It started with a sore throat and headache, but after a couple of days one Moulton Advertiser reader described her experience with COVID-19 as nightmare--not just for the symptoms she’s experienced, but also from her community’s response.
When Casey Lynn, 30, started feeling a little under the weather on Friday, July 10, she said she assumed she had strep throat, but as the day dragged on she began developing a dry cough she attributed to the itchy sensation she began feeling in her throat and chest.
By Sunday morning, Lynn said she woke up and felt “10 times worse.”
“It was like I had the flu on steroids,” she said as she described her symptoms, which included runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, nausea, the loss of taste and smell, and severe body aches.
By Monday morning, Lynn was running a fever of 100.4. Convinced she had the flu and strep throat, she drove to an Urgent Care Clinic in Madison and was swabbed for the rapid COVID-19 test and for strep.
“Strep was negative, but COVID was not,” she said. “My heart sank because I really didn’t think (the virus) was a real thing. It is, and it is so bad.”
While others with mild cases of COVID-19 have reported getting better within two to three weeks, Lynn said by day six with the virus, she felt her chest would collapse.
Lynn, who also suffers from asthma, said she’s also developed secondary infections from the coronavirus like the respiratory infection she said she’s also taking breathing treatments for. On the ninth day, she said she feels much better after getting some sinus relief, but at times still finds it very difficult to breathe.
“There are times I feel like I’m fine and I can get up and move around, but as soon as I’m active again fatigue and shortness of breath sets in. It’s almost like I’ve taken a heavy dose of Nyquil; I’m that tired,” she said.
Lynn has four children at home, ranging in ages from 12 to one. She said she feared her toddler and her youngest had caught the virus as well when they each began exhibiting symptoms, but they received their test results last Friday, both of which were fortunately negative.
Lynn said her youngest is still showing signs and symptoms, and she was told her children could still contract it as long as Lynn is contagious.
“She’s also having trouble breathing, it’s like she can’t catch her breath,” Lynn said of her youngest child. “We’ve been told because it is a virus, either way we’ll just have to let it run its course. She’s been taking the same breathing treatments I have, but a much smaller dose and it’s helped some.”
Lynn said what’s more discouraging than the symptoms she and her daughter are experiencing is how ostracized she’s felt from her community.
As a student at Calhoun Community College, who continued attending night classes even during the pandemic, Lynn said she felt obligated to call her school and let them know she had tested positive. She was told she was the first case.
She also called her children’s daycare, where she said about a hundred other kids attend, and was told she was the first positive case they had seen as well.
“For it to be so common, I thought there would be others who’ve been through this already. It’s like no one wants to come forward or talk about it,” she said. “I just know I can’t be the only case, even though that’s what I was told when I called.”
Lynn, who went to Parkway Hospital in Decatur to be treated for symptoms after testing positive, said she didn’t feel she received much guidance there either. While she was thankful she didn’t have to be hospitalized, she said her nurses there ushered her through as quickly as possible, and she felt more like a statistic than a patient.
“I just want to share my experience in the hopes that others who are maybe scared to say they have this will want to share theirs as well,” she said. “People need to know about the virus, because it’s very real and it’s so much worse than the flu.”
Though Lynn is originally from Lawrence County, she moved to Hartselle after graduating from Speake, so her case number is listed among Morgan County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases. Morgan County reported 10 COVID-19 deaths and 22 new cases when the Alabama Department of Public Health released data early on Tuesday.
At that time, ADPH also reported 20 new cases for Lawrence County, reported between Monday and Tuesday’s data periods. ADPH continued reporting no deaths in Lawrence County.
Lawrence County Coroner Scott Norwood, who also serves as the county’s 911 director, shared the agency’s data as of Monday, which showed 38 active cases for Lawrence County out of 205 total confirmed cases reported by ADPH.