Coronavirus -- Day Three

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by RainStorm, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 11, 2020

    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.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 11, 2020

    I'm so sorry for you! I know you will probably get lots of advice, so I won't offer any. Just know that we are keeping you in our thoughts and pulling for you to recover soon.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I hope you feel better soon.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2020

    Rain, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I have been in that spot where you really feel like you need to go to the hospital, but afraid to go. I think I mentioned on another thread that I, too, was labeled presumptive, and no matter how I tried to get tested, it was almost impossible. Three days later when my husband finally called in a favor from one of his doctor clients, the test was run. Results were 10 days to arrive. I lost 10-12 days - barely remember anything except that every cough and wheeze caused my husband to ask "are you having trouble breathing?" The fevers got me down, migraines, GI upsets, throwing up, and no appetite at all. I thought about the ER, but the TV was my background noise, and I think hubby was watching CNN, so bits of info floated in and out of my brain, causing me to fear for my life. After the lost days, there was another 2 weeks when I crashed constantly throughout the day, no strength or energy. So here I am a full month from onset, and I'm glad to be "getting there", but my patience is wearing thin. I've been sick as long as many who go into the hospital, so somewhat worse than the flu. Please stay in contact with the doctors because somewhere around day 7-8, hubby said I really scared him - breathing, which had seemed better, got worse, fever spiked higher, and the aches and pains were much worse - I don't remember those days at all except for the pain/migraines/throwing up. Fortunately, family doctor made several calls back to hubby, changed up some meds, and offered strong moral support. I think that stretch may have "almost" gotten me into the hospital, but family doctor said if it could be controlled at home, I would be better off because of bed shortages in our local hospital. Hubby said he feared making the wrong choice - I'm glad that span seems totally lost to me.

    My advice is to get a pulse oximeter, if at all possible. Lot's of fluids. If at all possible, some people to check in on you every 4 hours by phone to listen to you breathe as you talk, and to assess things like whether or not you sound coherent or confused. Use your online doctor at least once a day. Someone to walk the dog is just one more "someone" to get a feel for changes in your breathing and state of mind. Know that we are all thinking about you, and you are in our prayers. The surprise, I think, was that this disease does tend to have this crash after a week or so when you are sure you are in the home stretch. Be very cautious about that.

    Lots of deep breaths, manage the fever/pain, and keep someone you most trust on speed dial. Hoping to hear better news very soon. :hugs:
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 12, 2020

    My goodness, I'm sorry about all you're going through! How do you think you caught it? Grocery shopping & someone got a little too close to you? Takeout you ate a few days before you started seeing symptoms?

    It always seems that things like this happen LATE at night when places are closed down & that's the time we really need help. That makes it all the scarier.

    Prayers are going out to you!
     
  7. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Apr 12, 2020

    Rain, hearing all your health struggles since moving to Florida makes me really concerned for you. I hope you make it thru this scary time without a need for hospital. I’m actually rather impressed by your forethought to unlock the door, sleep with the phone in your hand etc. It sounds exactly like what I would do. I’m sending you nothing but good vibes and hope this passes uneventfully and quickly.
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Apr 12, 2020

    Rain, please make sure you don't die from lack of medical attention. Get to a more out-of-the-way hospital if you can.

    And once you get better, make sure you post here? I'm hoping that's soon.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Apr 12, 2020

    Oh no, Rainstorm, not one more thing. I agree with others; I understand your fear of going to the hospital, but please don't let that keep you from getting assistance if and when you need it. Please keep us posted; I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
     
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  10. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Apr 12, 2020

    I hope both Rain and Vicki Lynn are feeling much better!
     
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  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Rainstorm, I am so sorry to hear about what is happening to you. thank you so much for having the courage to share about your situation. I hope you continue to do so. I and other here care about you, and will pray for you. Please listen to the medical experts. They might be the ones that you will really need to help you get through this.
     
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  12. Apr 13, 2020

    I wish you a quick recovery and I send you a big hug from Italy.
     
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  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Wow, hope you will recover quickly. I would absolutely feel the same way in avoiding hospitals unless absolutely necessary. Have you been leaving your house a lot? Does anyone you know have it?
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I am so sorry! I hope you will get better soon. I totally understand and agree with you not going to the hospital. It also angers me what a run around you got just to get tested - so if the testing process is so messed up, I can only imagine the state of the hospital.

    Please make sure friends and family check on you often!
     
