COVID-19 is an elusive buggee monster until it hits home. At the beginning of 2021 I contracted COVID-19. One day I felt like my lungs were slightly inflamed, like getting dust in your lungs and fighting it off. I had no reason to think I had COVID since I am careful at work and outside of the hospital. The next day I felt malaise and immediately placed a mask on while at home and isolated from the rest of the family. I tested that day and found out I was positive for COVID-19. I will never forget the feeling of anxiety and bewilderment. The first thing I did was pray. I pray daily, but what came to mind was what would happen to my wife and kids? Survival rates are high, but there are patients who develop complications. What I found was that I really did not know much about COVID-19 and what to do. I contacted Employee Health so they could coordinate my exposure tracing and my planned return to work. I am not sure where I caught it, but it wasn’t while I was at work given my timeline. I quickly became versed on what needed to be done: (1) I watched YouTube videos, (2) called a physician friend who advised me and (3) made a telemedicine appointment with a primary care physician. Since then, I have learned quite a bit, especially about sleep.
What I found out about my own sleep was that now I had difficulty sleeping. I wasn’t only nervous towards the beginning of the process, but I had developed insomnia for the first couple of days. Now I know why my friends recommend Melatonin if needed when infected by COVID. What I found was that sleep is precious. I had never had the inability to sleep since I am a person who is high energy, when I sleep – I sleep. As the infection progressed, I found that all I wanted to do was sleep as I my body fought the infection. Thank God I didn’t have any complications.
I called my friend, who I found out was the Principle Investigator of a new Regeneron trial. I joined the trial and based on how well I felt after the trial, I believe I was randomly placed in one of the treatment groups. I was grateful for this opportunity. My improvement was usual, but without complications. I felt all the usually reported symptoms, but I felt strong. All in all, it’s not an experience I wish on anyone, but I thank God I came out of it OK. From this experience I did learn lessons to use at our Sleep Disorders Center.
Lessons Learned That Can Help Our Own Patients
Up until I experienced COVID-19 firsthand, I didn’t know what patients went through. All I knew were the complicated cases the news reports on. But there were lessons I have been able to implement with our team and patients.
By: Edwin M. Valladares, MS, RPSGT, Manager, USC Sleep Disorders Center
This content was originally published here.
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