As an oncology nurse, Cathrine knows the devastating impact infections can have on your body. As one of the primary caretakers of her parents, she also understands the intricacies of caring for people with chronic diseases, as her mother and father had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure. However, she was unprepared to deal with what the coronavirus pandemic would bring to her world and devastate it.
Cathrine started feeling tired and achy in early March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. During the next few days, she started to get a low-grade fever, feeling out of breath and fatigued. At the time, the hospital she worked at did not have their own tests yet, so her swab had to be sent to the Department of Health. Unfortunately, her swab was lost in the process, but she continued to self-quarantine away from her family and patients.
During the same time, her parents started to feel ill as well. Due to underlying health risk factors, both parents having diabetes and her father having history of prostate cancer, their decline was rapid. Both were diagnosed with COVID-19; unfortunately, they were at different hospitals and within hours of each other had to be intubated to help provide them with the oxygen they needed, so that they did not have to work hard to breathe. On March 26th, she received the phone call that all her dad's organs were failing and only had a couple of hours left. They were able to facetime him with their priest and he was read his last rights. That evening he passed away.
In the meantime, Cathrine continued to feel worse as well. She got another COVID test, but the result was negative. She continued staying at home, while her boyfriend, Prince, took time off work to take care of her. She was barely able to do anything herself, that is how weak and out of breath she was. When her fever rose to almost 106, Prince took her back to the ER, where she was tested again for COVID and this time it came back positive. She continued to recuperate at home. Her mom was still at the hospital, continuing to need more oxygen like her dad had. She fought hard and on April 10th, she passed away as well.
Cathrine has finally started feeling physically better and on the last day of her now low-grade fever, she received a call from the Department of Health that they scheduled her for her COVID test the following morning. She decided to get the COVID swab test done because she wanted to know if it had gone, which it had as the result was negative.
Now, Cathrine feels good, though still a little weak. She returned to work a few weeks ago after getting another test to make sure she was COVID-free. She is slowly able to walk more and longer without having to catch her breath. She has a high level of antibodies in her blood, so she is scheduled to donate convalescent plasma soon. Cathrine would like to make sure everyone knows to take this disease and the respective precautions seriously.
Hear Cathrine on the Inside the Lab podcast Season 1 Episode 17 on how the lab saved her life during the COVID pandemic