I was thankful that I had received the vaccine, as it spared me the worst of the symptoms
By Megan Plete Postol
I arrived home from a weekend trip in early September to find my husband on the couch resting with what we thought was a simple head cold.
We are both fairly healthy 32-year-olds. He has no preexisting conditions and I have a few, one being asthma. For that reason, I received the Pfizer vaccine in the spring. Neither of us was overly concerned about the recent spike in COVID-19 infection numbers in Oneida County. So when he developed those common cold-like symptoms, we did not recognize the red flags.
The first mistake we made was that he should have isolated himself starting then. We have a big house with two bathrooms and it would not have been that complicated for him to retreat into the master bedroom. He did go lie down, but I continued to go in the room to bring him food, drinks, medicine and to just generally check up on him. I sat on the end of the bed and chatted. His condition was not alarming and I thought he would feel better by the morning.
Morning came and he felt worse. Within a few days he was considerably more ill. He was sweaty, pale and fevered. He felt generally weak and unwell.
I checked his temperature using a digital thermometer on the forehead. It read more than 104 degrees. That was a huge surprise. I suddenly felt a heaviness in the pit of my stomach and that is when the very first glimmer of thought that this might be COVID-19 came into my mind. He took Tylenol and stayed in bed.
By that afternoon he had been tested for COVID-19 at a local urgent care. The staff was quick and efficient. He came home and went straight back to bed. At this point I was feeling “blah.” I was not nearly as sick as he was, but I was not feeling great. I felt tired and achy. I’m vaccinated so I knew if his test came back positive for COVID-19 I still had some protection.
The next morning he received his results; the virus was detected. My heart sank. I knew I had not done enough to contain it to one section of the house and I knew I was most definitely exposed.
Over the next few days I developed a minor breakthrough infection. My symptoms were fatigue, aches and chills. It cleared up within a week.
He, on the other hand, quickly deteriorated. As each day passed he grew sicker. He developed a dry cough and shortness of breath. He ended up in the emergency room where they gave him a barrage of tests and diagnosed him with COVID-19 pneumonia, a common complication. He was prescribed antibiotics and prednisone.
After being on the medicine for a few days, he felt a little better. He was able to walk around, which was something that a few days prior was basically unmanageable. After he finished his course of meds, his condition again worsened, though not to his prior state. The cough, weakness, and sweats came back. He made another visit to urgent care and was given a different antibiotic. It will take time for his body to fully heal.
What I have learned from experiencing this first hand is that COVID-19 is unpredictable. It affects every body uniquely. I was thankful that I had received a vaccine because it spared me from some scary symptoms I watched my husband go through. He knows for sure that he does not want to ever feel that way again and is getting himself vaccinated soon.