  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Apr 16, 2020

    Dear Rain,

    I just wanted to post my concerns, tempered by hope, that you are hopefully better, in some small margin, or at least not any worse. You cross my mind several times a day, and each time, I'm torn between just letting you be versus letting you know that you are in not only my thoughts, but those of many who have gotten to know you here on the forums. A prayer for healing, a prayer for strength, and a prayer that the pain and discomfort will start to subside. No need to respond at this time, but just want you to know that we miss you and will be over the moon when you are once again a vibrant part of our teacher family. Know that you are missed and that well wishes are sent from all over this nation, by those you know as well as by those who may not know you quite well enough yet to send you their hopes for your return to good health in a written form - it certainly doesn't mean that your return to health isn't weighing on their minds and hearts..

    Wishing you strength as you fight this disease . . .

    Your A to Z family :hugs:
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  16. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Apr 17, 2020

    @vickilyn and @RainStorm - Please keep us updated if/when you can so we know you are both okay! Hope you feel better soon :hugs::heart:
     
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  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Apr 17, 2020

    I am more or less fine. It has been five weeks, and I've really only felt like doing much in the past week, but I still tire easily, so being at home is fine with me. There is still some residual lung congestion, but it improves on a fairly constant basis, and I have had to use my asthma meds more in the past month than in all of the past two years. Being at home prevents me from being exposed to other respiratory viruses that could be out there, even colds, which could be less than ideal. I have a tendency to attract respiratory viruses, so not too surprised that I ended up with this. I'm in NJ, and we have been a bit of a hot spot here, so I have truly chosen to honor the stay at home orders. ChildWhisperer, thank you for asking, and caring. I, currently, can't stop worrying about RainStorm, because I know she has other health concerns as well. I am very grateful that my husband was my housemate - he's a veterinarian, so although I'm not a dog or horse, we still talk the same scientific terminology. ;) I can't imagine trying to figure out what to do on my own, when so sick. My one caution to anyone who takes this lightly is that you may be lucky enough to be asymptomatic, or you could end up in my shoes. Let's just say that it was bad enough to make me want to be one of the first to line up when a vaccine is finally available.

    Stay well.
     
  18. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 19, 2020

    Vickilyn and AtoZ Friends,

    I'm so glad you are getting better, Vickilyn. I am doing so much better now. You are so right about the lung congestion -- it just hangs on. I'm fine around the house, but if I try to go out in the back yard, the Florida heat and humidity hit me and I instantly begin coughing and gasping again -- so I'll have to continue to be patient about it.

    Each day, I feel stronger. I'm not sleeping all the time now, and I only start coughing if I talk to much -- which since I live alone, doesn't happen that much anyway. Some people call to check up on me, and I try to talk too much sometimes, but it is getting easier. You are so right about having to use your inhaler -- I've never used my inhaler so much in my life! This virus really hits the lungs hard.

    I've been working on a project to keep me busy. I needed a project that was "not physical" so I wouldn't start coughing, but that would keep me occupied. I did something I've wanted to do for years, but never had the time for. I've gone through all 18 years worth of photographs (all digital) from teaching. They were all over the place on backups and portable hard-drives, most of them with non-descript names like IMG-0037. Because of the way I did a major back up years ago, every single photo and file I have prior to 2018 has the date 01/18/2018 on it, so I couldn't sort them by date either. It was very time consuming. But what great memories it brought back!

    Some years I basically took no pictures, and other years (especially when I used to get lots of grants, and needed to send pics to donors) I have lots of them. The memories came flooding back! I picked out a bunch of them that were "action" pictures of students learning and doing, and I made a photo presentation page to document my years as a teacher. It was a really fun project. I had forgotten so many of the fun things I've done with students over the years until I saw the pictures of them doing it.

    Over the years, a few former students have tracked me down on Facebook. A few of them, I am still in contact with, and there are a few parents who I knew outside of school that I know on FB -- FB didn't exist back then, but there were some students who were the children of fellow teachers or staff members, and I did link-up with those teachers on FB over the years. I posted some of these pictures, (remember that these "kids" are all grown up now) and those parents recognized some of the other kids in these photos, and shared them with their families, and those parents and kids knew some and shared them, and the next thing I knew, about 15 former students I haven't heard from or seen in 10+ years, contacted me to tell me what is going on in their lives. They are married with kids, or in college, or going back for their master's degrees, or in the military, or just working -- some are graduating from high school this year -- it was incredible! And it all happened so fast! What an experience. I never expected this.

    Do you want to know something funny? Oh, I had to stare at some of those pictures for a long time, but the names came back to me. All of them! Except for one child, (who was only in my class for a couple of months -- and I remembered her nickname, I just can't remember her real first name) I knew them all! I remembered every single one of them by name! It all came flooding back, just like it was yesterday.

    And I ended up with a nice photo presentation using Adobe Spark.

    I had decided last month that I'm going to go back to teaching next school year, if I can find the right school. My health is improving by leaps and bounds, and I'm convinced I can do it. I actually have a couple of Zoom interviews next week (and yes, I let them know I may still be coughing a bit..lol.)

