vitamin D3, K2, Vegan Omegas, B-Complex, Zinc and Probiotic supplements.
Daily long walks outdoors.
Regular Yoga practice-I was especially focusing on opening the accessory breathing muscles starting in late January.
Sweat EVERY day-at least once!
Meditation & breathing exercises.
Vegetarian (mostly Vegan) diet-mostly organic, non-GMO.
Regular Far-Infrared Sauna use.
Tongue scraping and oil pulling.
We thank all of our friends and family that supported us through this crazy, horrible time. To my students-who are probably reading this news in shock-you helped me through this more than you know. Allowing me to hold space for you gave me an outlet to exit the virus world and enter our beautiful virtual kula. I was able to remain grounded and in my studies by preparing for our dharma talks. I was able to sweat it out by leading you all in our SCULPT classes.
We truly hope that our account can help those of you taking the time to read this. To help you understand this virus. To help you be prepared to go to battle with it if you are called.