I haven’t been posting for a few days. There’s a reason. Today is the end of day 3 of the Coronavirus for me. I may have had it longer, because my breathing issues started last week, but Wednesday is when I knew, and very late Thursday night is when it all came to a head. Late at night, I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t stop coughing. I was gasping for air. I had chills and probably a fever (I don’t have a thermometer, so I can’t be sure what my temperature was exactly.) I clinched the phone in my hand, trying to make myself dial 9-1-1, but I was too afraid – too afraid of what would happen at a hospital, but also afraid because I couldn’t catch my breath. I went to the front door, and unlocked it – just in case. My health insurance company had sent me an email last week saying that teledoc was free because of the virus. So I hit the link and waited for just a couple of minutes for my turn. It was really late at night. A nice Muslim lady doctor from Michigan introduced herself (she was wearing a hijab.) She was kind of hard to understand. We went through the checklist, and she was very concerned because of my breathing. She asked if I realized I was wheezing. I told her I was. She insisted I let her contact 9-1-1 for an ambulance, but my fear was too great and I refused. She asked if I had any albuterol (my file said I had asthma.) Of course, I did, but I had already used it earlier, and you aren’t supposed to use it more than once every 4 hours. She told me to use it every 5 minutes for the next 15 minutes, and every half an hour, if necessary, so I did. It didn’t really help much, but I stood firm – I wasn’t going to the hospital. I’ve read too many stories online about people dying alone in a hospital. I wasn’t being brave about it – I was being scared out of my mind. I prayed a lot, and took hits off my inhaler, and tried to lay as still as possible because any little movement made the coughing worse and the breathing harder. I fell asleep with the phone clinched in my hand, just in case. I had put a container of my dog’s food and a spare leash right by the front door, and sent a quick message to my neighbor to come get my dog, just in case. The next morning, I can’t even describe everything that I went through to get tested. The red tape is unbelievable. Everyone told me they couldn’t help me and to call someone else. My doctor’s office was closed for Good Friday, but their service said to call the health department. The health department told me to call my doctor’s office. My doctor’s office said call an urgent care because they are a small office and not set up to deal with this. The urgent care said don’t you dare come here, we aren’t taking any virus patients. My doctor’s office said call the health department for the nearest location for testing, so I called them yet again. They said they couldn’t tell me without a referral form from my doctor’s office. My doctor’s office said they didn’t have any such referral forms, to call the health department. The health department lady said there was a doctor in a nearby county (45 minutes away) that had the forms and I could drive there, but I’d have to go through the new patient process which would take about an hour. At this point, I basically gave up. I was too exhausted and short of breath to continue. I really don’t know if I fell asleep or if I was unconscious for a few hours. Finally, I got my second wind, and I was told to drive myself to the next city over’s emergency room for triage, but to call first. When I called, it took forever to get through, but they said not to come unless I had a form from the health department. On and on it went for hours. It was so stressful, which didn’t help at all. Finally, I got things in a row. Somehow, I drove myself to the ER parking lot, and did the test in my car. I spoke to people in medical gear through my cell phone. They said I was “presumptive” and it would take 5 days to get the results, maybe longer, but until then to assume I have it. They said I needed to be admitted because my breathing was so labored. I told them (over my cell phone, with the windows up in my car) that I’d think about it, and I drove off. In my heart, I knew the answer was not in that confused battle zone. If I can still drive, I don’t belong in there, I thought. I’ll go home, and if I really can’t breath, I’ll call 9-1-1, but there is no way I’m walking into that hospital on my own accord. I had to pull over twice on the way home to catch my breath. So here I am, at home. Breathing is still hard, but not as hard. If I try to speak more than a word or two, I start coughing. I’m sleeping most of the time. But I know I made the right decision. I feel fine for a few minutes here and there, and then I just sleep for a while. Except for being really hard to breath, it isn’t all that much different from a really bad case of the flu. I’ve survived that, and I’ll survive this, too. But now you know what’s going on. (It took me over a day to piece this together. I have short bursts of energy, followed by complete exhaustion.) And right now? I’m heading back to bed.