    One of them is a private school I'm very interested in. They have an excellent reputation and focus on experiential learning (thematic and hands-on learning model) which is something I really love doing. All the public schools around here require using scripted teaching programs, and no flexibility in how you teach -- every teacher in the grade level has to use the same resources, the same assignments, the same assessments, and the exact same schedule -- and that really just isn't for me. I simply cannot read from a teaching script all day like they do here in the public schools -- I just can't do it. That isn't teaching.

    After I got the invitation to their virtual open house from the private school, I sent my photo presentation link to the principal and the hiring committee at that school. I heard back immediately from the principal, who said she was incredibly impressed with my presentation, and she moved my interview date up to this week -- before the virtual open house. I think that is a good sign. I know that a lot of people "say" they like to teach using thematic units and hands-on approaches, but I have 18 years worth of photos showing me doing just that. I think it will help me get my "foot in the door" at the kind of school where I want to teach. Let's hope so.

    So anyway, I've been quite busy lately, and even though this virus has me "temporarily down," don't count me out yet. My passion for teaching has been revived.

    Thanks for listening to my way-too-long post. Take care, everybody!
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    So glad to hear all of this, Rainstorm!
     
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  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm so glad to hear you are doing well! We have been worried about you.
     
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  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Happy to hear you are feeling better.
     
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  22. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Wow! I just saw this! I am so sorry! I did not realize you and Vickilyn had been that ill. It sounds like both of you are on the mend now which I am thankful.
     
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  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    "Too-long", Rainstorm? I say your post was just about the right length for the good news and good prospects in it. Thanks so much for sharing!
     
  24. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Glad you are on the mend!
     
  25. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 21, 2020

    Feeling better every day! I know I'm getting better because I'm getting bored -- where before I was just wanting to sleep.

    Last week, it was like every school district in the area decided it was time to start setting up interviews for next year. I only applied for a few positions, and I've been flooded with requests for interviews from principals. I did two yesterday (on Zoom) and one today (by phone.) Both of them yesterday told me I'd be hearing from the Human Resource department soon -- which sounds positive, though I have to be honest and say I seriously doubt I want either of these jobs. One is 30 minutes away (which is the furthest I would consider commuting) and it is a 87% ELL school, every low income, and very rural. They are very interested, and the pay they offered is way more than I'd ever get here in town, but my gut says this is not a good match. To me, money, while important, is not the ultimate decider. I didn't go into teaching for the money.

    The one I had today is for a local private school I'm very interested it. All the public schools in this county require the use of teaching scripts (you read word-for-word from a teaching script) and I can't do that. This private school is completely based on hands-on instruction. On my own, I contacted about a dozen current parents from this school, and talked with them at length, and I think I got a really good feel for the school. It really does seem like the kind of place where I'd be happy.

    The principal and I had a really nice discussion, we talked for over an hour, and I was told that the next step was to meet with the executive board for a final interview (they are state-wide, not local) and that would happen in 2 weeks when they are in town. It sounds promising.

    I'm not getting my hopes up, or making any major decisions right now, but having options is a very positive thing.
     
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  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Is this a local, unaffiliated, private school or is it part of a chain? I only ask because there are a few chain private schools in Florida that have very poor records related to how they treat their teachers.
     
  27. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    It is a very small chain. You are correct that it is wise to be careful about such things, and not to believe everything you "hear" directly from the school or principal. I've done a lot of research about this. I did see where an issue that happened last year that caused me some concern, and I talked to some of the people involved (the ones who felt they were treated unfairly) so I think I have a good "reality check" on it.

    The truth is, there is no way to be completely sure about a school. You can do all the research and still get hoodwinked. I do worry about that at times.
     
  28. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Good luck. I'm hopeful you will find a job that gives you long term happiness!
     
  29. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Just curious, Rain... How do you find these employees and parents from the schools to talk with them? I've often thought that would be a good idea, but I wouldn't even know how to go about it.
     
  30. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Because of the virus, my abilities to research were limited. I put an announcement on my neighborhood facebook page, and on NextDoor that I was looking for people who worked at the XYZ school, or who had students attending the XYZ school, and would anyone be willing to talk with me, either by phone or pm. I got lots of responses. I explained why I was asking, and people were very willing to share information.

    I usually wouldn't have done this, but it is a new school, so there are no reviews online yet, and they haven't taken any state tests yet -- can't even get the ethnic breakdowns, etc. So I had to be creative. I was very impressed with what everyone had to say.
     
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  31. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    You are a courageous and resourceful person, Rain. I mean that as a compliment. Many would never put themselves out there like that.
     

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