Woman details COVID-19 battle
Kelly Conforti never imagined the minor chest congestion she began experiencing on March 26 was anything more than allergies or the start of a common cold.
“(I had) no fever and no cough, so I just took DayQuil and figured it was a cold,” the 35-year-old Palmerton woman said.
She went to work at her job in the health care field that weekend, and protocol there is to take employees’ temperatures before they can enter.
“I was fever free.”
But as the week went on, Conforti started experiencing upper back pain, aches and fatigue.
“By March 30, I was feeling pretty sick,” she said. She had a headache, chest tightness and a cough in addition to the fatigue and aches. “I really just laid around the whole day.”
By that evening, her temperature rose to 100.2.
The next day, Conforti received a message from a nurse regarding her symptoms that she had posted on Facebook and she decided to call about getting screened for COVID-19.
“I registered for a video COVID-19 screening with a provider, (and) once the screening was completed they set up an appointment at a testing center.”
She was tested at the Lehigh Valley ExpressCare in Palmerton 20 minutes after the screening.
Never did she expect the test would come back positive.
But, 48 hours later, she received word that she had COVID-19.
“Part of me was relieved because I was feeling so terrible,” Conforti said. “I was worried about what else could be going on if it wasn’t COVID-19.”
From March 31 to April 4, Conforti’s symptoms seemed to be the worst.
She had a dry cough, body aches, no sense of smell, a terrible headache and just the overall feeling of exhaustion.
Her fever would break, but then spike again and her appetite disappeared.
“If I walked up steps, I would need to sit down to catch my breath,” Conforti said. “It was very frustrating to not be able to breathe well.
“I spent the entire time staying in my living room.”
Conforti said isolating in the home she shared with her husband and two dogs wasn’t easy.
“Sleep was very restless.”
The fever would continue to break and then return, and the fatigue forced the normally very active woman to remain on the couch, unable to do much of anything.
“I made little goals like trying to shower by a certain time just to give me something to focus on,” Conforti said.
But what is a usually routine activity left her with coughing fits and more exhausted than before she started.
Her husband, who is a nurse, also made sure to monitor Conforti’s symptoms and vitals daily to make sure the virus wasn’t settling into her lungs, but he otherwise remained isolated from his wife as much as possible.
Thankfully, Conforti said, he never showed any symptoms.
Road to recovery
Since that diagnosis on April 2, Conforti said her recovery has been slow and frustrating, mainly because she is not used to a sedentary lifestyle.
“I’m not good with laying around. I want to get back to being busy again - going out or doing simple chores leaves me tired and still short of breath.”
Conforti has been fever free for a week now, but still has a dry cough, so according to CDC guidelines, she is technically able to resume daily activities.
But she is still being cautious about acclimating back into daily life.
“I know they say I can’t infect anyone anymore, but I’m still staying away from people and not going anywhere,” she said.
She said she is worried that people just aren’t taking this pandemic as seriously as they should.
“Even though I work in a hospital, I never had direct contact with someone I knew was COVID-19 positive, so I have no idea where I got this from,” Conforti said. “I feel fortunate that I am healthy, but still during this illness there were times I was like ‘am I going to end up in the hospital?’ ”
If you feel ill, the best thing you can do is stay home.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, health officials are recommending you wear some type of mask when going out for essentials and maintain social distancing at this time.