Coronavirus Diary Day 1: Long Island mom describes symptoms, testing struggles

Coronavirus Diary Day 1: Long Island mom describes symptoms, testing struggles

Long Island mom Diana Berrent, 45, learned that she tested positive Wednesday for coronavirus after days of experiencing terrible aches, nausea and a fever. Today, she takes us through her battle to secure a COVID-19 test at a Port Washington urgent care center.

I’m no germaphobe (I bathed in the Ganges last year along with 50 million others at the Kumbh Mela; my friends and family thought I was insane) but this virus scared me and as a news junkie I had been following it from its first reports.

In the last several weeks, my anxiety increased and I started limiting my outings into any crowded places, avoided public transportation and made my kids, 11 and 13, strip out of their clothes every day upon entering the house from school, shower and change. I was doing A LOT of laundry.

And then, just like that, I became one of the first people in my area to be infected.

After waking up eight days ago with every symptom in the book I begged for a test (recall that last week was about a year ago and schools were still open and offices hadn’t been closed); I was tremendously fearful of having already passed on the virus, perhaps to those more vulnerable than me, and wanted to report it if I indeed was positive.

I was denied the test on the basis of not being able to prove ten minutes of prolonged close exposure to someone who had already tested positive. Incensed about this Catch 22 (how can you prove contact with someone who is positive if no one can be tested so no one knows if they are positive?) I wrote a letter to my local representatives and posted the letter on Facebook. The post went viral (pun intended) and after further aggravation at yet another testing site the next day my Congressman reached out to me, having been alerted to my situation through social media, and made sure I was tested.

And… indeed, I was positive.

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Thank goodness I self-isolated in my bedroom the moment I showed symptoms. And I remain here through March 28th, the Department of Health’s recommendation of two weeks from the date of testing.

I’m finally starting to feel better but had a rough number of days at the beginning, with fever, a respiratory infection, tremendous nausea and an unrelenting headache. Added to the usual mix of flu-like aches and pains.

The worst part, however, was the fear that the virus would get worse. The road to recovery with this virus is not a straight line and every time I felt like I was turning a corner I would get set back. I am hesitant to publicly announce it (and am looking for any wood in my bedroom to knock) but I do really think I’ve turned the real corner on this.

Join me on my journey through being the first one on my block with the Coronavirus. Stay safe and STAY AT HOME.

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